“Home is where the heart is”, the saying goes, and although I agree with this sentiment, I used to adapt it to “Home is where my furniture is”. Let me explain.
My husband served in the british military for the majority of our married life, and although we didn’t move as much as some families, we did have quite a number of different “homes”. So, for us, home was wherever the army moved our furniture next. Once he left the army we made our civilian home in a small town in Alberta, Canada, but for me, my true home will always be Hannover in Lower Saxony, Germany. I did not grew up in Hannover, but very close to it. Hannover always felt like home, it is only 30 minutes from where I grew up and most of my teenage years were spent in that city. In fact, our first military home was in Hannover, right next to a park that separated us from the zoo.
As you know, I like to include some historical facts in most of my posts, and this one will be no different, as I introduce you to the fabulous capital city of Lower Saxony.
Hannover (yes, it’s properly spelled with two “n’s” – one of my many pet hates when I see it spelled with only one “n”!) was founded in medieval times on the south bank of the river Leine. Back then it was a small village of ferrymen and fishermen that became a fairly large town in the 13th century thanks to its position at a natural crossroads. It’s position on the upper navigable reaches of the river Leine helped it to grow by increasing trade. The 14th century saw the main churches of Hannover being built, as well as the city wall complete with three city gates. The Marktkirche (Church on the Marketplace) is the main Lutheran church in Hannover, and together with the nearby old town hall is considered the southernmost example of the north german brick gothic architectural style. The church is a hall church (as seen in the collage) and above the nave and the two aisles rises a monumental saddleback roof, which together with the naves, was destroyed in an air raid in 1943 and restored in 1952. The high western tower was a symbol for the power and the wealth of the citizens of the town in the 14th century and is still one of the highest towers in Lower Saxony and a landmark of the city.
For 200 years Hannover was a royal residence, which is still very much felt all around the city with its royal palaces, castles and gardens. The House of Hannover ruled, amongst others, the Kingdom of Great Britain. It succeeded the House of Stuart as monarchs of Great Britain and Ireland in 1714 and held that office until the death of Queen Victoria in 1901.
One of my favourite places is the new town hall (pictured also in the collage). Although it looks fairly old, the new town hall was only built in 1913. The building contains a very unique elevator (apparently the only one like this in Europe) within its dome. It follows the shape of the dome up to an observation platform (almost 100 meters high) at an angle of 17 degree in the 50 meter shaft. Most of the pictures in the collage were taken from that vantage point back in 2006 on one of our visits to my parents.
The other thing I love about the city is its red line, which is literally a painted red line taking you past 36 landmarks. It’s a great way to explore the town, its history and great buildings. It is 4.2 km long, starts at the tourist information center and ends at the Ernst August Platz (Square) in front of the central train station.
Modern day Hannover is renowned for being the world’s largest exhibition center and its many trade fairs, over 60 international and national exhibitions take place every year. The city is also known for its annual Marksmen festival (Schuetzenfest), which is also the largest in the world, and is a combination of traditional marksmen parades, shooting competitions, fun fair (with the largest transportable ferris wheel in the world) and all the other things that make this event a pull for almost 2 million people each year. This particular annual event goes back all the way to 1529!
Can you tell that I love this city? Why move away then, I can hear you all shout. Well, the world is a big place and I want to see as much of it as I can, and even our current home town of Okotoks will not remain our lasting home, as we are already planning where to go next once our daughter has started (and possibly finished) university.
The world is your lobster, as a very good boss of mine once said.