10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Brunswick
The old town of Braunschweig - better known to English speakers as Brunswick - is the second largest city in the Land of Lower Saxony on the River Oker. In the old town, a few enclaves of heritage buildings bear witness to the rich history of the town, while those areas destroyed in WWII have largely been rebuilt as close as possible to their original plans. Highlights of a visit include the old castle square and the cathedral, as well as numerous fascinating museums, tourist attractions, and festivals.
1 Cathedral of St. Blasius
The Romanesque and Gothic Cathedral of St. Blasius (Blaise), the earliest large vaulted building in Lower Saxony, was completed in 1175 during the reign of Henry the Lion. In the nave is the tomb of Henry and his wife Mathilde from 1250, a masterpiece of Late Romanesque sculpture of the Saxon school. In front of the choir, under a brass from 1707, Emperor Otto IV and his wife Beatrix are buried (Otto died in 1218). In the high choir with its Romanesque wall paintings is a four-and-a-half-meter-high, seven-branched candelabrum presented by Henry the Lion. The oldest and most important item in the cathedral is the Imerward Crucifix from 1150, a relic from the first cathedral built on the site. English language guided tours are available.
Address: Domplatz 5, 38100 Braunschweig
2 Burgplatz and the Brunswick Lion
In the heart of Brunswick lies the Burgplatz, probably the best place to begin your visit. Here you'll find the Cathedral of St. Blasius, as well as the lovely Burg Dankwarderode, a small castle built about 1175 by Henry the Lion (a two-story wing was added in 1887). In the center of the square is a magnificent bronze lion, presented by Henry the Lion in 1166 as a symbol of his power (the original is in the castle's museum). Another highlight is Huneborstelsches Haus, built in 1536 and now serving as a guildhall.
Address: Burgplatz, 38100 Braunschweig
3 Burg Dankwarderode
Completed in 1175, Burg Dankwarderode is a small castle in Burgplatz that was instigated by the legendary Henry the Lion, one of the most powerful of the German princes. It's a picturesque building, and notably devoid of defensive structures, as not long after completion, it was surrounded by other structures such as the cathedral. Today, the castle is home to the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, founded in 1754, with a fascinating permanent collection of medieval objects.
Address: Burgplatz 4, 38100 Braunschweig
4 The Old Town Market and Town Hall
Another public square worth exploring in Brunswick is the Old Town Market, or
Altstadtmarkt. Just a few minutes' walk southwest of the Burgplatz, the old market forms the heart of the town's former Hanseatic commercial town, having been used as a street market since the 11th century. A highlight of a visit is the beautiful Old Town Hall. This magnificent structure, built between the 13th and 15th centuries in Gothic style and originally used as a banquet hall, dominates the square and is particularly stunning when lit up at night. Other highlights include the Church of St. Martin (Martinikirche), built in 1195; the medieval Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) from 1591, the town's finest example of Renaissance architecture; and the picturesque 17th-century Stechinelli-Haus.
The large Hagenmarkt is another of Brunswick's old and once important market squares. Highlights include St. Catherine's Church (Katharinenkirche), a 12th-century Protestant church with a unique organ installed in 1980 using parts of an older Baroque organ dating from 1623. Outside is the Heinrichsbrunnen (Henry the Lion's Fountain) added in 1874 and commemorating the city's most famous prince. Another old market square of interest is the Coal Market (Kohlmarkt), which boasts numerous old heritage homes and a splendid 19th-century fountain.
6 The Magniviertel
At the heart of the cobblestoned Magniviertel quarter sits St. Magnus' Church (Magni-Kirche), a finely restored old Protestant church consecrated in 1031. In addition to its fine interior, check out the old graveyard where you'll find the tomb of the famous German writer and philosopher GE Lessing, buried here in 1781. Behind the church are the remains of a corner of the oldest part of Braunschweig with its many fine half-timbered houses. In stark contrast is the Dr. Seuss-like Rizzi-Haus with its outlandish, yet fascinating architectural lines (or lack thereof) and bright, multi-colored exterior. Afterwards, be sure to visit the many quaint little boutique shops and galleries, as well as the cafés and restaurants dotted around these lovely old streets.
7 Schloss Richmond
A must see in Brunswick is Schloss Richmond, or Richmond Castle. Constructed in 1769 near the banks of the Oker River, this perfect little palace was named after Princess Augusta's former home in Richmond Park, England. Designed in the Baroque style, its lovely façade is split into differently decorated sections, ensuring visitors a pleasing view from any angle. Now owned by the city, it and the four-acre castle grounds provide a wonderful way to spend a few hours, especially if open for an event or concert.
8 Staatstheater Braunschweig
Another of Braunschweig's lovely older buildings is the Staatstheater, or State Theater. Able to trace its roots back as far as 1690, the theater is perhaps best known for having been where Johann Wolfgang von Goethe's most famous work, Faust, was premiered in the early 1800s.
Address: Am Theater, 38100 Braunschweig
9 Riddagshausen Abbey
In Brunswick's eastern Riddagshausen suburb, beyond the Prinz-Albrecht-Park, is a notable church belonging to a former 13th-century Cistercian monastery. Founded by a courtesan to Henry the Lion in 1145, the abbey remained an important religious community until it was dissolved in 1809. Worthy of a visit for its surviving church and gatehouse, which houses the Cistercian Museum, it's also a good place from which to explore the nearby Riddagshausen Nature Reserve, especially if you enjoy scenic country walks and hiking.
10 Naturhistorisches Museum
The Natural History Museum in Braunschweig - the Naturhistorisches Museum - lies near the city's University of Technology. Founded in 1754, highlights of its many interesting exhibits include displays of dinosaurs, birds, and sea creatures. All told, the museum's collections include more than 3,000 mammal specimens, 50,000 birds (and eggs), as well as numerous skeletons and fossils. A large aquarium is also onsite and includes many exotic species of fish and crustaceans.
Address: Pockelsstraße 10, 38106 Braunschweig