Hessen

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Home Page > Travelogues > Germany > Hessen (Hesse)

Quick Access for this Page -- [ Introduction ] [ Travelogues ] [ Links ]

Click on the colored areas of the map to access a travelogue.  The colors indicate different regions of Hessen -- scroll down for explanation and introduction for each location. (Original map comes from the CIA World Factbook, inset map comes from www.entry.de)

IntroductionHessen was rebuilt from the ashes of World War II, which sawGermany a number of its prominent cities heavily shelled.  It was a modernized region, with continental Europe's premier airport at Frankfurt am Main.  But its ties to the past remained very strong, with loads of Renaissance and Baroque architecture scattered in the region, and it also enjoyed a tiny portion of Germany's Rhineland wine country.  The dominant architecture of the region was half-timber, particularly in some of the older towns (sadly, the State of Hessenwar took too much of it away from the cities).

I will admit that I did far less of Hessen than I wished, it was just a matter of time available more than anything else.  Each time I traveled through Hessen, I found gorgeous castles on hills, lovely river valleys, and other features that begged for me to visit.  For example, it was during the train ride home from Kassel (where I saw the wonderful Wilmhelmshöhe Castle) that I spied Marburg, thereby immediately planning my next trip to the region.

The other locations in this sections -- Darmstadt, Wiesbaden, Rüdesheim, and the towns of the Odenwald -- would be familiar to many Americans as they have significant American expatriate populations or were popular among ex-pat tourists.  On my "list" are a number of cities that have well-preserved half-timbered downtowns, including Fritzlar in the north and Wetzlar in the south, and other castles along the south such as the Burg Auerbach that hosted regular medieval festivals.  There were also several beautiful towns along the Hessian part of the Main before reaching Aschaffenburg in Bayern.

Travelogues.  

PURPLE:  Along the Rhein River.  Hessen only owned a small stretch of the Rhein River banks, but what a wonderful part of Hessen it was.  Easily Ruedesheim's Drosselgasseone of Hessen's best known destinations was Rüdesheim (pictured), sitting at a sharp bend in the Rhein as it wound northward into wine country.  This city had loads of wine bars and markets, plus a chairlift to the massive memorial known as the Niederwalddenkmal.  Meanwhile, the Roman bath city of Wiesbaden, also Hessen's capital, was just off the confluence of the Rhein and Main Rivers. BLUE:  KASSEL (4 Chapters).  I used to label this section Fairy Tale Country because northern Hessen was the source of many well-known Fairy TaHerkules Monument above Kasselles, and the city of Kassel was one of the places where the Brothers Grimm assembled and published a collection of them (they also were the founders of the single modern German language, too).  The Kassel travelogue has a chapter on the huge Schloss Wilhelmshoehe (pictured) with its Hercules monument and many waterfalls.  There are also chapters on Downtown Kassel with the Brothers Grimm museum and the city's many parks along the Fulda River.
RED:  The Commercial Heartland.  The Main River cut across southern Hessen, and was the commercial and industrial heart of the region.  The travelogues Frankfurt am Mainhere focused on two large cities on or near the Main that blossomed during the post-War years.  Frankfurt am Main (pictured) was certainly the best known in the area, with its huge international airport, glass-and-steel skyscrapers, and immense market squares.  Anyone doing business in Germany was likely to spend time here.  Meanwhile, just to the south was Darmstadt, a city with a tremendous amount of ex-pat influence. GREEN:  Bergstrasse and the Odenwald.  The southeastern part of Hessen was high forest sitting above the Rhein and Main valleys.  This was a very beautiful part of Germany, with small towns nestled in steep valleys, colorful palaces Michelstadt in the Odenwaldalong flowered streams throughout and beautiful castle towns.  Four travelogues are offered here -- the forest towns of Erbach and Michelstadt (pictured), the Bergstrasse town of Heppenheim and the monastery village of Lorsch.  The first was dominated with a huge palace in the center of town, the second was a walled town with a very unique stilted town hall and charming cobblestoned streets.
TEAL:  The Fulda Gap.The Fulda Gap region in eastern Hessen was once where soldiers from the Point Alpha Museum (11th Cavalry Monument) US and Soviet Union stood in close proximity.  This frontier of the Cold War was remembered through the Point Alpha Museum (pictured), split between the towns of Rasdorf in the west and Geisa in the east.  Nearby was the prominent baroque city of Fulda with its gorgeous residential palace and huge domed Cathedral.   BLACK:  The Neckar River Valley.  There are two locations in Hessen on the Burgstrasse --  the View of Neckarsteinach four-castle town of Neckarsteinach (shown) was given its own travelogue here, while the adjacent castle town of Hirschhorn was lumped together in the Neckar River Photo Gallery in the Baden-Wuerttemberg section.  Like many towns on the Neckar, Neckarsteinach and Hirschhorn were lovely river towns with lots of charm and beautiful castles and manors perched high on the riverbanks.  
ORANGE:  The Lahn Valley.  The Lahn was a small tributary of the Rhine that flowed through Hessen.  Included here was Marburg (pictured) with its beautiful Markgrafenschloss perched on a high hilltopped downtown overlooking half-timbered market streets on the Lahn River.  Also included is the cliffside city of Limburg am Lahn further west, with its colorful cathedral and tight winding inclined streets.  

LinksThe below links connect you to external sites in a new window.  All links are official sites sanctioned by the national, state, or local governments unless otherwise indicated.  These links will open to the German-language home page, which will offer an icon or link to an English-language section (normally limited content).  Most of these pages use a British or US flag icon as the link to English content, while others will use the word "English".  Otherwise, look for "tourismus" which should link you to English-language content.  Links updated 15 January 2006.

Country Links:

bullet US Embassy to Germany
bullet US Consular Sheet for Germany 
bullet Germany Embassy to US 

 

State and Regional Links:

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Hessen Tourism Page 

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Germany's Fairy Tale Road  

 

City and Town Links:

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Darmstadt Home Page (in German)

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Erbach Home Page (in German)

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Frankfurt am Main Home Page

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Fulda Home Page

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Heppenheim Home Page (in German)

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Hirschhorn Home Page (in German)

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Kassel Home Page 

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Limburg an der Lahn Home Page (in German)

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Lorsch Home Page (in German)

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Marburg am Lahn Home Page 

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Michelstadt Home Page

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Neckarsteinach Home Page (in German)

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Rasdorf Home Page

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Rüdesheim Home Page 

bullet Wiesbaden Home Page 

 

 

   
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