Celle Travel Guide
Celle is a pretty Saxon town, famous mainly for its half-timbered houses. There are actually more than 480 of these gems in the center of the city's old town, mostly restored and now housing shops, galleries, cafés and restaurants. Celle's other attribute is its picturesque, 13th-century Renaissance-cum-Baroque palace, Schloss Celle, which was a ducal residence for over 700 years. The area is also known for its horse stud farms, and, with its location near the southern edge of the Lüneburger Heide (Heaths), it makes for an ideal base for exploring the nature preserve.
Celle is located in the north-central German state of Lower Saxony. It sits in a glacial valley on the banks of the river Aller, a tributary of the Weser. The town is 75 miles (120 km) south of Hamburg and 25 miles (40 km) northeast of Hannover, and is the largest Lower Saxon town between those two cities.
Celle, not surprisingly, is a popular tourist destination, both due to its location and the fact that it emerged from World War II unscathed, with its historical treasures virtually intact. Its major draws are of course its beautifully-preserved Altstadt (Old Town) with its narrow streets and superb collection of timber-framed houses and the impressive ducal palace, Schloss Celle. But besides that, there's a lovely church in town, Stadtkirche, dating from 1308, from the tower of which the town trumpeter blows a fanfare twice a day to regale visitors; and a handful of interesting museums to add to the offerings. Celle also hosts a popular Christmas market in the old town center every year. Oh, and for students of World War II history, just to the north of Celle is the town of Bergen, the locale of the largest concentration camp on German soil during World War II, where, notably, Anne Frank was interned and later died, and where there's now a memorial and exhibition center open to visitors.
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