Lower Saxony is a German state in the northwest of the country. Lower Saxony is in essence a rural state whose principal towns are Braunschweig and the state capital. Much of the state is low lying with borders on the North Sea. There are endless mud flats along the coast. There are sandy beaches and dunes offshore on the seven East Frisian Islands. These are a popular tourist destination. There are large expands of heath to the north near Lüneburg, a town famed for its medieval salt mines. An area of land called Altes Land (Old Country) on the banks of the lower Elbe is famed for its apple crop. It is a popular tourist destination in May when the orchards blossom. The land becomes more hilly towards the south where the state includes the mountain districts of Weserbergland and the Harz mountains.
Lower Saxony contains many historic towns.
Oldenburg in the north west of the state, used to be the seat of the Dukes of Oldenburg. Tourists can visit their palace and a late Gothic hall church in the town square. Oldenburg fell into decay following a major plague in 1667. In 1773 the town was restored in a Neo Classical style.
Hannover in the centre of the state, is famous for Baroque gardens and its museums of modern art
Thirty kilometres north of Hannover is the little town of Bückeburg. Until 1947 Bückeburg was the capital of the tiny principality of Schaumberg-Lippe. The castle of tThe Dukes of Schaumberg-Lippe dominates the town. Although it is still used as a private residence parts of the castle are open to the public. The Princely Mausoleum is the largest private sepulchre in use in the world today. It is crowned by the second largest golden copula, second only to the Hagia Sofia in Istanbul. The town church was the first Lutherian church to be built in Germany after the Reformation. It has a famous fantasy façade. The town also has a Helicopter Museum which contains sketches by Leonardo da Vinci.
Hildesheim lies 34 kilometres to the south of Hannover. It has the finest market square in Germany. The square is surrounded by four and five storey half timbered buildings. The town also contains two UNESCO World heritage Romanesque churches, these being the Michaeliskirche and the Dom St Maria. The town centre was completely destroyed by Allied bombing in March 1945 and has been restored.
Stadthagen is another little town within reach of Hannover. It lies 40 kilometres to the west. Stadthagen is the traditional home of the counts of Schaumberg. The town contains a Renaissance castle and a church with a Baroque mausoleum.
Braunschweig is also in the centre of the state. It is known Brunswick in English). It was once the capital of a medieval king called Henry the Lion. When the town was destroyed in the Second World War it was restored used a policy of Traditionsinsel. Small islands of historic reconstruction are surrounded by areas of modern development.
The largest castle in Lower Saxony is at Wolfenbüttel thirteen kilometres to the south of Braunschweig. It is an excellent place to explore. It also contains over 500 half timbered houses.
Among other towns Göttingen in the south is a lively university town, Osnabrück in the west has a fine cathedral. Celle has a fine Renaissance castle. Goslar is a charming half timbered town at the foot of the Haaz mountains. Wolfsburg is a modern town towards the east of the state. It is the famous production centre for the Volkswagen Beatle. The factory has a visitors centre. Einbeck in the south is known for beers.
The port cities of Bremen and Hamburg are usual. These are self governing city states inside the state of Lower Saxony. Bremen is a historic port on the River Weser. It has an old town and an historic cathedral. Hamburg, which is Germany’s second city contains architecture from a range of styles. The busy city docks extend right into the city centre.
Lower Saxony is the westernmost state in Germany. This means that it is highly accessible from the United Kingdom, either by air or by the many coach trips that now travel to the region.