Herrenhausen Gardens
The Herrenhausen Gardens , located in Lower Saxony's
Lower Saxony
Lower Saxony is a German state situated in north-western Germany and is second in area and fourth in population among the sixteen states of Germany...

 capital of Hanover
Hanover or Hannover, on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony , Germany and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of Great Britain, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg...

 are made up of the Great Garden (Großer Garten), the Berggarten, the Georgengarten
The Georgengarten is a landscape garden in the northwestern borough of Herrenhausen of the German city Hanover. It is a part of Herrenhausen Gardens.-History:...

and the Welfengarten. The gardens are a heritage of the Kings of Hanover.

The Great Garden has always been one of the most distinguished baroque formal gardens of Europe while the Berggarten has been transformed over the years from a simple vegetable garden into a large botanical garden with its own attractions. Both the Georgengarten and the Welfengarten have been made in the style of English garden
English garden
The English garden, also called English landscape park , is a style of Landscape garden which emerged in England in the early 18th century, and spread across Europe, replacing the more formal, symmetrical Garden à la française of the 17th century as the principal gardening style of Europe. The...

s, and both are considered popular recreation areas for the residents of Hanover. The history of the gardens spans several centuries, and they remain a popular attraction to this day.

The Great Garden

The Great Garden owes much of its aesthetics
Aesthetics is a branch of philosophy dealing with the nature of beauty, art, and taste, and with the creation and appreciation of beauty. It is more scientifically defined as the study of sensory or sensori-emotional values, sometimes called judgments of sentiment and taste...

 to Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of the Palatinate was an heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later the crown of Great Britain. She was declared heiress presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701...

, who commissioned the French gardener Martin Charbonnier. As its name implies, it is indeed a large garden, comprising 50 hectares of lawns, hedges, walkways, and statues arranged in strict geometrical patterns. The centerpiece of the garden was once the Herrenhausen Castle, which suffered immense damage during World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 (the Royal Air Force were requested by the British Royal Family not to attack the Castle, but in fact it was hit by bombs during an air raid in 1943). The castle's ruins were almost completely torn down after the war; the outside staircase once leading up to the castle's entrance was salvaged from the debris and moved next to the Orangerie building where it can be seen today. In 2009, it was decided to rebuild the castle. The work is scheduled to be completed by 2012.

Every summer, the Great Garden plays host a large variety of festivals. The "Festival of Small Arts" (Kleinkunstfestival) takes place over several days and offers wide range of artistic displays, and the "Small Festival in the Great Garden" (Kleines Fest im Großen Garten) has become firmly entrenched as a highlight of the "Festival Week Herrenhausen" (Festwochen Herrenhausen). Lastly, the garden is the site of an international fireworks
Fireworks are a class of explosive pyrotechnic devices used for aesthetic and entertainment purposes. The most common use of a firework is as part of a fireworks display. A fireworks event is a display of the effects produced by firework devices...

 competition which evolved from a local attraction.

The "State Stage of Hanover" (Landesbühne Hannover) uses the Garden Theater of the Great Garden during the summer for both musicals and other theatrical performances. Similarly, the building that houses the garden's orangery
An orangery was a building in the grounds of fashionable residences from the 17th to the 19th centuries and given a classicising architectural form. The orangery was similar to a greenhouse or conservatory...

 is utilized for both art exhibits and performances of classical music; matinee performances are presented in the foyer
A foyer or lobby is a large, vast room or complex of rooms adjacent to the auditorium...

. The focal point of the garden is the Great Fountain which can, with optimal weather conditions, reach a maximum height of 80 meters. The original fountain was based on ideas of Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Leibniz
Gottfried Wilhelm Leibniz was a German philosopher and mathematician. He wrote in different languages, primarily in Latin , French and German ....

 and was inaugurated in 1719 during the visit of George I
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

. In 1721, it reached a height of some 35 m which made it the highest fountain in European courts. The fountain and its pumping works were renewed in 1860.

The Great Garden is also the site of one of the last works of the artist Niki de Saint Phalle
Niki de Saint Phalle
Niki de Saint Phalle, born Catherine-Marie-Agnès-Brandon Fal de Saint Phalle was a French sculptor, painter, and film maker.-The early years:...

. She modified the three-roomed grotto in the northwestern section of the garden, which had served as a store room in the eighteenth century, by adding various items, including crystal
A crystal or crystalline solid is a solid material whose constituent atoms, molecules, or ions are arranged in an orderly repeating pattern extending in all three spatial dimensions. The scientific study of crystals and crystal formation is known as crystallography...

s, mineral
A mineral is a naturally occurring solid chemical substance formed through biogeochemical processes, having characteristic chemical composition, highly ordered atomic structure, and specific physical properties. By comparison, a rock is an aggregate of minerals and/or mineraloids and does not...

s, glass
Glass is an amorphous solid material. Glasses are typically brittle and optically transparent.The most familiar type of glass, used for centuries in windows and drinking vessels, is soda-lime glass, composed of about 75% silica plus Na2O, CaO, and several minor additives...

 and seashells. Between 2001 and 2003, when the exhibit opened, de Saint Phalle and her coworkers covered the walls and interior with mosaic
Mosaic is the art of creating images with an assemblage of small pieces of colored glass, stone, or other materials. It may be a technique of decorative art, an aspect of interior decoration, or of cultural and spiritual significance as in a cathedral...

s of molded glass and mirrors. Two rooms branch off from the octagon-shaped central room, and on the front wall of each of them is a statue set within a small recession in the wall. De Saint Phalle's intention for this exhibit was that the visitors could use the grotto as a cool retreat on hot summer days while at the same time being enchanted by the decorations.

The Berggarten

The Berggarten was created in 1666 as a vegetable garden for the Great Garden on a hill north of the Herrenhäuser Castle. Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of Hanover
Sophia of the Palatinate was an heiress to the crowns of England and Ireland and later the crown of Great Britain. She was declared heiress presumptive by the Act of Settlement 1701...

 later transformed the Berggarten into a garden for exotic plants, and in 1686 a conservatory
Conservatory (greenhouse)
A conservatory is a room having glass roof and walls, typically attached to a house on only one side, used as a greenhouse or a sunroom...

 was erected.

The garden once served more than an aesthetic purpose - it was used to experiment with the breeding of plants normally native to southern lands in the northern climate of Lower Saxony. This experiment failed in its attempts to grow rice
Rice is the seed of the monocot plants Oryza sativa or Oryza glaberrima . As a cereal grain, it is the most important staple food for a large part of the world's human population, especially in East Asia, Southeast Asia, South Asia, the Middle East, and the West Indies...

, but was successful with some other plants such as tobacco
Tobacco is an agricultural product processed from the leaves of plants in the genus Nicotiana. It can be consumed, used as a pesticide and, in the form of nicotine tartrate, used in some medicines...

 and mulberry
Morus is a genus of flowering plants in the family Moraceae. The 10–16 species of deciduous trees it contains are commonly known as Mulberries....

. As a result, the silkworms located in the nearby city of Hamelin
Hamelin is a town on the river Weser in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district of Hamelin-Pyrmont and has a population of 58,696 ....

 which were used in production of royal silk began to be fed with Herrenhäuser mulberry leaves in 1706. However, this experiment did not pay off long-term: in 1750 the Küchengarten in the neighboring city of Linden (now a district of the city of Hanover) took over the job of supporting the aristocracy with produce, and the Berggarten has since been exclusively a botanical garden.

Between 1817 and 1820, a caretaker's
Property caretaker
A Property caretaker is a person, group or organization that cares for real estate for trade or financial compensation, and sometimes as a barter for rent-free living accommodations...

 hut was built on the garden's grounds. In 1846, work began on the "Palm-house" (Palmenhaus), a conservatory designed by architect Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves
Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves
Georg Ludwig Friedrich Laves was a German architect, civil engineer and urban planner. Born in Uslar, Lower Saxony, he lived and worked most time in the city of Hanover and also died there...

 and containing, as the name implies, palm trees. Within five years of its completion in 1849, the building housed the most valuable and extensive collection of palms in all of Europe. Work on the garden's mausoleum
A mausoleum is an external free-standing building constructed as a monument enclosing the interment space or burial chamber of a deceased person or persons. A monument without the interment is a cenotaph. A mausoleum may be considered a type of tomb or the tomb may be considered to be within the...

, also designed by Laves, lasted from 1842 to 1847; King Ernest Augustus I
Ernest Augustus I of Hanover
Ernest Augustus I was King of Hanover from 20 June 1837 until his death. He was the fifth son and eighth child of George III, who reigned in both the United Kingdom and Hanover...

, who died one year after completion, was interred there with his wife Queen Frederica. It was also around this time (1845 to 1846) that walls and fences were added in order to make the Berggarten more secluded. In 1880, a larger building for the palm collection was built. Taking the form of a roughly 30 meter tall palace-like structure, the greenhouse - built out of glass and steel - houses both galleries and decorative fountains and replaced the previous Palmenhaus. Much of the garden had to be rebuilt bit by bit after British
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

 air raids
Strategic bombing
Strategic bombing is a military strategy used in a total war with the goal of defeating an enemy nation-state by destroying its economic ability and public will to wage war rather than destroying its land or naval forces...

 destroyed much of the city in World War II. In 1952, the Garden Library - which now houses the garden's management - was built, and in 1957, further members of the Royal Family of Hanover were interred in the garden's mausoleum due to the rebuilding of the Leineschloss
The Leineschloss , situated on the Leine in Hanover, Germany, is the former residence of the Hanoverian kings and the current seat of the Landtag of Lower Saxony....

. The year 2000 saw the completion of a brand new "Rainforest
Rainforests are forests characterized by high rainfall, with definitions based on a minimum normal annual rainfall of 1750-2000 mm...

-house (Regenwaldhaus), partially as a replacement for the legendary Palmenhaus (which was demolished in 1950) and partially for the Expo
World's Fair
World's fair, World fair, Universal Exposition, and World Expo are various large public exhibitions held in different parts of the world. The first Expo was held in The Crystal Palace in Hyde Park, London, United Kingdom, in 1851, under the title "Great Exhibition of the Works of Industry of All...

 2000. Inside is a tropical landscape
The tropics is a region of the Earth surrounding the Equator. It is limited in latitude by the Tropic of Cancer in the northern hemisphere at approximately  N and the Tropic of Capricorn in the southern hemisphere at  S; these latitudes correspond to the axial tilt of the Earth...

 containing more than plants - different species of tropical butterflies and birds were also incorporated into the environment. Further exhibits of the building include several displays themed gardens.


The Welfengarten makes up the grounds of the University of Hanover, as the university now uses the castle at the garden's centre - Welfenschloss - as its main building. Before the construction on the castle was completed, Hanover was annexed
Annexation is the de jure incorporation of some territory into another geo-political entity . Usually, it is implied that the territory and population being annexed is the smaller, more peripheral, and weaker of the two merging entities, barring physical size...

 by Prussia
Prussia was a German kingdom and historic state originating out of the Duchy of Prussia and the Margraviate of Brandenburg. For centuries, the House of Hohenzollern ruled Prussia, successfully expanding its size by way of an unusually well-organized and effective army. Prussia shaped the history...

. In the following years - specifically from 1857 to 1866 – the building was rebuilt in its present form.

In front of the building is a bronze
Bronze is a metal alloy consisting primarily of copper, usually with tin as the main additive. It is hard and brittle, and it was particularly significant in antiquity, so much so that the Bronze Age was named after the metal...

 sculpture of the "Lower Saxony Steed" (Niedersachsenross) – the heraldic animal found on the coat of arms
Coat of arms
A coat of arms is a unique heraldic design on a shield or escutcheon or on a surcoat or tabard used to cover and protect armour and to identify the wearer. Thus the term is often stated as "coat-armour", because it was anciently displayed on the front of a coat of cloth...

 of Lower Saxony. The Welfengarten, like the other gardens, was also destroyed during the Second World War, but it was rebuilt specifically as the campus of the university. Although the University has occupied the castle since 1879, it was not until 1961 that the Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Prince of Hanover (Herzog zu Braunschweig-Lüneburg, Prinzen von Hannover), sold the plot of land on which the castle stood to the city of Hanover. He kept however the Princely Palace (Fürstenhaus), located near the destroyed castle of the Great Garden, for himself. His grandson Prince Ernst August of Hanover
Prince Ernst August of Hanover
Prince Ernst August of Hanover, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg is the elder son and heir apparent of Ernst August V, Prince of Hanover and his former wife Chantal Hochuli.-Life:Ernst August was...

 is now using it as his private residence when in Germany. The elaborate museum in this small palace, built by king George I of Great Britain
George I of Great Britain
George I was King of Great Britain and Ireland from 1 August 1714 until his death, and ruler of the Duchy and Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg in the Holy Roman Empire from 1698....

in 1720, has recently been closed.

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