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Hannover's Regal Past

semi-overcast 24 °C

Following the death of Queen Anne in 1714, through a convoluted secession process, the Prince-Elector of Hannover, George Louis, became the first Georgian king of England. And so began the German dominance of the British royal household – the House of Hanover. That could be the history lesson for today, but the truth is that here in Hannover, (spelled with only one 'n' in English), history is all around us. Herrenhausen Palace on the outskirts of the city was the summer home of the Hanoverian princes and today the Great Garden, dating from 1683, is considered one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe...
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We had splendid weather as we strolled the majestic linden walks that surround the garden and led to the great fountain...
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All around us were magnificent plants and statues, but most surprising were the huge trees growing in seemingly tiny planters...
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By talking to the gardeners we discovered that all of the trees are kept inside during the winter and their roots trimmed to restrain them, as has been the practice at Herrenhausen for some 350 years.

Although Hannover is truly the seat of the present British royal family, when Germany started the first World War the Brits changed their name to Windsor to distance themselves from their German cousins.
Despite the war the Brits kept ownership of Herrenhausen Palace and asked the RAF to give it a wide berth – Oh well...we all make mistakes – at least the Great Cascade of 1676 survived...
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Herrenhausen Palace, along with 90% per cent of all the buildings in Hannover were either totally destroyed or damaged beyond repair during 88 air raids on the city during World War II. It is almost inconceivable to us today as we walk the wide pedestrian precincts amongst throngs of friendly locals, that some 75 years ago nearly one million bombs, mines and incendiaries were dropped on these streets killing some 7,000 people and injuring countless others. Hannover was a beautiful city of half timbered medieval houses until the night of October 8th. 1943, when Britain and its allies finally decimated the place with thousands of bombs, but the majestic city hall survived...
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Despite its Gothic appearance, Hanover's Rathaus was only finished a little over a hundred years ago and it has an intriguing original secret. The lofty dome of the city hall is reached by an elevator that curves as it rises to the summit. The elevator has both a glass roof and a glass floor so you can appreciate the unnerving phenomena – if you don't close your eyes. However, the view from the top on a fine day is superb...
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Unlike Hannover, the nearby town of Celle was never bombed during the war and it is rumoured that it was spared at the request of the British King because of its beautiful 16th century buildings like this one from 1585...
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There are some 500 medieval buildings still in existence and in daily use in Celle. It is quite surreal to walk street after street of houses and stores more than 400 years old and to imagine the lives of the merchants and people who walked these streets in Elizabethan times...
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And what would they have made of the ubiquitous bicycles...
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Celle is a beautiful medieval town but its history is forever horribly stained by its close association with the nearby Nazi concentration camp of Bergen-Belsen where some 60,000 prisoners, including Anne Frank, died during the war.

Posted by Hawkson 09:01 Archived in Germany

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Comments

Interesting building beside the apothecary. Can't make out the sign in the window and wonder what's behind the big green doors. Looks like Latin, not German on the sign above.

by R and B

To share the road of the city with old buildings that survived two world wars would give me hope. Beautiful.

by Janet

Can't imagine the work in maintaining the trees, moving and trimming them each year. Such a beautiful art. The gardens and buildings beautiful. It seem history in most destinations have their horrific pasts.

by Sue Fitzwilson

Love the old houses. Bicycles parked in front of them a recurring theme. Puts them nicely in perspective as living relics. The weather looks like it is holding for you.

by Tom

Lovely gardens and houses. Am sorry I missed Hanover.
Flying to Amsterdam en famille later on this morning x

by Christine Lloyd

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