The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe while the Berggarten has been transformed over the years from a simple vegetable garden into a large botanical garden with its own attractions. Both the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten have been made in the style of English gardens, and both are considered popular recreation areas for the residents of Hanover. The history of the gardens spans several centuries, and they remain a popular attraction to this day.
Between 1817 and 1820, a caretaker’s hut was built on the garden’s grounds. In 1846, work began on the “Palm-house” (Palmenhaus), a conservatory designed by architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves and containing, as the name implies, palm trees. Within five years of its completion in 1849, the building housed the most valuable and extensive collection of palms in all of Europe. Work on the garden’s mausoleum, also designed by Laves, lasted from 1842 to 1847; King Ernest Augustus I, who died one year after completion, was interred there with his wife Queen Frederica. It was also around this time (1845 to 1846) that walls and fences were added in order to make the Berggarten more secluded. In 1880, a larger building for the palm collection was built. Taking the form of a roughly 30 meter tall palace-like structure, the greenhouse – built out of glass and steel – houses both galleries and decorative fountains and replaced the previous Palmenhaus. Much of the garden had to be rebuilt bit by bit after British air raids destroyed much of the city in World War II. In 1952, the Garden Library – which now houses the garden’s management – was built, and in 1957, further members of the Royal Family of Hanover were interred in the garden’s mausoleum due to the rebuilding of the Leineschloss. The year 2000 saw the completion of a brand new “Rainforest-house” (Regenwaldhaus), partially as a replacement for the legendary Palmenhaus (which was demolished in 1950) and partially for the Expo 2000. Inside is a tropical landscape containing more than plants – different species of tropical butterflies and birds were also incorporated into the environment. Further exhibits of the building include several displays themed gardens.
In front of the building is a bronze sculpture of the “Lower Saxony Steed” (Niedersachsenross) – the heraldic animal found on the coat of arms of Lower Saxony. The Welfengarten, like the other gardens, was also destroyed during the Second World War, but it was rebuilt specifically as the campus of the university. Although the University has occupied the castle since 1879, it was not until 1961 that the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince of Hanover (Herzog zu Braunschweig-Lüneburg, Prinzen von Hannover), sold the plot of land on which the castle stood to the city of Hanover. He kept however the Princely Palace (Fürstenhaus), located near the destroyed castle of the Great Garden, for himself. His grandson Prince Ernst August of Hanover is now using it as his private residence when in Germany. The elaborate museum in this small palace, built by king George I of Great Britain in 1720, has recently been closed.
The re-construction of the Herrenhausen Castle is in full swing. It is expected to be completed in 2013. The Volkswagen Foundation is investing in it and will use it for at least 100 days per year for congresses and events.
Read more on Wikipedia Herrenhausen Gardens.
The abbey church of Maria Laach is considered a masterpiece of German Romanesque architecture, with its multiple towers, large westwork with arcaded gallery, and unique west porch.
The east end has a round apse flanked by twin square towers. Over the transept crossing is a broad cupola with cone-shaped roof. The monumental west façade includes a west choir with apse flanked by round twin towers and a square central tower.
Notable features of the interior include the tomb of the founder Pfalzgraf Heinrich II (dating from 1270), 16th-century murals, a Late Romanesque baldachino in the apse, and interesting modern decorations such as mosaics from c.1910 and stained glass windows from the 1950s.
Read more on Maria Laach Abbey, Virtual Tour Maria Laach Abbey, Seehotel Maria Laach and Wikipedia Maria Laach Abbey. Photos from Wikicommons.