There is a place in Lower Saxony with a young dynamic population and a beautiful old city centre called Göttingen. It is a university city and 45% of its inhabitants are between 18 to 30. The young population gives the city a special dynamic and a vivid atmosphere. The city centre was untouched during World War II and has kept its historic beauty. The combination makes Göttingen a city worth visiting. Read further to get more information about Göttingen in the south of Hanover and in the west of the Harz mountains, where you can ski and hike, if you prefer to do sport activities in the area .
A symbol for Göttingen is the Gaenseliesel. The famous statue stands on top of a fountain in the front of the town hall. It features a girl called Liesel (English: Elizabeth) herding geese (german: Gaense). ''The most kissed girl in the world" is situated on the main market square, which you can see in the cover picture. The rather small statue was erected in 1901 and became well-known, because of a student’s traditions. Freshly graduated doctoral students from the Georgia Augusta University Göttingen climb the fountain in order to give the Gaenseliesel kisses on her cheeks and to leave her flowers. This tradition is accompanied with celebrations on the market square. I was told that for chemistry doctoral students it is even more challenging, because friends, classmates or professors put gaseous nitrogen onto the fountain to make the climbing more difficult and more enjoyable for spectators. If you are lucky and coincidence serves you, you can witness a celebration. If not, imagination serves you well, too. The market square is also a vivid, highly enjoyable and beautiful place without celebrating students, and certainly it is calmer.
The city centre around the market square is a good place for strolling around. The half-timbered old houses give the city a charm like in Celle. The Kurze Straße (English: short street) is an especially beautiful example in the city centre for the typical architecture of the area. You can see the street in the following picture.
Stop in one of the cafés to have a coffee. A good place, just three minutes walking away from the Gaenseliesel and two from the Kurze Straße, is café birds. The establishment scores with fair prices and a good alternative atmosphere. They serve delicious cakes as well as a peach cheese cake.
Goettingen has not just one botanical garden like Brunswick does, but has three. The old, the experimental and the Forest Botanical Garden. They are quite different and all worth a visit if you are into plants, trees and flowers. The old botanical garden, as the name reveals, is the oldest one, founded in 1736. In the first place it serves biology students of Goettingen for their studies. Secondly it is accessible for locals and tourists for an interesting and relaxing time in a beautiful diverse garden.
The Forest Botanical Garden is very different from the first two mentioned. It is huge with 2000 species on about 40 hectares. The area is divided into different Arboretums. The sections are China, Japan, Korea, North America, Caucasus/ Asia Minor and Tertiary forest (Geopark). Strolling through the alleys of trees, seeing their diversity and getting to know which area they inhabit is both lovely and fascinating.
The experimental botanical garden is right next to the Forest Botanical Garden. Scientific research, plant cultivation for teaching, environmental education, conservation of threatened species and information for visitors are the main tasks of the garden. It is open daily without charge.
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