Friday, April 15, 2005

Hannover's Red Thread

You begin the Red Thread 4.2 km walking tour of the city center "under the tail" of King Ernest Augustus' statue in front of the Hauptbahnhof (train station). It is said that no one pays attention to him any more but to the tail!

This tour is "guided" by a red line that is painted along the entire route, and thus has become known as the Red Thread. You can buy a self-guided tour book that documents the 36 or so sites to be seen along the way. It took me 3-1/2 hours to do the tour on my own, taking millions of photos. To simplify things, I've organized the lot into the 3 categories below, as well as a left-over album for everything else.

1. CHURCHES: there are 3 key churches viewed from this tour, the most famous of which is this Marktkirche (Market Church). As you'll see from the photos, you can see it throughout most of the tour. This particular photo I took from the dome of Town Hall on a gorgeous, sunny day when I did the walk. The other 2 churches are the Aegidienkirche (in ruins) and the Kreuzkirche, both of which have their old-architectural charm.

2. TOWN HALL: I loved this building because I was able to go to the top of the dome and take photos of the city, as well as the innards of Town Hall itself and its Masch Pond and Lake. Along with the Marktkirche (kirche = church), this is one of Hannover's principle landmarks. The elevator that takes you to the dome is on an oblique track, set at an angle, and apparently a technical rarity. The building is from the Wilhelminian Period, built between 1901-1913, and as such is the new Town Hall (the old town hall stands next to the Marktkirche). Because the ground was too marshy to support it, 6,026 beech pilings had to be rammed into the ground to provide a firm foundtion. At its official opening, the town clerk proudly reported to Kaiser Wilhelm II, "All paid for in cash, Your Majesty!"

3. Hannover's OLD TOWN: Through this Marstall gate/archway, you enter Hannover's picturesque Old Town. The gate bears the arms of King George I of Great Britain and Hannover, and was originally part of the riding stables built in 1714. In these photos you'll see the half-timbered facades of houses from the 16th and 17th centuries. They were collected together from various streets in Hannover after the war and erected here in a uniform row. You'll see Hannover's oldest house from 1566. That's the front section, actually; the rear of the house is two years older. This is also where the Beguine Tower stands along the River Leine and where the city holds the oldest flea market in Germany every Saturday.

Wow! I'm not sure what it is about antiquity but I just eat this stuff up. It may sound pretty boring on paper but, as they say, "You had to be there!"


  1. You should be a tour guide as your next job . . . get paid for what you love to do!! :-)

  2. Hmmm. Wouldn't that be fun! Donica and I have talked about how Atlanta is not a city condusive to city tours like the European cities are. Too spread out! (sigh)