Welcome to Part III of our walk through my hometown of Hannover in Germany’s north. It is amazing how much of my own hometown I didn’t know! Just goes to show that we all should play tourists in the places we call home.
Stop 13 – The City’s Coat of Arms
So, this is the one stop I walked straight past, as the red thread had disappeared from the pavement. I spotted it on the other side of a small side street, so assumed it must have continued straight on. It wasn’t until we sat down for a coffee that we realised that we had missed this stop. Unfortunately by that time we were already near the end of our tour. So, no photos of this one – sorry.
Anyway, the city’s coat of arms sits on a portico as part of the façade of the Public Works Department (I mean, that is easy to miss, right?). Originally built in 1736 as a gateway to mule stables on the Königsworther Platz, it was later converted to house the Garde du Corps regiment. The portico survived the air raids of WWII and was re-erected in 1955 in its current location.
Before you leave this location you should take a look at the Maschpark, which is located behind the town hall. It is one of our favourite parks as it contains lots of art installations and gives some fab views of the town hall.
Stop 14 – The Laveshouse
This is the former residence of architect Georg Ludwig Laves, who is responsible for a number of buildings in Hannover. Remarkably, the residence escaped WWII without any damage. Today it houses the State Architectural Society.
Stop 15 – The Wangenheim Palace
Only 50 meters down the road is one of Laves’ creations, the Wangenheim Palace.
The building is named after Count Georg von Wangenheim, who commissioned the building as a residence for himself and his family. On his death in October 1851 the house was sold for 100,000 Reichstaler to the Kingdom of Hannover, to be used by the crown prince, who became King George V the following month. After 10 years of use the house was sold to the town of Hannover and served as the town hall until the New Rathaus was built just over the road in 1913. Today it houses the Ministry of Economics, Technology and Transport for Lower Saxony.
Just across the road is one of my favourite bus stops ever. It is in the shape of a boat’s hull and was designed by the Italian designer Massimo Iosa Ghini and is one of many new arty bus stops.
Stop 16 – Waterloo Column
I admit, I don’t understand why the red thread doesn’t actually go right past this column. Instead it swerves off to the other side of the road, where, when you turn, you can spot the column.
As the name suggests, this is in commemoration of the Battle of Waterloo, where the British, together with Prussian and Hannoverian Armies, defeated Napoleon on 18 June 1815. The fact that these three armies actually fought together on the same side was a miracle in itself, never mind that they defeated Napoleon!
Over the road, where the red thread actually leads you, is the sandstone building of French architect Remy de la Fosse. It was built between 1712 and 1720 and houses the State Archives. The statue in front of the building is 100 years younger and shows Count Carl von Alten, who served as a general under Wellington in Waterloo.
Stop 17 – Leineschloss
This is the Leineschloss (Leine Palace) and is so named as it stands on the river Leine, which flows through Hannover. Built in 1637 it spent its first 230 years not really knowing what it was for; it was a home, a cloister, a library, an opera house, as well as a garrison for 3,000 soldiers.
During the reign of King Georg I this became the place for the nobility to meet and be seen. Composer Georg Friedrich Händel played here a few times. Unfortunately, in 1803 French troops invaded the area and the palace was raided, plundered and became abandoned. It was then given by the French to the town of Hannover on the condition that it was turned into a garrison. Once Napoleon was defeated the garrison was no more.
It is now the seat of Lower Saxony’s State parliament and is once more undergoing renovations and changes.
Stop 18 – The Palace Bridge
Yes, a bridge is one of the scenic stops. It isn’t the famous bridge of sighs in Venice, but nonetheless, it makes for some great views towards the town hall and along the palace. It was built by an Italian and connected directly to an entrance into the palace, which strangely enough, anyone could walk right through.
So this brings us to the end of Part III of the walking tour. Join me next week where we meet the Nanas, visit the old town, and discover an area I had never known existed!