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Kassel Tourist Attractions

Museum FridericianumMuseum Fridericianum
Kassel, the cultural, economic and administrative center of northern Hesse, is delightfully situated at the foot of the Habichtswald in a basin in the Fulda valley. Numerous cultural establishments (including a Gesamthochschule, or comprehensive higher educational establishment) and official agencies (Federal Labor Court, Federal Social Court) are based here. In the artistic field Kassel is noted for its avant-garde "documenta" exhibitions. Within the city limits is Wilhelmshöhe, a popular health resort (Kneipp cure).

Museum Fridericianum

On the northeast side of Friedrichsplatz in Kassel is the Museum Fridericianum, a neo-classical building (by Simon Louis du Ry, 1769-79) which since 1955 has housed the "documenta" exhibition of modern art, held every few years.
On the southeast side of the square stands the Staatstheater (1958-59; opera, ballet, drama).
Address: Friedrichsplatz 18, D-34117 Kassel, Germany

Natural History Museum

To the north of the Theater in Kassel, in the Ottoneum (16th C.), the oldest permanent theater in Germany, is the Natural History Museum.
Address: Steinweg 2, D-34117 Kassel, Germany

Karlsaue

To the south of the Theater in Kassel, on the banks of the Fulda, lies the Karlsaue, a beautiful wooded park (area 160 hectares/400 acres) in which are the Orangery (1701-11; used for part of the "documenta" exhibitions), the Marble Baths, a sumptuous structure built in 1720 to the design of the sculptor Pierre Etienne Monot, and the flower-covered island of Siebenbergen. To the east extends Fulda-Aue, a popular recreation area (bathing and wind-surfing; regatta course).

Torwache

In Kassel's Brüder-Grimm-Platz, at the end of the Obere Königsstrasse, is the Torwache (now used for exhibitions), the home from 1814 to 1822 of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm, world-famed for their collection of folk tales and fairy tales and for their great German dictionary (completed only in 1971).

Hessian Provincial Museum

On the south side of Kassel's Brüder-Grimm-Platz are the Hessian Provincial Museum (medieval tapestries, applied and decorative art, etc.) and the German Wallpaper Museum (Tapetenmuseum).

Hessian Provincial Library

Behind the Landesmuseum in Kassel, to the southeast, can be found the Hessian Provincial Library, which counts among its treasures a manuscript of the medieval "Hildebrandslied", written in Fulda monastery about 800.

Grimm Brothers Museum

A little way east east of the Provincial Library in Kassel, at Schöne Aussicht 2, stands the Palais Bellevue, with a museum devoted to the Grimm brothers (working copies of the fairy tales, scholarly works, letters, translations of the tales into many languages). Facing it, to the southwest, is the Neue Galerie (painting and sculpture since 1750).
Address: Schöne Aussicht 2, D-34117 Kassel, Germany

Ständeplatz

From the Town Hall in Kassel, Friedrichstrasse (pedestrian zone) runs northwest to the long narrow Ständeplatz, with the Municipal Museum (Stadtmuseum) and a number of modern high-rise blocks.

Obere Königsstrasse

The main shopping and business street of Kassel is the Obere Königsstrasse (pedestrian zone), which runs southwest from Königsplatz, past Friedrichsplatz, to Brüder-Grimm-Platz. Near the southwest end of the street is the Town Hall (Rathaus; 1905-09).

Wilhelmshöhe

From Brüder-Grimm-Platz in Kassel the Wilhelmshöher Allee leads in a dead straight line for 5km/3mi to the outlying district of Wilhelmshöhe, a health resort and spa (Kneipp cure).

Schloss Wilhelmshöhe

The neo-classical Schloss Wilhelmshöhe, near Kassel, was built for Landgrave William IX (later Elector William I) by Simon Louis du Ry and Heinrich Christoph Jussow (1786-1801). From 1807 to 1813 it was the residence of Jérôme Bonaparte, appointed king of Westphalia by Napoleon. Napoleon III of France was lodged here in 1871 after his capture at Sedan, and it later became a summer residence of the Emperor William II.

State Art Collections

The palace in Wilhelmshöhe, near Kassel, with a sumptuously appointed interior, now houses the State Art Collections and the Schlossmuseum. The State Art Collections include the fine Gallery of Old Masters, the nucleus of which was a collection assembled by Landgrave William VIII (many works by Dutch painters, including 17 Rembrandts and 11 van Dycks; Italian and Spanish paintings), a Print Cabinet, and collections of classical and prehistoric antiquities. The Schlossmuseum displays furniture, glass and ceramics.
Address: Brüder-Grimm-Platz 5, D-34117 Kassel, Germany

Bergpark

On the eastern slopes of the Habichtswald in Wilhelmshöhe, near Kassel, lies the Bergpark, described by the great art historian Georg Dehio as "perhaps the most magnificent achievement of the Baroque style in the blending of architecture and landscape".

Kurhessen-Therme

At the entrance to the Bergpark in Wilhelmshöhe, near Kassel, are the Kurhessen-Therme (Baths), designed for sport and recreation (brine baths; indoor and outdoor swimming pools; water-chute; entertainment facilities, etc.).

Löwenburg

Southwest of the Schloss Wilhelmshöhe near Kassel can be seen the Löwenburg, an artificial ruin built in 1793-97 (pictures and old furniture in interior).

Fountains and Cascades

On the west side of the Bergpark near Kassel are the Grosse Fontäne (Great Fountain; 53 m/174ft), artificial waterfalls and cascades. On the highest point on the hill (525 m/1,723ft) stands the Octagon, with a 32 m/105ft high column topped by an 8 m/26ft high figure of Hercules with his club (which can accommodate eight people). The park is particularly impressive on summer evenings when the fountain, the cascades and the figure of Hercules are illuminated.

Surroundings

Schloss Wilhelmsthal

11km/7mi northwest of Kassel is Schloss Wilhelmsthal, built by Francois de Cuvilliés in 1753-67 as a summer residence for the Elector. It is one of the most charming Rococo palaces in Germany, with a sumptuous interior (including a Gallery of Beauty, with paintings by Johann Heinrich Tischbein).

Oberkaufungen, Germany

In Oberkaufungen, 11km/7mi east of Kassel, can be seen a church which belonged to a Benedictine convent founded in 1017 by the Empress Kunigunde, wife of Henry II.

Fritzlar, Germany

25km/15mi southwest of Kassel lies the town of Fritzlar (pop. 15,000), situated above the left bank of the Eder.
With some 450 half-timbered buildings, Fritzlar has preserved much of its medieval aspect. In the Hochzeitshaus (Marriage House; c. 1580) is a Regional Museum (prehistoric antiquities, history of the town, collection of stoves).
On the highest point in the town stands the twin-towered Cathedral of St Peter (12th-14th C.). In the crypt is the Late Gothic tomb of St Wigbert, first abbot of Fritzlar. Also of interest are the 14th century cloister, the rich Treasury, the Cathedral Museum and the Cathedral Library (manuscripts of the eighth-17th centuries, incunabula).

Hofgeismar, Germany

Some 23km/14mi north of Kassel on the Deutsche Märchenstrasse (German Fairy Tale Route) is Hofgeismar (pop. 15,000).
The old town with its handsome half-timbered houses is still largely surrounded by its ring of walls. The Romanesque and Gothic Altstädter Kirche (Old Town Church) has a beautiful Passion Altar (c. 1335). In the Town Hall is the Municipal Museum (prehistory and the early historical period, history of the town and garrison, treasury of silver, ceramics). Nearby, in Apothekenstrasse, is the Pharmacy Museum (Apothekenmuseum).
In the former Kurpark, northeast of the town, are the Gesundbrunnen, a chalybeate mineral spring housed in a classical temple, and the little neo-classical Schloss Schönburg.
The Fairy Tale Route continues northeast through the Reinhardswald to the outlying district of Sababurg. On a basalt cone can be seen the ruins of a hunting lodge built in the late 15th C., which is famed as the setting of one of the Grimm brothers' fairy tales. Below it is a game park, with a Museum of Forestry and Hunting.

Sleeping Beauty, Sababurg

The small town of Sababurg is home of the Briar Rose Castle which is best known for being the home of 'Sleeping Beauty' from the tales of the Brothers' Grimm. Today, the castle is home to a theater, concert hall and gallery within a respected castle hotel.

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