Celle, located in the region of Germany known as Niedersachsen or Lower Saxony, is a beautiful place awash in the warm tone of days gone by. Most of the structures here are historical, some more venerable and ancient than others, and there are entire streets filled with structures from the 1500s, 1600s, and beyond. Although Celle has too many historic buildings to describe, here are a few gems you shouldn’t miss as you trek through Germany and this lovely half-timber town.
House on Mauerstrasse. Along Mauerstrasse there is a double home constructed partially in the 1500s, partially in the 1600s. The colored wood panels and the etchings that name the past renovators of the home are of particular note. Although its history is unknown and no one is sure exactly what secrets it holds, this quaint house is interesting because it’s one of many pieces of Celle architecture that makes the city so intriguing. Though there are many historic homes on Mauerstrasse, this structure is noteworthy because of the historical information and dates painted on each side of the double home.
Hoppener House. The Hoppener House was built in the early 1530s and it’s easy to tell the original owner of this Celle beauty had quite a bit of money to spare. This old home on Poststrasse is beautifully decorated and is one of the most famous half-timber structures in Germany. Many arm-chair travelers have heard of and have seen pictures of the Hoppener House even if they’ve never actually been to Celle. Try to see it in person and you’ll get a real treat. The ‘modern-looking’ brick rests hand-in-hand with amazingly painted woodwork. There is also a store in the bottom level, mixing history and one of tourism’s favorite activities! The history and beauty of Germany is all wrapped up in this lovely home.
1526 House. This beauty is located on Zollnerstrasse. Germany-lovers who come to Celle will enjoy the striking sight of the 1526 house, which is significant not only for its quaint appearance but also for its title as the oldest structure in the town. Celle has many homes that share the beauty of this home but none have quite attained this venerable age. This is definitely a photo opportunity for anyone who wants to capture the true spirit of Celle. Even if you come to Celle on a tight schedule and don’t have time to see many other half-timber homes, make sure to see the 1526 House.
Rathaus. This is one of Celle’s biggest and most impressive structures; it dates from the late Middle Ages although parts of the building are much older. Many visitors are amused to discover that in Germany, ‘rathaus’ translates to “town hall”! The Rathaus is the old town hall but Celle also has a new town hall. Unfortunately, according to Celle’s official website, the Rathaus is being lovingly restored (per 2009) and much of the exterior will not be visible to the public eye. Check to see if the interior will be open to exploration. New Town Hall was once a barracks and was constructed in the 1800s. Though not as visually-appealing as Old Town Hall, it’s still a beautiful part of Celle history in its own way.
Old Synagogue. The old synagogue in Celle has an amazing and almost unbelievable history. During the days of Kristallnacht (the destruction of Jewish property many believe coincided with the birth pangs of the Holocaust) and the subsequent years of persecution, this synagogue somehow escaped destruction. It was constructed circa 1740 and has since been restored to its former glory. If you’ve come to Celle with an interest in Jewish history, the former concentration camp known as Bergen-Belsen is located near the town and was entwined with the history of the old synagogue (survivors once took refuge here). Since there are only a handful of pilgrimage sites such as Bergen-Belsen in Germany, it’s a definite recommendation.
Stadtkirche St. Marien. Germany is a land of beautiful and historically-significant churches and a spirit of Christianity that transcends the ages; Celle is no exception. The tower of the Stadtkirche (City Church) St. Marien (St. Mary) rises above the quaint and picturesque city like a shining beacon. The church dates from the Middle Ages and is a wonderful spiritual spot for those who enjoy a bit of peace on their travels throughout Germany. Don’t forget to see if visitors are allowed inside the church at the time of your visit. If not, St. Marien’s exterior provides many great photo opportunities.
Celle is definitely one part of Germany that it’s impossible to see only once; it will capture your heart like no city ever has before.