The Royal Gardens of Herrenhausen are amongst the most beautiful green spaces in the whole of Europe. Electress Sophia of Hanover had the Herrenhausen summer residence designed in the baroque style adored by the House of Orange.
The Great Garden, a huge open-air banqueting area, is at the heart of the complex. Having first been created in 1666, its design took on its modern form between 1696 and 1714. The baroque garden is home to many rare relics, such as the Grand Fountain, which is the tallest in any European garden at 82 metres. The spectacular water wheels and pumps make this monument a technical feat. And Germany's first Garden Theatre is just as magnificent now with its golden figures as it was back in Electress Sophia's day.
The attractive Berggarten boasts prairie and marshland areas, orchid collections, a rainforest, cacti, a tropical conservatory and rare old trees, including a cucumber magnolia from 1794. Another of the many highlights in the Royal Gardens is the historical grotto dating back to 1676 in the north-west of the garden. Following its restoration for the global EXPO 2000 exhibition, the grotto was given a second lease of life. It was redesigned in line with the plans of artist Niki de Saint-Phalle between 2001 and 2003.