Which city is home to the world's biggest exhibition site? Perhaps Tokyo? No, sorry – try again. Chicago, London, Shanghai? Wrong again. Frankfurt? Getting closer. The answer is in fact Hannover. Thanks to its state-of-the-art exhibition centre, the city has become an engine for the global economy, and a byword for ideas, innovation and investment.
The UNESCO 'Earthly treasure and architecture' route covers the longest period of all. It vividly documents everything from industrial heritage to prehistoric excavations. Stunning old quarters and outstanding places of special religious significance complete this tour of striking contrasts that also offers walking enthusiasts some particularly lovely routes.
UNESCO World Heritage sites:
- Fagus Factory in Alfeld
- St. Mary's Cathedral and St. Michael's Church in Hildesheim
- Mines of Rammelsberg, Historic Town of Goslar and Upper Harz Water Management System
- Collegiate Church, Castle and Old Town of Quedlinburg
- The Erzgebirge/Krušnohoří/Ore Mountain Mining Region
- Naumburg Cathedral
- Carolingian Westwork and Civitas Corvey
- Wilhelmshöhe Park
- Messel Pit Fossil Site
- The Great Spa Towns of Europe: Three German Spa Resorts are UNESCO World Heritage Sites
Other towns and cities worth seeing:
Built from 1911 to designs by Adolf Meyer and Walter Gropius, the subsequent star architect of the Bauhaus school, the Fagus Factory is widely regarded as the first truly modernist structure. Typical of the Neues Bauen style, the glass and steel facade and the huge, wrap-around corner windows free of supports lend the building an elegant feeling of lightness.
St. Michael's Church and St. Mary's Cathedral in Hildesheim near Hannover are two outstanding examples of early-Romanesque architecture. Both churches symbolise the heyday of religious art in the Holy Roman Empire, exemplify the creative skill of Bishop Bernward and are blessed with a wealth of famous historical art treasures.
Reminders of Germany's earliest industrial heritage: documenting around 1,000 years of mining history, the Mines of Rammelsberg on the outskirts of the beautiful old town of Goslar were once the largest interconnected repositories of copper, lead and zinc ore in the world. Energy for the mine was supplied by the Upper Harz water management system, the world's foremost pre-industrial water management system for the mining industry.
Quedlinburg, which enjoys an idyllic location on the Romanesque Route, was an important royal and imperial town in the Middle Ages. With its historical layout and over 1,300 timber-framed houses from a period spanning six centuries, Quedlinburg is a fine example of a beautifully preserved medieval town. It also boasts a wealth of art nouveau architecture.
Leipzig's key role in setting the rhythm for the peaceful revolution of 1989 is testament to the city's musical endowment. After the fall of the Berlin Wall, Leipzig was labelled 'City of Heroes' – a title which could also be in reference to the many great musicians, kapellmeister and composers who are arguably more popular and more prominent here than anywhere else in the world.
Mines and tunnels, smelting works, historic mining towns and typical mining relics such as sinkholes and stockpiles: The Ore Mountains, which form a natural border between Saxony and Bohemia, have been a hub of scientific and technological innovation and a driver of social and economic development for mining regions throughout Europe since the 12th century. The mining region consists of 22 sub-territories, 17 of which are in Germany and 5 in the Czech Republic.
Naumburg Cathedral of St. Peter and St. Paul is regarded as a unique testimonial to medieval architecture and art. It was constructed in 1028 and finally expanded to a double chancel in the 13th century. The special combination of stained glass, architecture and sculpture makes the west choir a fascinating complete work by the Naumburg master mason. Visitors can also admire the famous statue of Uta von Ballenstedt here.
On 21st June 2014, the former Benedictine monastery of Corvey, in Höxter Westphalia, became the 39th location in Germany to be awarded the UNESCO World Heritage title. And rightly so, because it is an historical art treasure of inestimable value. The former imperial Abbey with its nearly 1,200 year history is regarded as one of the most important monastic foundations in medieval Germany.
Covering 240 hectares in the north Hessen city of Kassel, baroque Wilhelmshöhe Park is designed in the style of an English landscape garden and is Europe's largest hillside park. Together with Wilhelmshöhe Palace, it forms a unique whole that combines culture, nature and landscape architecture in perfect harmony.
With more than 40,000 finds to date, the Messel Pit is one of the world's most productive fossil sites, documenting dramatic changes to the biosphere during past geological periods. It reveals the wonders of evolution around 47 million years ago and was designated Germany's first UNESCO World Natural Heritage site in 1995.
Noble spa buildings designed like castles, with marbled foyers and pump rooms, lavish gardens with white benches and splashing fountains: European spa culture flourished between 1700 and 1930. During that time, elegant spa towns with a unique architectural styles were constructed around natural healing springs. The UNESCO World Heritage List has designated eleven European spa towns as "Major Spa Towns of Europe" since 2021. Three of them, Baden-Baden, Bad Kissingen and Bad Ems, are located in Germany.
There are cars you drive... and then there are cars you dream of. Stuttgart has both in abundance. Not only does the city produce internationally renowned cars, but it also lives and breathes automotive history in a way that nowhere else does. Drivers' dreams become reality when they visit Stuttgart.