Braunschweig, the Lion City

Thursday, 13 January 2011 - 01:42 am (CET/MEZ) Berlin | Author/Destination:
Category/Kategorie: General, Architecture
Reading Time:  6 minutes

Brunswick Lion © Brunswyk

Brunswick Lion © Brunswyk

With round 245.000 inhabitants, Braunschweig is the biggest city in the area between Hanover and Berlin. It is the centre of the region, as much today as it has been in the past. Today’s attractive profile of the Lion City is due to its rich and proud history, its steady development as a dynamic place for business, trading, sciences and research as well as its extensive cultural activities. Braunschweig’s history is closely linked to the Guelph, Henry the Lion, and his son Otto IV. who was the first and only Guelph emperor. Places of interest like St. Blasii Cathedral or Dankwarderode Castle remind us even today of the powerful Guelph Duke who made Braunschweig his residence in the middle of the 12th century. His lion, in the form of a bronze statue, has stood on the Burgplatz for centuries as a reminder of his power and is still the heraldic sign of the city.

Ritter St. Georg © Brunswyk

Ritter St. Georg © Brunswyk

The lively thousand year old history of the Lion City can be seen in the picturesque half-timbered buildings that are particularly well preserved in the area around St. Magni church. The storing and resting place (“Wik”) developed into an important centre for medieval long distance trade. From here on the river Oker became navigable and lead the traffic coming from the south via the rivers Aller and Weser to Bremen and the North Sea. This economic success earned Braunschweig membership in the important Hanseatic League from the 13th century right through to its disbandment in the 17th century. During that time Braunschweig grew into one of the most important cities of this era. Conflicts with the Guelph rulers lead to their move to Wolfenbüttel. That allowed Braunschweig to enjoy its independent and self-governing status until the year 1671 when the re-empowered dukes took control again. The group of buildings around the Altstadtmarkt (old town market) including the gothic Altstadtrathaus (old town hall) and the Gewandhaus (cloth hall) of the mighty drapers reminds us even today of Braunschweig’s great independence, its evolvement of power and its economic boom years during its Hanseatic League membership.

Kohlmarkt © Wingsch

Kohlmarkt © Wingsch

When Braunschweig became residency of the Guelphs (from 1753/1754) Duke William ordered the royal master builder, Carl Theodor Ottmer, to build a residential palace. This was constructed between 1833 and 1841. This Guelph palace with its impressive façade has recently been rebuilt using some of the original building parts. The palace now houses the municipal libraries, the archive and the cultural institute of the city. Braunschweig can now also add the biggest quadriga in Europe to its numerous sights. This monument can be reached via an accessible visitor’s platform and offers an impressive view over the old part of the city.

Art Association © Wingsch

Art Association © Wingsch

Numerous festivals like the Braunschweig Classix Festival, the medieval market, the culture night, the festival Kultur im Zelt, the international film festival and the open-air opera of the Staatstheater Braunschweig are as much part of the diverse cultural life in Braunschweig as are the satire festival or the hipp “Blauhaus Party” that regularly takes place in the Staatstheater Braunschweig with the jazz ensemble Jazzkantine. The traditional Staatstheater offers a huge repertoire ranging from classic to modern in all four theatre categories. The free theatre scene with modern productions and festivals also plays an important part in Braunschweig’s cultural life.

Happy Rizzi House © captaingrog

Happy Rizzi House © captaingrog

Braunschweig’s glorious parks and grounds in the city centre, its lakes near the city, its nature and European bird reserve Riddagshausen and varied local recreation areas all add up to a very high standard of living. The river Oker allows you to circle nearly the whole of the city centre by boat giving you a unique chance to view Braunschweig from a very different perspective. With its closeness to the Lüneburger Heide (heather reserve) and to the Harz mountains Braunschweig provides an ideal starting point for tours into this extraordinary cultural region.

To inform you about latest news most of the city, town or tourism websites offer a newsletter service and/or operate Facepage pages/Twitter accounts. Read more on braunschweig.de and Wikipedia Braunschweig. Learn more about the use of photos.






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