City Orientation Walk (Self Guided), Hannover

Hannover is a city both old and new. It has a deep historical background, with a series of reconstructions having taken place due to the ravages of war. But it is also a modern city, with one of the leading reputations for hosting exhibitions in the world. It is also home to a range of interesting museums, galleries and historic buildings. This City Orientation Walk will guide to the most significant attractions in Hannover.
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City Orientation Walk Map

Guide Name: City Orientation Walk
Guide Location: Germany » Hannover (See other walking tours in Hannover)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 14
Tour Duration: 3 hour(s)
Travel Distance: 4.0 km
Author: Caroline
1
New City Hall

1) New City Hall (must see)

The name – New Town Hall of Hannover – is somewhat misleading, since the "old" town hall was a medieval building. New City Hall is more than a century old having been built in 1901. Its design is more reminiscent of a palace than a municipal building – fittingly so, since at the time it was built, Hannover was the capital of an independent kingdom. It cost 10 million Marks to build, which was an extortionate amount at that time. In 1913 when it was officially opened by the city director at the time, Heinrich Tramm said in the presence of Emperor Wilhelm II: "10 million Marks, Your Majesty – and all paid for in cash."

The New Town Hall draws on a range of architectural styles, but there are some very impressive features, one of which is the unique elevator that climbs 43 meters on an angle of 15 degrees to reach the top of the dome. A trip in the elevator is not only an exciting experience but affords a fantastic view out over the city as the top of the dome tops 100 meters. Today the New Town Hall functions as the mayor's residence, the seat of the municipal government and there are also permanent exhibitions relating to the history of Hannover.

Why You Should Visit:
The building alone is beautiful on the outside, is free to get in and look around and there are several models of the city inside.
The park next to it, green and clean with big old trees and a lovely lake on one end is perfect to just lay and enjoy the weather.

Tip:
Pay a few euros and take the elevator to the dome. With its glass floor, the view up and down is brilliant!
Once you emerge from the shaft you have to take several spiral staircases to the very top of the dome.
Be prepared to be blown away by the wind and by the incredible views of Hannover itself.
Finally, you can have a casual lunch or tea in the beautifully appointed restaurant.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Fri: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
Sprengel Museum

2) Sprengel Museum (must see)

The Sprengel Museum has been one of Hannover’s premier museums since it opened in 1979. With its extensive range of permanent and temporary exhibitions, it is considered one of the world’s major 20th & 21st-century art museums. Initially, the museum was founded around the pieces owned by Dr. Berhnard Sprengel who was an avid collector of German expressionism and French modern art. It has since been added to and now houses major pieces from most eras of contemporary art. There are more than 25 exhibitions each year in addition to the permanent range, as well as symposiums, lectures and workshops, making it a place to be experienced just as much as viewed.

The museum's permanent collection boasts significant pieces by Pablo Picasso and cubism pieces by Henri Laurens. German artists include a wonderful range of surrealist art by Max Ernst as well as honoring the lively art scene that sprang up around Hannover in the 1920s and the abstract expressionism movement of the 1950s. There is also a large collection and focus related to photography and new media.

Why You Should Visit:
Probably the best collection of its sort in Europe.
Well laid out and very reasonable admission-wise.
A lovely terrace café/restaurant and a large library...

Opening Hours:
Tue: 10am-8pm; Wed-Sun: 10am-6pm
Free entry on Fridays
Sight description based on wikipedia
3
Lower Saxony State Museum

3) Lower Saxony State Museum (must see)

The Lower Saxony State Museum is located opposite the City Hall in a superb neo-Renaissance building built in the 19th century. The museum features a large collection of artwork, statues and artifacts from the medieval period right through to the 20th century. Additionally, there are exhibitions within the museum that are devoted to natural history, ethnology and archaeology. Originally called the Museum of Art and Science it was renamed and relocated in 1902 when its collections outgrew available space. The building’s cupola was severely damaged during WWII, but the whole museum underwent extensive renovations in 1995 in preparation for Expo 2000.

The State Gallery features artwork from as far back as the 11th century all the way to the 21st century. There are Renaissance and Baroque pieces along with paintings by German masters and impressionists. In the natural history section, there is a life-size dinosaur as well as a vivarium where more than 2000 species from Lower Saxony region are displayed. The archaeology section is truly impressive with artifacts that showcase more than 500,000 years of human history. The ethnology exhibition has more than 20,000 artifacts from cultures and religions all around the world.

Why You Should Visit:
Truly a world-class gallery – you'll be very surprised at the scope of the collection.
Bright, expansive rooms, modern exhibition concepts and informative descriptions.
Children will love the little aquarium with the piranhas and other exotic species, as well as the opportunities to touch and discover things.

Tip:
Take a close look at the ichthyosaur – it's virtually unique in having embryos fossilized inside of it!
On the ground floor, try the very nice café that faces out towards the inner courtyard.

Opening Hours:
Tue-Fri: 10am–5pm; Sat-Sun: 10am-6pm
Free admission on Fridays
Sight description based on wikipedia
4
Aegidienkirche

4) Aegidienkirche (must see)

The Aegidienkirche in Hannover was once an active church with a substantial history and congregation. The night of 8 October 1943 changed all that: following extensive damage from World War II bombing, the 14th-century church was left a shell, with only its exterior walls standing. Instead of attempting to restore the church, it was decided that it should be left as a war memorial. There are actually several memorials within the church grounds remembering the war and committing to a peaceful future. A "shadowline" by local artist Dorothee Von Windheim casts a shadow over the east facade of the church and serves as a reminder for the fragility of life.

The Aegidienkirche has a peace bell, which was a gift from Hannover’s sister city, Hiroshima. Every year, on Hiroshima Day, there is a peace ceremony and the bell is rung each hour. There is also a glockenspiel in the bell tower, which rings over the city four times a day, delivering a musical message of peace. There has been a church on the site of the Aegidienkirche since before the 12th century, but the first time it was officially mentioned in official records was 1163. The nave of the church that you see today was built in 1347.

Why You Should Visit:
Sites such as this one are important, as a reminder of historical events, and to show how we can rise above the past for a brighter future.

Tip:
Make sure you are there 5 mins past the hour to hear the bells.
Best to visit it when there is no rain in order to spend enough time.
Sight description based on wikipedia
5
Markthalle

5) Markthalle (must see)

Hannover's Markthalle is the best spot in the city to buy food, with a rich selection of everything from fruit and vegetables to cakes to sausages to wine. The area's also chock full of top quality restaurants as well as small cafes. Locals adore this market because they can get cheap high-quality products before having a nice lunch with a cup of cappuccino or a glass of wine.

Why You Should Visit:
Most people here are locals (so must be good), and prices are a lot cheaper than out in the local cafés.
You'll surely find something to your taste/budget and at the same time will probably discover something you never had before or find a nice buy.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Wed: 7am-8pm; Thu-Fri: 7am-10pm; Sat: 7am-4pm
6
Monument Gottingen Sieben

6) Monument Gottingen Sieben

The monument of the Göttinger Sieben in Hanover recalls a significant event of German constitutional history. The monument honors the Gottingen Seven: Friedrich Christoph Dahlmann, Wilhelm Eduard Albrecht , Jacob Grimm, Wilhelm Grimm, Heinrich Ewald, Georg Gottfried Gervinus and Wilhelm Weber. These seven professors kept their democratic attitude during the Hanoverian constitutional conflict at the time of the Kingdom of Hanover. The national monument is at the same time a monument to civil courage and a "confession to the citizens virtues as the fundamental foundations of our community".
Sight description based on wikipedia
7
Leineschloss

7) Leineschloss (must see)

The Leineschloss is the building for the Parliament of Lower Saxony, which is comprised of 152 members. The building was originally a Franciscan monastery, established in the 12th century, but has been used by the parliament since 1962. Not only is it considered to be one of the city’s most beautiful, but it is also a monument to the political history of the region. In the past, the building was home to the House of Hannover royal family, a dynasty that had absolute power over its people. In 1637, during the Thirty Year War, the Duke George of Calenberg decided to make Hannover and the Leineschloss his home. The monastery was totally renovated in order to make it a home fit for ostentatious royalty.

When in 1714 Elector George Ludwig became George I of Britain, a new alliance between the two nations was struck. However, this left the Leineschloss without a resident and it would stay that way for 123 years – only being used infrequently for official state occasions. In 1816 renovations were begun on the building and the results can still be seen to this day, with a neo-classical portico added and further detailing to the facade. During World War II, much of the building was damaged and it stood as a shell for 10 years until it was finally brought back to its original splendor.

Why You Should Visit:
Very chic, extensively renovated building with a great location right on the river bank.
Perfect in the mornings to walk around, take a sit in the nearby park and enjoy.

Tip:
You're not allowed inside as a tourist, but feel free to take photos from outside.

Opening Hours:
Mon-Thu: 8:30am-4:30pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
8
Old Town

8) Old Town

Prior to World War II, Hannover had an extensive Old Town characterized by shadowy lanes and half-timbered Gothic buildings. Unfortunately, bombing destroyed many of the buildings in the Old Town and today the remaining facades have been moved together to form a kind of “new” Old Town. The Old Town is now made up of around 40 half-timbered constructions and among them is Hannover’s oldest church, the Kreuzkirche, which dates from 1333. The Ballhofplatz was built as an indoor sports complex in 1949 and was later converted into an assembly hall and theater. Not to be missed, is the Leibnizhaus, which features stunning masonry work. It was originally built on the Osterstrasse in 1499 and the well-known philosopher Leibniz lived there in the 1670s.

In the Old Town, the Leineschloss, is today used as a parliament building, but actually dates from the 12th century, when it was a Franciscan monastery. It was dissolved as a monastery in 1553 and the Duke of Calenberg used it as a residence from 1636. Visiting Hannover’s Old Town is a captivating experience, with its rich historical atmosphere and wonderful dining and shopping options making it a perennial tourist favorite.
9
Marktkirche

9) Marktkirche (must see)

The Marktkirche is the leading Lutheran church in Hannover. Built in the 14th century, this church is considered to be the most southern example of the North German Brick Gothic architectural style. Despite its age, the church remains one of the highest towers in Hannover and even the Lower Saxony region. When constructed, the design was deliberately monumental in order to highlight the wealth and power of the city of Hannover. The tall spire was added to the top of the bell tower in haste when the coffers were beginning to run dry on the church’s construction, and this practical move was mimicked in churches all across Europe.

Inside the church, the altar dates from 1480 and depicts 21 scenes from the Passion of the Christ and at the back of the altar, there are images of Saint George and Saint James, the two patron saints of the church. In the 17th century, a Baroque altar was installed, but the original was returned to the church following World War II. The bell tower features 11 bells and is the largest in the region; however, they are now used only on special occasions. Of particular interest are the bas-reliefs by Gerhard Marx that depict scenes of World War II and implore all who view them not to let a similar chapter in history recur.

Why You Should Visit:
Very impressive church with an imposing presence; easy to find and prettily placed in a lively space in town.
The interior is clean, the design is simple yet fascinating, and the organ is really beautiful.

Tip:
Try to be there when the organ plays – it's fantastic.

Opening Hours:
Daily: 10am-6pm
Sight description based on wikipedia
10
Kreuzkirche

10) Kreuzkirche (must see)

The Kreuzkirche, dating from 1284, is Hannover’s oldest parish church and is used for church services along with concerts and major events. Most of the construction that you see today is from around 1333 when it was extended according to an original Gothic design. It is well known for its decorative altar, which was painted by Lucas Cranach in 1537. In 1560, a large theological library was created in the basement of the church and increased space was made behind the vestry for the choir. There is an ornate Renaissance period pulpit that was added to the church in 1594.

A chapel in Baroque style was added to the church grounds in the 17th century and on the east side of the building, there is a stone emblem of the city of Hannover. One of the premier features of the church exterior is its large spire, reportedly damaged during a violent storm in 1630. In 1652, the spire was totally restored in Baroque style with funds provided by Johann Duve. Like much of the Old City, the Kreuzkirche sustained damage during bombing in World War II and was repaired between 1951-1961. The Kreuzkirche is one of the city’s most important churches and represents design elements of every major period – from medieval times to the 20th century.

Why You Should Visit:
Of course, not a Catholic church, or it would be decorated with gold from floor to ceiling, but still worth seeing if only to ascertain that a church is not meant for the accumulation of wealth.
Beautiful surroundings with great neighboring cafés, too!
11
Georgstrasse

11) Georgstrasse

The Georgstrasse is the main boulevard of the city's pedestrian zone. Here the crowd is always on the move, checking the latest fashion at fancy boutiques and trendy department stores. The boulevard is a crucial part of any shopping trip in Hannover, and is thought of as one of the most important shopping streets in all of Germany. Customers living far from the city come here to enjoy the great shopping opportunities on offer all along the street.
12
Opera House

12) Opera House (must see)

Hannover’s Opera House is one of the city’s most outstanding buildings. The Neo-Classical construction was built between 1847 and 1852 and features impressive columns and a portico. The large portico was originally designed for carriages to drive underneath. It was commissioned under orders of the king, who had considered that the theater in Leineschloss was too small, and was designed by Laves, a prominent German architect of the 19th century. Despite extensive damage caused by bombing during World War II, the Opera House has been restored to its former glory. The first performance at the Opera House was Le Figaro on September 5th, 1852. Today it is extensively used for opera, dance, music concerts and theater.

The interior of the Opera House is opulent with the balcony decorated with busts and statues of famous composers and poets. The acoustics of the theater were improved in 1985 and further renovations were undertaken in 1996 and 1998. The productions put on by the Staatsoper at the Opera House are considered to be among the best in Germany; from March to September each year there is a full calendar of events for opera fans featuring classic and contemporary works.

Why You Should Visit:
Really beautiful from the outside, with a lot of space around the building to make it stand out.
The acoustics are great as also is the standard of the production, given that it is the premier venue for opera in Hannover.
Sight description based on wikipedia
13
Kropcke Platzt

13) Kropcke Platzt

The Kropcke Platzt is at the center of all of Hannover's great shopping streets. From here you can head in any direction to start your shopping experience. With a huge blend of stores including many international brands, Kropcke Platzt is the shopping hub of the city. It is named after Wilhelm Kröpcke, one of the owners of the former Café Robby, which was erected on the then-nameless place in 1869. Kröpcke leased the café in 1876, changed the business's name to Café Kröpcke and operated the café until 1919. Eventually, the place adopted the name from the café and in 1948 was officially named Kröpcke by the city of Hanover. One of its notable features is the Kröpcke clock, which is a 1977 replica of an 1885 clock that was scrapped after World War II.
Sight description based on wikipedia
14
Bahnhofstrasse

14) Bahnhofstrasse

The Bahnhofstrasse is also part of the city's pedestrian zone. This easily accessed street is home to numerous great department stores, making for a pleasant stroll and a fantastic place to shop.

Walking Tours in Hannover, Germany

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