The beautiful cities and towns of the state all have their own style and special charm, are unique character actors. In one important area, however, they are all absolutely alike: they welcome their visitors as vibrant, cosmopolitan and creative destinations! Art and culture are anchored in Hessen's DNA, and travelers will find a wide range of great exhibitions, contemporary events and colorful happenings - examples from some of Hessen's most beautiful cities and surroundings.

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From Bergpark to Zissel - cultural highlights in Kassel

What a destination! In Kassel, one cultural site follows the next and large and small events regularly attract thousands of visitors from all over the world to the third largest metropolis in the state. Would you like to see some examples? There are impressive facilities such as the 560-hectare Wilhelmshöhe Mountain Parkwhich, with its palace, trick fountains, Löwenburg castle and statue of Hercules, is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The opera house hosts great productions such as "Janus" by the famous choreographer Noa Wertheim. In the unique GRIMMWELT you can immerse yourself in the life and fairy tales of the Brothers Grimm and admire works by the renowned Kassel painter and draftsman Johann Heinrich Tischbein (1722-1789) at special exhibitions such as the one at Wilhelmshöhe Palace.  

In addition, there are a number of regular events that are often eagerly awaited by young and old alike. At Culture tent at the wire bridge, for example, international artists have been enchanting their fans with jazz, indie, soul, pop, punk or folk since 1986. Castle and park WilhelmsthalGermany's most beautiful rococo ensemble, form an opulent backdrop for the Garden party Kassel. Four colorful days full of cheerfulness prevail at the Folk and water festival Zisselwhich delights the whole family with its imaginative program on the banks of the Fulda. Oh yes, and then of course there is the famous documenta. First organized in 1955 by Kassel painter and designer Arnold Bode, it has been held every five years since then - and is now considered the most important exhibition of contemporary art in the world.

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For art lovers and connoisseurs - magical exhibitions and museums

Travelers can enjoy art in its purest form all year round in many Hessian cities, where countless spectacular collections present the works of great creative minds of yesterday and today. There is truly no shortage of museums and exhibitions here, with an immense variety of themes and depth. Under the title "World in Turmoil", for example, the Frankfurt Schirn Art Gallery in the fall, around 100 previously lesser-known works by the Jewish painter Marc Chagall from the 1930s and 1940s, in which the growing anti-Semitism of those dark days is expressed. Works by the artist Ottilie W. Roederstein are on display in the Frankfurt Städel who succeeded as a portrait painter in the male-dominated art scene of the 20th century - her paintings and drawings in the retrospective "Freely Creating" are praised for their Impressionist, Symbolist and Neo-Saxon stylistic elements.

The fact that art is an elementary part of our lives is what the exhibition "In Art we trust" at the Kassel Huguenot House show. With "American Heiner" the Hessian State Museum Darmstadt traces the history of a world-famous fossil elephant skeleton. In the Frankfurt Romanticism Museum the correspondence between Friedrich Schlegel and Friedrich von Hardenberg (Novalis) is exhibited for the first time, and the Museum Wiesbaden shows works by the expressionist Alexej von Jawlensky and the German painter Ernst Wilhelm Nay - in Hesse, art lovers are spoiled for choice.

In this listing may the world famous documenta whose 15th edition will show great contemporary art in Kassel from mid-June to the end of September. It will be curated in 2022 by the Indonesian collective ruangrupa. In addition to the usual exhibition venues à la Fridericianum, unusual locations are used, such as an old warehouse or Kassel's Hallenbad Ost. The aim is to decentralize the urban experience and connect people from different walks of life. The motto of documenta15 is "Lumbung," the Indonesian word for a communally used rice barn - this is intended to emphasize values such as solidarity and collectivity.

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A special kind of people - Hessian Celtic Year 2022

Funerary objects from three Celtic ceremonial tombs and a life-size statue of the "Celtic Prince of the Glauberg": Unique relics of Celtic culture are on display in the Celtic World at the Glauberg © Hessen Tourismus/Roman Knie

They once settled in a large area between France and Turkey, left many traces also in today's Hesse. In the years 800 to 100 BC, the ethnic groups of the Celts created a foundation for our modern society, provided for lasting changes in the areas of culture and economy. The museum bears witness to this Celtic world at the Glauberg to the Hessian Celtic Year 2022 with the special exhibition "CELTS LAND HESSEN", which attracts visitors a few kilometers northeast of Frankfurt am Main from mid-March to the end of December. All kinds of new, surprising findings about the Celts with their distinctive and highly developed social structure will be presented - as an invitation to a voyage of discovery about the nature and development of the tribe 2400 years ago.

Connections as far as the Mediterranean, trade in products such as salt or iron and intensive agriculture changed the region enormously at that time. The collection, which extends over the entire museum area, shows about 500 finds from all over Hesse, from weapons to hand tools to jewelry. Among the exhibits, which are unique in Europe, is also the famous statue of the "Celtic Prince from the Glauberg". Many of the finds are shown here for the first time, exhibits such as grave goods give insights into burial rituals and the Celts' ideas about the afterlife. A walk to the reconstructed burial mound or a hike on the Celtic World Trail through the archaeological park are also very rewarding - while enjoying the beautiful natural landscape in peace and quiet. 

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A great history - 800th anniversary of the city of Marburg

In 1222, Marburg was first mentioned in a document as a city: in 2022, this will be celebrated with a large series of events © Francesco Carovillano

What a great celebration! In the university town of Marburg, honored by presenter and cabaret artist Eckhart von Hirschhausen at the opening gala as the "Harvard of Central Hesse," things are getting busy for the 800th anniversary. Under the motto Marburg800 visitors will be offered around 200 top events, activities and projects with which Marburg will present itself in all its facets on the occasion of the festival year. The audio podcast provides information on this. The whole thing is divided into three major thematic areas: "Remember Marburg" highlights the history, "Experience Marburg" the present and "Invent Marburg" the future of the city. There's plenty on offer for young and old.

A new city walk, for example, is dedicated to Marburg's history, leading through eight centuries. With flyer or cell phone in hand, locals and guests can set off in search of clues. The town hall lovingly portrays local Jewish life, while the university choir and the philharmonic orchestra interpret Marburg's history musically with Brahms and Liszt at joint concerts on the third weekend in July. Meanwhile, children and young people have painted their vision of the city's future on canvas in bright colors; their impressive "RATHAUSBILD - ZUKUNFT" is currently the eye-catcher in the Historischer Rathaussaal.

The epicurean presence of the Hessian metropolis is celebrated by a particularly spectacular action. Tischlein-deck-dich is the name of the participatory event that will take place on Pentecost Sunday. An endlessly long birthday table consisting of up to 800 beer table sets will be set up on a cordoned-off section of the B3 urban highway. For a small amount of money, such a table can be rented or bought, so that family, circle of friends, neighborhood, club, youth club, district municipality or institution can organize a creative event there, whether in the field of art, music, culinary arts, dance or games. As a birthday present for the city on its anniversary, this creates a colorful and varied program that can be enjoyed by the walking public free of charge - truly one more reason to come to Marburg.

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A treat - architectural highlights in Hesse

Hesse's cities are truly magical realms for architecture lovers. Those who stroll through the historic centers often find it impossible to escape their amazement. Magnificent buildings from a wide variety of eras and styles sparkle, each more beautiful than the next. Classicist magnificent palaces vie for attention with mighty Romanesque churches and splendid Art Nouveau buildings; each Hessian city offers very special highlights. Fulda, for example, is famous for its magnificent Baroque QuarterThe castle, the cathedral, the Paulustor and the elegant noble palaces have inspired cultural travelers since time immemorial. Buildings worth seeing from the Romanesque period can be found in many other Hessian destinations, for example the Limburg and Wetzlar cathedrals, St. Kilian's Chapel in Marburg or the Leonhard Church in Frankfurt am Main. 

There are plenty of magnificent buildings in the Renaissance style (such as the town halls of Wiesbaden or Bad Hersfeld) and Classicism (such as Wilhelmshöhe Palace), and many of them even have a lively contemporary connection; the Classicist city palace in the state capital, for example, is now the seat of the Hessian Parliament. Art Nouveau is of particular importance in the state. Darmstadt, for example, is considered Germany's cradle of "Art nouveau," and its artists' colony Mathildenhöhe, with its striking buildings such as the Hochzeitsturm (Wedding Tower), attracts thousands of creative people and fans. Also Bad Nauheim enchants with its opulent Art Nouveau spa facilities. And if you want to learn more about the history of the once revolutionary art movement, the Museum Wiesbaden with its magnificent collection of "Art Nouveau and Art Nouveau" just right.

Find more architectural highlights in Hessen here.

Cover photo: The exhibition "GILBERT & GEORGE. THE GREAT EXHIBITION" at the Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt © Schirn Kunsthalle Frankfurt 2021/Norbert Miguletz

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