Germany: Quaint half-timbered town and talking lanterns: Celle

Is it a fairytale or a city? If you walk through Celle, that question certainly comes to you. A beautiful old town with hundreds of half-timbered houses, a castle whose style is the middle between Renaissance and Baroque, and all in an attractive spot on the river Aller on the southern edge of the Lüneburg Heath: more beautiful can hardly be.

The Stadtkirche and the old town hall are among the oldest buildings in the city and are, as it were, islands in a sea of half-timbered buildings from various centuries, including the Celle synagogue and the Hoppener Haus from 1532, a house decorated with lavish wood carvings with a gable facade. it has six floors and is probably the most famous building in the city. Opposite is a surprising group of chatty lanterns; the figures with built-in lamps each represent a certain type of character. The lanterns respond to movements and then begin to talk – individually or with each other. They tell you facts, anecdotes, funny sayings or sketches that have been recorded in advance. Logically, therefore, that visitors here sometimes have their mouths full of teeth.

Dukes, knights and horses: stories from Celle

Also in the city center is the Herzogschloss, probably the most important building of the city, of which the oldest parts are from the 13th century. From 1530, a Renaissance castle was made, in the second half of the 17th century there was still more grown, after which the castle got its baroque appearance that has been preserved until now. Today the magnificent residence is used by the Schlosstheater, which has existed since 1671, and the Residenzmuseum. The Stechbahn, the former tournament ground, reminds of the town’s glory times, where in the late Middle Ages knights were held. During such a tournament, in 1471, Duke Otto II was killed: he fell off his horse in an unfortunate way and did not survive. In the road surface for the Löwenapotheke a horseshoe has been applied that reminds the inhabitants to this tragic event to this day. But in Celle they have nothing against horses, on the contrary, they love it: during the Stallion Parade, which takes place every year in September, the stud farm of the Land of Lower Saxony ensures that the half-timbered town is transformed into one large festival site for horses and horsemen.

Von Hajotthu, CC BY-SA 3.0,

A structure as a work of art: the Kunstmuseum

Just as unique as the old town is the Kunstmuseum Celle: a 24-hour museum that captures not only during the day, but also at night as a work of art. During the day, painting, graphic arts, sculpture and light and object art from the 20th century will be exhibited, including many Joseph Beuys multiple works. But even at night, the art is highlighted: as a crystal that is illuminated in many colors on the inside, the glass foyer radiates, and light and sound installations ensure that the boundary between art and space, between the building and the urban environment is fading.