The baroque garden and park ensemble of Herrenhausen in Hannover is a remarkable example of the traditional art of landscape gardening.
The baroque garden ensemble, one of the greatest and most beautiful in Germany, was founded in 1666 by Duke Johann Friedrich of Calenberg. Its preservation and further development are owed mainly to one remarkable woman: Sophie, princess-elect of Hannover and mother of the first “Hanoveranian” on the English throne, was of English descent and needed a garden. And so the baroque ensemble was created, with trees, hedges, numerous special and model gardens, a great fountain with surrounding waterworks, mace garden, open air theatre, many statues and sculptures, cascades, a grotto and a palace (destroyed in 1943), gallery and orangery buildings. In 1936 the Great Garden was restored after being placed under Hannover’s municipal administration.
Today, even without the palace, it is one of the city’s most popular attractions, with its garden festivals, the baroque fireworks and theatre performances during the summer months.
To the north of the Great Garden we find the Berggarten (the Rock Garden), which used to be the utility or herbal garden for the court. Later it became a botanical garden. The mausoleum in the middle of the garden, built by the noted architect Laves, is the last resting place of the members of Hannover’s royal family. A great collection of rare and exotic plants can be found in the greenhouses of the Rock Garden. You can see there not only the largest European collection of orchids, but also one of the most impressive cactus displays of its kind.
You can drive or take a Strassenbahn (tram) if you want to go to the Great Garden from Hannover’s city centre. Or you might try an alternative way preferred by many: a walk through the Georgengarten. To the left and right of a two kilometre long lime tree alley lies this grand park with its old trees, green spaces and peaceful places. It is very different from the Great Garden, based strictly upon French and Dutch examples of landscape gardening design, or the Rock Garden, redesigned as a botanical garden. All three together make up a garden ensemble without comparison in entire Germany