Hanover's "little sister" charms visitors with an intriguing combination of tradition and modernity
The picturesque town of Celle is situated in Lower Saxony, about 40 km northeast of Hanover on the banks of the Aller river. With a population of just over 70,000, it is much smaller than its neigbour to the south but is a true gem for visitors of the region. "Celle likes to see itself as the dignified sister of Hanover," explains Marianne Krohn, head of Celle Tourism and Marketing GmbH, and due to its rich history and beauty, Celle can truly stand on its own.
The town always had close ties with the ducal House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, part of the Welf dynasty which included many German and British monarchs. The venerable Celle Castle is the oldest building in the town and one of the most beautiful of the Welf castles in Northern Germany. The four-winged building houses the Schlosstheater Celle, Germany's oldest Barock theatre with its own theatre company and an impressive chapel, the only one north of the Alps with completely preserved Renaissance interior.
The castle`s Residenzmuseum gives an insight into the history and tradition of the ducal House. "The history of the Welf dynasty connects Hanover and Celle," explains Krohn, "this will become very clear next year with a joint exhibition of the two cities, named When the Royals came from Hanover. Celle is also one of the most outstanding members of the German Timber-Frame Road, its lovely old town center displaying more than 400 timber-framed houses from different centuries. A lot of guests of the trade fairs in Hanover choose to stay in Celle while on business trips. Krohn sees the reason for this in the town's atmosphere: "The dignity and elegance of the town, far away from the bustle of the big cities and the mix of tradition and modern life."
Due to the excellent infrastructure, it takes visitors less than 45 mins to travel from the center of Hanover to Celle where they can visit one of the various museums, stroll through the French Garden, south of the old town or through the Castle Park which surrounds the ducal castle.
Another highlight of Celle's architecture and an example of the town's preservation of customs is the town church St. Marien. From the top of the tower, a Turmbläser, a tower trumpeter, is following an old tradition and performing a fanfare twice a day in each direction, dressed in a traditional outfit, keeping Celle's venerable customs and history alive.