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Braunschweig: the city of lions and scientists.

A city that combines the traditional with the modern, Braunschweig is blessed with a wealth of monuments from its rich history as well as beautiful quarters that have retained their charm over the centuries. But its appeal also extends to modern architecture such as the Happy Rizzi House, together with a lively arts scene and extensive parkland.

Braunschweig's history is closely associated with that of the Guelph dynasty. Henry the Lion made the city his ducal residence in the 12th century and transformed it into a Hanseatic city and trading power. The memory of this great Braunschweig figure lives on at Dankwarderode Castle, St. Blasius Cathedral and through the bronze lion statue on Burgplatz square. During the reign of Otto IV, another Guelph ruler, Braunschweig became a centre of imperial power and one of Europe's most important political hubs. The House of Guelph continued to shape the development of the city until the early 20th century, promoting architecture, science and the arts. This is part of the reason why Braunschweig has attracted so many great minds, who made it the hotbed of innovation it is today. A vast amount of research and development takes place here, and the city is home to numerous international institutes. Indeed in 2007 it became an official 'city of science'.

Braunschweig has always appealed to art lovers as well. The Duke Anton Ulrich Museum, for instance, is considered Lower Saxony's foremost art museum and boasts one of the most comprehensive collections of old masters anywhere in Germany. Culture of a more modern variety is offered by the State Theatre, as well as by the many independent theatres and performance groups that offer high-calibre entertainment across a range of genres – all part of Braunschweig's thriving arts scene. Braunschweig is equally impressive when it comes to retail therapy. A stroll through the attractive city centre, for example, reveals world-class shopping opportunities. And for world-class architecture look no further than Ackerhof square in the Magni quarter, where you can marvel at the outrageously colourful Happy Rizzi House – the work of American artist James Rizzi. And just around the corner lies what is believed to be the oldest timber-framed house in Germany. A contrast typical of Braunschweig, where the old and the new come together in perfect harmony. And somewhere in the middle is you.

City Highlights

It's hardly surprising that the lion is the emblem of the House of Braunschweig. The once gilded bronze lion statue dating from 1166 was erected by Henry the Lion as a symbol of his power and jurisdiction. A masterpiece of Romanesque sculpture, most likely cast in Braunschweig, it was the first free-standing monument north of the Alps. The original can be seen at Dankwarderode castle. The one on castle square is a full-size replica.

The Happy Rizzi House is located at the edge of the historical Magni quarter and was designed by the internationally acclaimed New York artist James Rizzi. It was built in two years on the initiative of gallery owner Olaf Jaeschke and architect Konrad Kloster. The brightly coloured, cartoonish towers serve as a three-dimensional walk-in sculpture. Today the building is used as offices and unfortunately is not open to the public. But it's certainly worth a look.

Braunschweig's Residenz palace was badly damaged during the Second World War and completely pulled down in 1960. In 2007, 47 years after its demolition, the facades of the palace were rebuilt using more than 600 original pieces. The Guelph palace was reconstructed in its original location with the help of historical plans and photos. The portico of the Ducal Palace features Brunonia, the town’s goddess, in a chariot drawn by four horses. This is the biggest quadriga in Europe, a replica of the original that used to adorn the old palace.

Braunschweig's collection of historical musical instruments is internationally renowned.

It has exceptional examples of violins, mandolins, guitars, harps and, in particular, keyboard instruments that showcase the piano-making traditions of the Braunschweig region. Wind instruments such as cornets, horns, trumpets, flutes and clarinets round off the collection, which also includes a flute that once belonged to the Prussian King Frederick II, Louis Spohr's childhood violin, a Steinway square piano (1835) and a fortepiano formerly owned by the famous pianist Clara Schumann.

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