- OLD TOWN HALL
The old Town Hall was built over a period of more than 100 years. The earliest part (from 1410) overlooks the Schmiedestrasse (Blacksmith Street), the later wing next to the market was erected on the foundations of the 13th century trade hall. The adjacent wing in the Koebelinger Str. is called the "Chemists' Wing ("Apothekenflügel"), because it was the location of the Town Hall's pharmacy. This wing was later rebuilt in Italian Romanesque style, after a citizen's "action group" led by a well known neo-Gothic architect, Conrad Wilhelm Hase, managed to save the entire building from demolition in 1844. Hase was subsequently commissioned to renovate the remaining wings in their original style of 1500, with its exceptional gothic gables and the ornamental frieze.
Amongst the portraits of the princes and coats-of-arms it features the "Luderziehen", a popular game from the Middle-Ages, a kind of "Tug of War" with the opponents using just their little fingers instead of the rope (a similar game called "Fingerhakeln" is still a firm part of the south German folklore). This marvellous picture above the outer right arched window in the Schmiedestrasse can only be seen by following the "red line" around the Old Town Hall.
- NEW TOWN HALL
0511 / 168-42292
Many visitors are quite astonished to hear that the magnificent building they are standing in front of is, actually, the "new" townhall. It's size and grand architectural style make it look more "historical", like a relict from more majestic times, when Hannover used to be a kingdom.
The new townhall is the residence of the mayor, the head of the municipal administration. It is here, that the political bodies hold their sessions, receptions for official guests of the city and art exhibitions are held, the "Citizen's Office" is also here. The doors of the Townhall are always open to all visitors. Four scale models of Hannover are on permanent display under the nearly four hundred metre high dome of the townhall lobby, showing the city as it was in the Middle Ages, before World War II , the destruction of 1945 and the townscape of today.
The diagonal lift in the townhall's dome is unique in Europe. At a 15-degree angle it covers the 43 metres up to the gallery at the top of the dome. From this vantage point one can enjoy a marvellous view of the whole city, even as far as the Harz Mountains when visibility is good.
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Merchants and craftsmen used to live in this area, and in the 14th century, the Marktkirche ("The Church at the Marketplace") was built here. Together with the Old Town Hall to the right they are considered to be the southernmost specimens of the "North German neo-Gothic" style. Just as the tower reached half of its planned height, the construction had to be stopped due to shortages in the town's coffers. For financial reasons, a shortened spire was mounted without further ado (which became very popular and was imitated widely). After serious damage in WWII, the Marktkirche was rebuilt in 1952. The portal with scenes from the saddest chapter of German history was designed by Gerhard Marcks.
- OPERA HOUSE
0511 / 9999-1111
The opera house was built in 1845-52. Originally it served as the royal theatre, as the king considered the theatre in the Leineschloß too small. The new opera house is a classical style building with two large wings and a balcony with statues of famous poets and composers. The balcony used to be open so that visitors could drive straight to the entrance in their carriages. Nowadays they can use the stairs to the underground car park. Hannover's opera house was badly damaged in the Second World War and rebuilt in 1948.