Is it a town or a fairytale? This is the question you'll inevitably ask yourself as you walk through Celle. An enchanting old quarter with hundreds of timber-framed houses, a palace uniting Renaissance and baroque styles, and the whole town gloriously situated on the banks of the river Aller on the southern fringes of Lüneburg Heath: it is simply beautiful.
The town church and Old Town Hall are among Celle's oldest buildings and are set amid an abundance of half-timbered houses spanning several centuries. Among them are the synagogue and Hoppener Haus, probably the most famous building in the town. This gabled house from 1532 stands an impressive six storeys high and is decorated with beautiful, coloured carvings. Opposite Hoppener Haus are the intriguing talking lamp posts, each representing a different type of person. Motion sensors set them talking – either one on its own or all together. The lamp posts relay facts, anecdotes, funny phrases or little sketches to passers-by. It's not surprising that many wonder if they might be going mad!
Dukes, knights and horses: the story of Celle
The ducal palace, Celle's most important landmark, is located in the town centre and dates back to the 13th century. It was converted into a Renaissance palace from 1530. Further renovations and extensions in the second half of the 17th century gave the palace its baroque – and present-day – appearance. Today, this magnificent building is home to the Residence Museum and Palace Theatre, which was established back in 1671. The Stechbahn is a reminder of the 'good, old days' of the Late Middle Ages when knights would take part in jousting competitions. At one such tournament in 1471, Duke Otto II fell from his horse and died. A horseshoe set in the pavement outside the Löwenapotheke pharmacy serves as a reminder of the event. The people of Celle have quite a tradition with equestrianism: at the annual Parade of Stallions in September, the Lower Saxony State Stud transforms the medieval town into one big parade ground for horses and riders.
A work of art in its own right: Kunstmuseum Celle
In many ways, Kunstmuseum Celle is just as unique as the old quarter. It's a sight to behold 24 hours a day, and takes on a whole new dimension at night. During the day, the museum is a place to see paintings, prints, sculptures, light installations and objet d'art from the 20th century, among them many multiples by Joseph Beuys. At night, however, the museum itself becomes the exhibit: the glass-fronted foyer shines like a colourful crystal illuminated from within, as light and sound installations blur the boundaries between art and space, and between the building and its urban surroundings.