Friday, January 19, 2007

Hannover, Past and Present

First of all, Donica and I both fly back home today: Donica from Amsterdam, where she spent the night after a day of business yesterday, and I from Hannover to Paris to Newark to Atlanta. We'll be home for a week before returning on the 29th.

On a rare sunny day this trip, I spent 6 hours outside this past Monday, taking pics of things I saw on my first visits here in 2005 but now with my new camera. I wanted to go back and see things with new eyes, as it were.

In the new Rathaus (town hall), built between 1901-1913, there are 4 giant models in the entrance hall (approx. 15 x 15 feet each) that depict Hannover at 4 stages in its development. I have used the Rathaus and the Marktkirche (Market Church) of City Center as my 2 points of reference because they are 2 of Hannover's favorite landmarks.

This model is Hannover in 1689. The Marktkirche (in the center) was built in the 14th c. and the old town hall, in the church's shadow, was built in the 15th c. Obviously, the new town hall was not yet built.

This is Hannover in 1939 when the new Rathaus, here in the foreground, was in its glory. And there in the top center of the pic is the Marktkirche again. The Aegidienkirche (church) at right center remains in ruins today, as you can see in both models below. I assume it was destroyed in the first WW and was never rebuilt.

Now you see Hannover in 1945 (the year I was born) after its wartime devastation. The model is covered in silt and just breaks my heart! You may have to click to enlarge it but the top part of the Marktkirche is sheared off.

Hannover today!

My own country's major cities are not this old, of course, but I think it does us well to sometimes reflect on where we've come from to understand a bit better where we're going.

AND to see what happens from the ravages of war! Some countries have never known anything BUT war and just build and rebuild year after year, war after war.


  1. So right! I hear the women of Germany rebuilt it after the war, brick by brick.

  2. So sad that such an old city with so much history was completely distroyed not so long ago at all.

  3. very interesting models, I wonder who made them? And good photos too.

  4. Really interesting. You see I have passed Hannover so many times on the Autobahn heading South and then back North, but never ever stopped and even taken a short brake there. Shame on me, I know understand.

    PS. You escaped the storm then. I saw on TV it was a disaster.

    btw. 1945 is a great vintage, don't you think:-))

    My broadband Modem, suddenly awakened at 8:10 pm - but for how long????

  5. RRD: Women, I'm afraid, are often the ones left to clean up most of the messes, right?!

    Mad: Sometimes I can't believe how these great European cities were rebuilt or restored after the great wars. It boggles my mind!

    Ex-S: Thanks a million for stopping by and commenting. Good question about who made them. I'll see if I can find out.

    Tor: Wow! If/whenever you know you'll be in the Hannover area again when I'm there, you'll have to stop for a little rendezvous. Wouldn't that be fun!

    And yes, is 1945 YOUR vintage year as well??? :

    So glad your broadband woke up and hope it's still running.

  6. 1945???? Oh YESSSS! Me too. What a great year.
    Thanks for your comments on my blog.

  7. Over 90% of downtown Magdeburg was destroyed in the bombing on January 16, 1945 and I find it fascinating to see photographs of Magdeburg before the destruction. I especially like to see if I can figure out where I live when seeing old pictures of my street. The only points of reference I have are the churches and the opera house.

    It's fascinating, isn't it?

  8. Hi,
    just home from Diane's 40 Celb. It was a blast.

    Tell U more...

  9. to me it makes me think how lucky I have been to have lived in a safe area without distruction...

    But then again, there are many places that have to rebuild because of storms!

    Hope you actually made it back fine!

  10. Ex-S: My goodness. We're all popping out of the woodwork. :)

    Dixie: So very fascinating and unbelievable, if you ask me. So very sad but inspiring to see life come out of the ashes.

    Tor: Can hardly wait to hear all about the big 4-0!

    ET: Yes, there is also Nature's devastation, but somehow that always seems different, doesn't it!

    I did make it back fine after a stressful day, but "nothing of consequence" when put into this kind of perspective.

  11. So glad you made it back safely! And of course looking forward to seeing you again SOON, Ms. Globetrotter.

    We got first-hand accounts of all the destruction from Mr M's (late) Oma and the images remained with her for years and years after she and her family got bombed out. She was terrified of thunderstorms because the noise took her right back.

  12. Ohhh. This breaks my heart, Christina. You have a first-hand story, really, through Mr. M. It trickles down through the family, I'm sure. So sad. Do you find that your boys have any kind of awareness, I wonder? Or does this present generation not think about it?

  13. This is fascinating, and it would be so to see every city in models of the changes over the centuries. I wonder who was charged with the task of these models?? Knowing how long it took Lesley to build models for school, this was a Herculean effort.

    So glad you two are back Stateside and missed the devastating storms.

  14. So happy to hear that you made it back safely, Ginnie. I was a concerned with the storms in Germany. :-)

  15. Ruth: I want to see if I can find out more about these models, now that several of you have raised questions. I LOVE looking at models and miniatures and think I would have loved to be a part of making them as my living.

    Yes, I'm so glad we were able to weather the storms and make it home safely. My suitcase arrived at midnight last night but Donica's is still en route from Paris. So many messed-up flights, I guess. It's a good thing we don't depend on what's in our suitcases!

    CS: Thanks for your concern, CS. I guess it really was rough going there for awhile. I'm eager to hear about your time in Munich!

  16. oh man - there was one plane that almost didn't take off because of the winds.. In my head I was thinking why on earth were they aloud to try to taxi off!

  17. Are you serious, ET?! No one should ever play around with iffy situations when so many lives are at stake! UGH.

  18. very interesting models- but I wonder, why would the artist depict the roofs in green rather than show their true color- obvious thoughts come to mind, that green is symbolic of life, but it seems too much of a sacrifice for truth.

    Oh well, always a critical thinker- just finding out it's the Pitta in me. Oye vay!

    Happy New Year; it's been awhile!

  19. Rachel: That is definitely a good question! Today's model looks so clean and pristine. Untouched by anything. I will try to find a write-up somewhere to explain everything...hopefully in English!

    Happy New Year to you as well! I've missed you!!!

  20. Fascinating models and a fascinating history even though some of it is very sad.

  21. Very sad indeed, Tim, as is so much of history, when you think about it!

  22. I love those models. An excellent idea making history come visibly to life like that, and shows how all the more remarkable the beauty of the city of today is given its devastation as a result of the war.

  23. That is so true, DW. Wouldn't you just love to sit down with someone who has seen the before and after and listen to their stories!