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Last updated : Nov 2009
 
Hanover Travel Guide
Hanover Travel Guide and Hanover Travel Information - TravelPuppy.com
Hanover may have been a bit of late starter, with the city not founded until the 12th century and not coming to prominence until the 17th, but it has more than made up for lost time and today it is one of Germany’s richest cities.

The story starts back in the days of the Hanseatic League, when this north German city used its proximity to the Baltic Sea to emerge as a serious economic player. The golden age came in the 17th century, when a complex interweaving of marriages and political machinations in England, to avoid a Scottish Catholic monarch taking the throne, resulted in Hanover’s royalty holding sway of Britain. Hanoverian George I became the British king, despite the fact that he could not speak English and chose to spend much of his time holed up back in his native city.

By the 20th century, the British royal connection had been long since cut and British bombers returned in World War II, to mete out a severe beating – over 80per cent of the city centre was flattened. Today, a painstaking reconstruction programme, somewhat ironically instigated by the occupying Allied forces in the post-war years, has brought back a sense of grandeur, although there are few of the fine architectural set pieces that grace many other German cities.

What Hanover does have, however, are first rate shopping opportunities, excellent examples of Hanseatic red-brick churches, a brace of interesting museums, a sprinkling of atmospheric beer halls and a string of relaxing civic parks – the highlight of which is the Herrenhäuser Gärten, a fittingly grandiose and expansive legacy of its days as a royal city.

The city is well geared toward tourists and visiting businessmen alike, with an array of hotels, an integrated public transport system and the ‘Red Thread’ – a 4-kilometre (3 -mile) red line that traces the way to most of Hanover’s main attractions, with an informative handbook on sale to fill in the blanks.

The city’s economy is dominated by the Messegelände to the southeast, Germany’s largest, and one of Europe’s most high-tech, show and exhibition grounds, which hauls in millions of visitors every year, who attend the various business and leisure events. This vast area was also home to Expo 2000, the first World Expo ever to be held on German soil. Compared to Lisbon 1998, the Expo was an unmitigated disaster, with visitor numbers a fraction of those anticipated and a welter of negative publicity. But a few years further on, it appears that the local authorities may have been shrewd by attracting the massive state funding that went with the project.

Hanover’s main railway station has been rejuvenated, the city was put firmly on the map and the Expo site has become a permanent asset, as well as another potential conference venue. The Expo site, like the rest of Hanover, is at its best in the summer months, when the city can see as much as seven hours of sunshine per day, with an average temperature of 21ºC. Nevertheless, this drops to as little as one hour of sunshine in the depths of winter and a chilly average temperature of only 3ºC but perfect weather for seeking refuge in the beer halls and cosy restaurants.