Sightseeing in Hannover, June 10, 2012

Professor Hansjoachim Hackbarth, an expert on animal welfare and one of the professors who was going to teach us the following day (also my good friend and classmate from veterinary school) picked us up at the hotel to show us Hannover.

Hannover on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hannoverian Kings of Great Britain. After the Napoleonic Wars ended, the Electorate was enlarged and made into the capital of the Kingdom of Hannover. With a population of 522,944 the city is a major center of northern Germany, known for hosting annual commercial expositions such as the Hannover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world’s largest Marksmen’s Fun Fair, and the Oktoberfest Hannover, which is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. In 2000, Hanover hosted the world fair Expo 2000. The Hannover fairground, due to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hannover also has regional importance because of its universities and medical school, its veterinary school, its international airport, and its large zoo. The city is also a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in east-west-direction and north-south-direction.

On our tour of Hannover, we went to see the beautiful city hall.

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It was built in 1913 but really looks like a palace from older times. We all took many pictures from the outside and inside and admired the amazing architecture. It was also interesting to see a display how Hannover looked before and after the second world war. Hannover was almost completely destroyed in the war. This explains the fact that Hannover is a fairly modern city with broad streets because when it was rebuilt, little constraints of space had been left. From there we saw the Maschsee, a large man-made lake in the middle of Hannover, which is used for all kinds of recreational activities. We went on to see the old center of town where we saw the Portikus of the Leine palace. At the wood market, we saw a fountain of iron, copper, and bronze by Luer (1896), the Leibniz Haus, a masterpiece of reconstruction (now owned by the university and used as guest house), and many beautiful timber houses. The main attraction of the old Hannover is the Marktkirche. This church was founded in the 12th century and formed the heart of the .medieval town.
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It has a beautiful altar dating back to 1480. We also visited the Aegidienkirche, a church dating back to the 14th century, which was almost completely destroyed in 1943. Only a shell is left. The church tower contains a peace bell, which was a gift from the Hiroshima people. An identical bell is located in Hiroshima. Every year on August 6, Hiroshima Day is celebrated with an hour of remembrance followed by meditations by members of Christian faiths, Islam, Bahai, Buddhism and Zen. The ‘peace bell’ can be heard every hour through out the day.

After a great lunch at the “Brunnenhof” and some delicious ice cream at the railway station, we went to see the Herrenhäuser Gärten.

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The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hannover and have always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe. The day ended at Riemann’s Eck, a typical North-German neighborhood restaurant with great food.