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Leica World is an inspiring place for everyone who likes to take photos: You go on a time travel through the history of photography and can try out the shutter release yourself.

The black pane in the large panorama window of the Ernst Leitz Museum has a life of its own. If you approach the man-high object, the circular surface opens automatically so that you can easily see through it. If you step back, the opening closes a little more with each step. Forwards, backwards, forwards, backwards, that's fun, you inevitably get to play. And in this way, you also learn how the principle of an aperture works in photography. There are many amazing things to discover in the Leica world. The world-famous camera manufacturer has created a modern experience space for photography at Leitz Park in Wetzlar. It's a paradise for fans of the traditional brand, but the mix of exhibitions, product shows and interactive stations is also worthwhile for everyone else. You can learn a lot about the Leica company, which has helped shape the development of photography in its more than 150 years of company history and stands for a special and sophisticated image culture like probably no other brand.

On the Trail of the Leica Myth

You can see this for yourself right at the entrance to the company headquarters: in changing exhibitions, the Leica Gallery repeatedly shows outstanding works by internationally renowned photographers; even those who have made it to the finals of the prestigious Oskar Barnack Awards are exhibited. You can get up close to the Leica legend at the "36 out of 100": arranged like a 35mm film, Leica motifs that have made history are exhibited there - from Muhammad Ali's fists to a portrait of Che Guevara. Fans of high-quality camera technology also get their money's worth: As if on a journey through time, the development of Leica models can be traced as one walks along the display cases. More than 400 exhibits from over 100 years are on display here, including lenses, binoculars and night vision devices. The "milestones" are presented in eleven large black steles: eleven cameras whose technical innovations were particularly formative for photography, including the "Ur-Leica" from 1914 from the personal possession of Oskar Barnack, the inventor of the 35 mm camera. You can see how high-tech work is done at Leica today in the manufactory by watching the employees at work through three large windows as they perform their precision work. At the same time, each work step is explained in detail on a screen.

Try it out and take photos yourself

A challenge for the senses awaits on the second floor of the museum. In various experience rooms, optical phenomena are made tangible and basic rules of photography are taught: Focus, colors, light and shadow, image composition is also a topic. Guests can try out an interactive darkroom and set up various settings for a photo shoot, spotlight and wind machine included. There are virtually no limits to the amateur photographers' enthusiasm for experimentation. Pictures can be taken with your own smartphone or with one of the Leica cameras installed at all the effect stations. The photos can then be downloaded via the Leitz Park app. For a change of pace in between, visit Café Leitz in a small pavilion directly across the street: This has a small lunch menu and offers freshly prepared cakes. The latest products are available in the Leica Store, while the Leica Classic Store offers the purchase and sale of vintage products. Leica Welt is open daily from 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. A weekend package for two can also be booked, including an overnight stay at the Ernst Leitz Hotel and a VIP tour of Leica Welt.

Information about Leica World is available at www.leica-welt.com.

Here comes the art

Leica Welt is far from the only museum in Hesse that is anything but dusty. Here we show you five art museums that are really fun to visit:

Cover photo: In focus: At Leica World, everything revolves around the art of photography © Michael Agel

In collaboration with Hesse tourism

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!

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