HANNOVER: If you paid attention to your history lessons in school, you would know that in 1786, Francis Light arrived in Penang and founded George Town.
The settlement was named after King George III of Great Britain, who was from the then-ruling House of Hannover.
This royal house originated from the similarly named German city of Hannover, located in modern-day northwestern Germany.
Should you visit Hannover someday, one place you ought to visit is the Herrenhausen Garten, the royal garden of the Hanoverian kings.
Situated in the northwestern part of the city, Herrenhausen is considered to be among Europe’s best-preserved gardens from the 18th century Baroque era.
It remains open most times of the year, though the garden is most beautiful in summer. Visiting during winter guarantees cheaper tickets though!
Before marching out into the gardens, be sure to visit the Herrenhausen Palace Museum, accessible through the gift shop.
This is a good place to start your trip as it gives context and insight into the historical value of Herrenhausen and the city of Hannover.
Apparently, the palace had started off as a humble summer residence for the Hanoverian royals, before being expanded in the 1670s.
Ironically, the palace would be destroyed by British bombs in the Second World War, with the current structure being a recent reconstruction.
The surrounding gardens, on the other hand, were the brainchild of Princess Sophia, who was inspired by the famous royal gardens of Versailles in France.
Under her instructions, the garden grew to encompass a little over 20 hectares of land, featuring rows of magnificent trees and just as many beautiful flowers.
The main attraction is the garden itself, which offers many spectacular views for the photographer in you to capture.
With how vast the gardens are, you are likely to spend up to two hours here, exploring the whole maze of a place.
Aside from trees and flowers, the buildings are worthy of a visit as well, even if the interiors are off-limits to most visitors.
The gardens are home to many 18th century statues of Greek and Roman mythological characters.
If trees, flowers and statues are not really your thing, perhaps another attraction on the other side of Hannover may be to your tastes.
Despite its name, the Neues Rathaus has no rodents in it, as far as the eye can see at least. It simply means “New Town Hall” and it is an apt description.
From the Herrenhausen Garten, it’s a 15-minute drive to the Neues Rathaus, conveniently located close to the city’s major museums.
“New” as it is, this historical building has actually dominated the city’s skyline for over a century now, having been completed in 1913.
This is the current administrative building of the city, having replaced the still-standing Old Town Hall built in medieval times.
It is quite the magnificent building, and can easily be mistaken for a palace of sorts. Quite appropriate, given that it apparently cost about 10 million deutschmarks (RM26 million today) to build.
For aspiring architects, a trip here will likely be a productive one as this is a genuinely beautiful place, with both the exterior and interior being awe-inspiring.
In the central area, statues of important figures stare down at visitors walking through the halls, which are decorated with reliefs depicting the everyday activities of Hanoverians.
This central area also houses four sets of city dioramas, one depicting the city in its medieval form, then the pre-war years, the war years and modern-day Hannover.
Most visitors to the Rathaus would take the opportunity to visit the viewing platform at the top of the dome. It is closed in winter.
This platform is accessible by a uniquely curved elevator, and once you get to the top, you will be treated to a panoramic view of Hannover.
Just behind the town hall is a beautiful lake and park, where one can enjoy an evening walk, or just rest after a tiring day of sightseeing.