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Published: November 8th 2008
HANAU am Main #1
Road sign when you enter the city
This is my second visit to Germany this year. I spent two weeks in Hanau in March and one whole month in October. The second time round I had a camera in working order!
Visiting Europe in autumn is a colorful experience. For a few weeks in October, green trees and shrubs in the middle of towns turn bright yellow, red and brown. The leaves slowly fall like snow on the pavements. I enjoy shuffling my feet through the heaps of colorful leaves and seeing them dance in a shuffle-shuffle sound.
HANAU on the river Main in Germany is a great place for this. Pedestrians and cyclists have their own paths and circuit through town, thus avoiding having to walk along busy ring roads and crossing at hectic intersections. On top of that, drivers here do stop at pedestrian zebra crossings when they see you on the curb. It makes going for a stroll in town quite a pleasant experience.
I have a special relationship with the place. This is where I used to come and spend my summer school holidays when I was a teenager, back in 1959, 1960, 1961, 1962... Last century!
The old town
HANAU am Main #2
City plan at central bus station
of HANAU itself is on the right bank of the river Main upstream by about 25km from Frankfurt. In recent years it has joined with surrounding townships on the left bank of the river to make a greater Hanau, so to speak. Barges loaded with goods travel up and down river. A sluice is to be found west of the city.
The History of HANAU goes back to the Romans. A village of some 1000 inhabitants thrived there in the middle-ages under the protection of a 'Burg', i.e. a medieval stronghold. In the 1600's a major political move was made by the lord of the place. A modern 'new town' was built in the grid fashion. New settlers from the Flanders and Wallon provinces came to develop the town. And in the 19th century the town became an industrial city.
The grid of straight streets at right angles is now the old part of HANAU, busy with shops, boutiques and cafes. The large parading square is now the convenient central bus station. An outdoor fruit and vegetable market is held on Wednesdays and Saturdays on the square in front of the 'Rathaus' (townhall).
Last but not least,
HANAU am Main #3
Market day on Marktplatz
HANAU is the birth place of the Grimm brothers. They wrote many 'children' stories and tales that are part of the ageless German literature.
(to be continued)
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