Hanover, the capital and with some 518,000 inhabitants the most populous city of Lower Saxony, is located in a valley along the Leine river between the Lower Saxon Hills area and the Weser Uplands. The city lies at the crossroads of a number of important traffic arteries and has an international airport. The entire city area covers more than 200 km², of which about 10% are parks, forests and other green areas. There is also a large lake and a few protected habitats within the city center which are popular day trip destinations for residents.

Scientists have found proof of a permanent settlement in Hanover’s location from as early as 150 AD. However, only dating from a thousand years later, from 1150, the first written documentation of a marketplace of that name was found. Hanover was incorporated as a city in 1241. Later, the town became entwined with British royalty, when Queen Anne Stuart died and the next of kin was the Prince-elector of Brunswick-Lüneburg. From 1714 to 1837, the King of Hanover would at the same time be the King of Great Britain. As an important industrial and transport town, Hanover was almost completely destroyed by Allied air raids in World War II. Many historic structures have since been reconstructed and today, the city in many places boasts an eclectic mixture of old and new. 

LS Hanover Neues Rathaus2

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There are a number of attractions in Hanover. Apart from many lakes, parks, public gardens - especially the vast Herrenhausen Gardens with the Chateau - and the widely acclaimed zoo, visitors favor historic buildings such as the market church in the city center, the New Town Hall (photo), the Leibniz House built in 1499 or the remains of thze medieval town fortification. Lower Saxony’s capital is also home to many notable museums. For example, there is a permanent exhibition of the works of German writer and humorist Wilhelm Busch; the Sprengel Museum of contemporary art and the Exposeeum, an exhibition based on the World Exhibition Expo that took place in Hanover in 2000. A number of theater companies, the Opera and a notable music scene that has produced many famous performers such as the world-famous rock band Scorpions.

Hanover, home town of former German Chancellor Schröder and former German Federal President Wulff, has several institutions of higher education, most notably the Leibniz University with almost 24,000 students and the University of Veterinary  Medicine. The city is also home to a number of well-known companies, especially in the automotive and food industries. It is however best known as a town of important trade fairs, hosting the annual Hannover Messe in April, the world’s leading industrial fair, as well as the equally significant CeBIT for the information technology industry every year in March. These fairs account for a lot of the overnight stays registered in town, while leisure travel to Hanover has grown in the past few years. Tourists from abroad might find the Hanover area a favorable place to visit: It is said that people here speak the clearest version of the German language, free from any distinguished dialects.   

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