Strong cities: Hessen's diverse cultural landscape
Thanks to the many creative minds that have lived and worked in Hessen, the state's cultural landscape is broadly diversified. Monuments of past times ...Learn more
Big city, noisy city? It doesn't have to be. We introduce you to destinations in Hessian cities where you can relax - with the best view!
With its 15 thermal and mineral springs, the capital of Hesse is one of the oldest spas in Europe. Around 279,000 people live in the state's second largest city.
With a good 763,000 inhabitants, Germany's fifth-largest city is located on both sides of the Main River southeast of the Taunus Mountains. The city with its striking skyline is one of the most important international financial centers.
The third largest city in Hesse has a good 202,000 inhabitants. It is located in northern Hesse near the borders with Lower Saxony and Thuringia in the Kassel Basin.
The city of 77,000 inhabitants is located in central Hesse, roughly halfway between Frankfurt am Main and Kassel. Its sights include the Elisabeth Church, the Old University and the Landgrave's Castle.
With about 160,000 inhabitants, the fourth largest city in Hesse belongs to the Rhine-Main region. The nearest larger cities are Frankfurt am Main and Offenbach about 30 km to the north.
The city of 35,5000 inhabitants is located directly on the western border of Hesse between the Taunus and the Westerwald on both sides of the river Lahn. The most famous building is the late Romanesque cathedral.
Do you know the most beautiful outdoor pool in the world? Well - ask a Wiesbadener, he will tell you without long thinking: "The Opelbad on the Neroberg!" In 1934, the fancy bath was built and was first considered to be the most modern bath in Europe. Privy Councillor Wilhelm von Opel donated 250,000 Reichsmark to architect Franz Schuster, who integrated it into the 245-meter-high Neroberg in the style of the "New Building" that was in vogue at the time, giving swimmers not only a sporting arena of splendor, but also an exquisite view down to the city of Wiesbaden. Modern is the Opelbad with its time-honored restaurant in the distinguished white Bauhaus style no longer exists today, but that's good news: Nowhere else, after all, does a public outdoor pool give you the feeling of being a member of a posh country club in the country. And the Frankfurter Rundschau recently wrote that the pool is definitely the most beautiful in the world - and they should know!
Whereby the Opelbad is by no means the only attraction on the Neroberg: There is, for example, the soon to be 500-year-old vineyard, where Rieslings with particularly elegant fruit acid are pressed. The "Russian Orthodox Church of St. Elisabeth" also attracts a lot of visitors, even if Wiesbadenians like to give it a false label: "Greek Church" is the popular name for the gilded dome building, because in the past all Orthodox churches in Europe were called "Greek. The Neroberg Climbing Forest is a little less spiritual, but more athletic: a little thrill is guaranteed with an appropriate physical investment. By the way, if you're serious about your sporting activities, don't take the blue-and-yellow - albeit truly magnificent - climbing route. Nerobergbahn up to the local mountain of the citizens of Wiesbaden, but walks the approximately three-kilometer route. Very high-spirited souls extend this to a Neroberg round hike and manage 750 meters of altitude on a 21-kilometer route in a lively up and down. More info here.
Ever dreamed of it, to help with a grape harvest? You don't even have to travel to Italy, France or Austria to realize such a dream. Once a year, the city of Frankfurt invites people up to the Lohrberg, where there is actually a beautiful vineyard on a sunny south-facing slope. There, 30 volunteers help with the harvest on the only vineyard that is cultivated on Frankfurt city territory. Conveniently, by the city of Frankfurt itself, which once bought the hill from the monks of a Carmelite monastery. 10,000 bottles of Frankfurter Lohrberger Hang are produced there every year, a Riesling of good quality, whose noblest site costs as much as 10 euros per bottle. As a reward, the helpers on site receive sufficient provisions, also in liquid form. But that is not the only thing that drives them here: It is also the view of the beauties of the Lohrberg's with its magnificent trees and huge meadows.
A walk along the idyllic paths of the vineyard leads sooner or later probably also to the only building on the Lohrberg - after passing the memorial for the fallen of Seckbach from the First World War and a memorial plaque in memory of the dead of the Second World War. It is the Lohrberg Tavern, where you can not only taste the Riesling from the Lohrberg, but also be offered regional dishes in a cozy atmosphere. For passionate hikers there is the possibility to walk the Volcano climb to walk - or at least a piece of it. It is 118 kilometers long, leads from Seckbach to Alsfeld and justifies all the high expectations raised by the linguistically regionally colored poem by an unknown author about the Lohrberg: "When I stand like this on the Lohrberg, and let my eyes wander, look into the distance and into the near, then I can already understand that this is certainly one of the most beautiful spots in Frankfurt.
The writer Christine Brückner lives in Kassel and should actually know: "Wilhelmshöhe Nature Park is a total work of art consisting of architecture, sculpture, water art and landscape." How does she come up with that? The size of Kassel's most popular recreational area alone is impressive: the mountain park measures a proud 2.4 square kilometers, making it the largest in Europe. It is officially one of the 100 most important sights in Germany and has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site since 2013. Superlatives wherever you look.
Architecturally, the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe is interesting for many reasons: built in 1786 (and later restored several times), the Wilhelmshöhe Castle for example, presents itself to its visitors as an impressively massive ensemble that is now home to several museums. The Great Greenhouse, too, with its ingenious iron-and-glass construction - quite apart from the exotic plant life inside - is a constant attraction for friends of aesthetically outstanding buildings. Outstanding - that certainly also applies to the Lion Castle to, especially since this castle is a curiosity: The Löwenburg was built between 1793 and 1801 in the style of a medieval knight's castle ruin. To make it look a bit more authentic, even an ancient castle garden, a vineyard and a tournament ground were created at that time. And the water games, where 750,000 liters of water are set in motion several days a week - forming very graceful watercourses, cascades and, finally, a large fountain. Those who, after walking at a brisk pace along the idyllic paths of the mountain park, also aspire to culinary highlights, have a choice: with the restaurants Old guard, the Hercules terraces and the Cascade Farm Grischäfer the Bergpark leaves nothing to be desired in this respect either. Not to be left unmentioned at this point, however, is the Hercules, often referred to as the landmark of the city of Kassel. Since 1717, it has been looking down on the city of Kassel from the summit of the Karlsberg at a height of 530 meters: The monumental Hercules statue is enthroned on an octagon with a viewing platform from which visitors have an impressive overview of the entire Bergpark and the city of Kassel.
Not even 2.5 kilometers are the two most interesting destinations for the people of Marburg and their guests: On the one hand, there is the Kaiser Wilhelm Tower on the Lahn Hills, completed in 1890, 36 meters high and well known in the region as a perfect vantage point with a beautiful view of the city of Marburg. In the vernacular, the Kaiser Wilhelm Tower is also called Spiegelslustturm. This has to do with a student named Werner Friedrich Julius Stephan von Spiegel (uff!), who took over the tower in 1821. He built a music pavilion and a stone grotto as well as a beverage cellar - good man. Even today, thirsty and hungry guests benefit from the far-sightedness of the cheerful student: At Tower Café In addition to a varied cultural program, visitors can enjoy food and drinks from the predominantly Hessian cuisine. A little gimmick for people who want to dare more heart: A heart-shaped light installation by artist Helmi Ohlhagen has been hanging on the Kaiser Wilhelm Tower since 2007. If you want to make the installation light up briefly, all you have to do is call 06421 590469 and it will. If you want the heart to shine all night, you should book it with the city of Marburg - but it costs 77.12 euros!
The view of the Marburg castle on the other hand, is still free of charge for the time being, albeit without light installations by Marburg artists. But the building doesn't need such upgrades anyway: From Marburg's old town, the impressive landgrave's palace can already be seen hovering over the city like an architectural patron saint. Worth seeing in the palace is then above all the Gothic Prince's Hall located in the north wing, self-confidently 420 square meters in size. A stirringly beautiful place, it is still regularly used for festive and cultural events. Between May and October, you can join public tours of the castle, every Sunday at 3pm. The Marburg landgrave's castle was once laid out as a fortified hilltop castle, its centerpiece being underground gun emplacements known as casemates. These can also be visited on public tours every Saturday at 3:15 pm. Last, but not least: The Museum of Cultural History is also located in the rooms of the landgrave's castle and convinces with a permanent collection and constantly changing exhibitions.
The best option, learn everything about a park is still likely to be the guided tour by trained professionals. In the case of the Rosenhöhe in Darmstadt - the most popular excursion destination for Darmstadt residents - a person like "gardener Rosalinde" would be the perfect choice. From her, a well-trained city guide in real life, one learns in the course of a humorous tourhow the botanical features of the park are doing. First and foremost, however, Rosalinde makes fun of the cast-stone lion sculptures that look down on visitors from a height of five meters on what were originally Ionic double columns at the entrance to Rosenhöhe. The lions by the expressionist sculptor Bernhard Hoetger, according to the city guide in her gardener's outfit, are also popularly known as "sneezing hedgehogs". Questionable whether that would be in the sense of the artist ...
Clearly more uncontroversial are the sights from flora, fauna and art history that can be found in the park. For example, the American redwood trees or the tulip trees with their striking flowers. The centerpiece of the park and also its namesake landmark is the Rosarium with the so-called Rose Dome. From May to November, more than 10,000 roses bloom here, a total of well over 200 varieties. "The fusion of English landscape park, fruit tree cultures, herbaceous perennials and rose gardens went down in garden art as the Darmstadt garden style" the FAZ once described the park Rosenhöhe appreciatively. Grand Duke Ernst Ludwig, however, not only built the rose garden in Darmstadt, but also erected mausoleums and tombs for the family. These can still be admired today in the Rosenhöhe Park - which, by the way, is completely protected as a historic monument. The final word at this point therefore quite rightly belongs to the last Grand Duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, Ernst Ludwig: "In order to do full justice to the beautiful name Rosenhöhe, I decided to create a rose garden such as was not yet known in Germany. As a model, I had in mind a layout that would combine the character of the enchanting rose gardens of Italy with their abundance of blossoms and with their architectural interspersions with the character of the rose gardens of England, which are of the highest artistic and floricultural standards." Today we can say: it worked.
"The Lord looks from heaven and sees all the children of men", it says in the Bible, Psalm 33, probably better known under the popularly shortened verdict: "The dear God sees everything". In Limburg an der Lahn, this psalm is likely to have a little more meaning than elsewhere, because Limburg Cathedral is enthroned in an extremely exposed position on a limestone cliff above the Lahn and is thus already inevitably visible from almost any location in Limburg's city center. However, it has not yet been possible to determine whether this makes itself felt in the sin register of its inhabitants ...
Stylistically, the cathedral unites elements of the Rhenish Romanesque and Gothic styles. In addition to its elevated position above the city, however, its magnificent majestic décor ensures that St. George's Cathedral, as it is also often called after its patron saint St. George, always remains the focus of Limburg's citizens. The cathedral has seven towers, more than any other church in Germany. This is supposedly based on the seven sacraments; scoffers claim that this could also mean the seven vices. Because, fun fact: In Limburg's old town, a charming listed half-timbered house actually houses the "House of the Seven Vices," on whose facades artful carvings recreate the biblical vices of pride, envy, intemperance, avarice, lust, anger and sloth. Just climbing up the atmospheric cobblestone stairs from Limburg's old town is an experience in itself, and also has the collateral benefit of being able to register the city's second major attraction: This is the somewhat hidden Limburg castlethat clearly stands in the shadow of the mighty cathedral. This may also be due to the fact that the castle cannot be visited by the public at the moment and a sponsoring association has been working diligently for years to renovate at least some parts of the castle and make them accessible to the public in one way or another. After all, the Limburg City Archive in the rooms of the old castle, which was almost sold to a private investor in the 1990s. However, numerous Limburg residents fought against this and ensured that the castle was bought back by the city of Limburg from the state of Hesse. For, rattle: one euro. Money well spent.
Cover photo: A break in the green with a view of Frankfurt - the Lohrberg is just one of many green oases in Hesse © Samuel Buscape
Hiking through quiet low mountain ranges, old beech forests or orchards, paddling on the Lahn, looking at the most beautiful medieval half-timbered houses and soaking up the atmosphere of historic spas - Hessen makes romantic souls happy all around. But gourmets also get their money's worth on wine hikes, in Hessian butcher shops and with "Handkäs mit Musik", a pickled cheese. Reasons for a Vacation in Hesse there are enough!
Thanks to the many creative minds that have lived and worked in Hessen, the state's cultural landscape is broadly diversified. Monuments of past times ...Learn more
One of the biggest attractions in Kassel is the Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Since 2013, it has been a UNESCO World Heritage Site, which ...Learn more
The fact that Wiesbaden is one of the 10 wealthiest cities in Germany can hardly be overlooked: Art Nouveau and elegant villas everywhere, plus well-kept ...Learn more
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