Stadttheater (City Theater)
Unlike Heidelberg, which built its inconspicuous City Theater in the middle of a city block surrounded by other buildings, the one in Giessen is a prominent free-standing building on a major intersection at the end of a strip of park and at the edge of the central pedestrian zone.
The Giessen theater seats 600 people. It was built in 1906/1907 in neo-classical style, with money that had been donated for the most part by citizens of the city.
It was one of the few buildings in the city center that did not suffer any major damage during a night of bombing in 1944, because "two courageous people served as fire wardens" as it says on a plaque on the front of the building.
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Right around the corner from the Mathematikum is another small but fine museum devoted to the life and work of Justus Liebig, the 19th century chemist for whom the university in Giessen is now named.
The eleven rooms of the museum are Liebig's laboratory from his years as a professor at Giessen University, and a lot of his original equipment is on display.
The exhibits are labeled in German only, but the museum says it also has information available in Albanian, Chinese, Danish, English, French, Italian, Japanese, Portuguese, Swedish, Spanish, Russian, Czech and Hungarian.
Open daily (except Monday) from 10 am to 4 pm. Admission is EUR 3.00 for adults; EUR 2.00 for children and students (as of 2013).
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Giessen's newest museum bills itself as "the world's first mathematical science center". It was opened in 2002 and includes over one hundred interactive exhibits on three floors, some involving mirrors to create multiple images, as in the photo.
The Mathematikum is big enough to be worth the admission (EUR 6 for adults, 4 reduced and 12 for a family), but not so big as to be totally intimidating. In fact there is nothing intimidating about it, because the whole place is open, airy and hands-on, and it is run by a friendly, service-oriented young staff.
All the exhibits and activities are labeled in German and English, and they also have a free English folder called "hands-on mathematics" at the entrance.
They are open seven days a week until 6 pm (18:00), Thursdays till 8 pm (20:00).
- Museum Visits
This protestant church is the biggest church in Giessen. It was built from 1891 and inaugurated in 1893. Outside it's new romanic and renaissance style and inside gotic. The original stained windows were distroyed during WW2 and the new ones are by Erhard Klonk. The tower is 75 meters high. Unfortunately the church is closed except for services and concerts. Since some employee went to fetch something I was able to go into the foyer and take a peek through the glass doors. I saw some huge colourful windows and was told that there was nothing to see. I can't really agree to that.
Kasernengaesschen (barracks alley)
This dates back to the 16th century when the city's fortification walls were built. When they were taken away around 1810 it was built over in Biedermeier style. For a long time this corner of the city was used by police and army. From this time comes the name "Kasernengaesschen". After it was down to nearly ruins the city bought the lot in 1968. Later it was renovated by private and public sources.
On the green stretch around the town where there used to be the castle ditches rich people built villas. This one was built in 1884/5 and when it came through the war undamaged the American took it and it served as a officer's mess.
The planning was done by the Viennese architects Fellner and Hellmer. The building was constructed under the lead of a local architect in 1906/7. The building survived WW2 with hardly any damages and the first play performed after the war was Faust by Goethe.
This is the oldest botanical garden by an university that still remains on the original grounds. It was founded in 1609.
The botanical gardens are closed during winter time from 21st October until 19th March. During the rest of the year they have various opening times but the shortest ones are from 8 am until 3.30 pm. The greenhouses have yet again other, much shorter opening hours and they are generally only open between 15th May and 15th September and they also close for a lunch break.
Because the Stadtkirche (city church) was destroyed during WW2, in 1949 an emergency church was built with the financial help from the St. Louis church in USA. It's a wooden tent roof construction on stone walls.
The tower is 50,7 meters high and is considered "the" landmark of Giessen. It was built between 1484 and 1520. The tower always stood independent of the church building, which was destroyed in WW2. You can climb the tower from Tuesday till Saturday from 10 am till 4 pm and Sundays from 11 am till 4 pm. The key can be received at the Oberhessisches Museum (Wallenfelsches Haus) for a deposit.
Today Giessen's citizens nickname is Schlammbeiser. In the old days before there was a sewage system, a Schlammbeiser was the guy who emptied the toilet buckets with a long stick (Schlamp Eisen). The buckets were sitting in the alleys and people dumped their business from their toilet holes from above. The Schlammbeiser would then lift the buckets away with the long stick and empty them.
After all the Giessen jews were sent to concentration camps there wasn't any synagogue left. There were 2 before but on 28th August 1995 a new one was opened. In the courtyard now stands the old timber framed synagogue from Wohra (Kreis Marburg-Biedenkopf). There is a locked gate, so I don’t know whether this is actually ever open. I guess you could ring the bell and ask.
Neues Schloss (new castle)
This beauty was built from 1533-39 by Landgraf Philipp of Hessen (dem Grossmuetigen). After 1650 it served university purposes and was used as a court of justice. From 1899 until 1907 it was extensively renovated and since 1965 it houses the Institute of Geography. Fortunately, it wasn't damaged during WW2.
Altes Schloss (old castle)
This water castles was originally from the 14th century but was unfortunately destroyed in WW2. It has been rebuilt in the 1970's. The Diebsturm (tower) is a Burgfried and has 5 floors. The place can only be visited on a Giessen tour or by prior arrangement as a group. For enquiries contact the tourist information at Berliner Platz 2.
Wilhelm Conrad Roentgen (1845-1923) received the first Nobel price in physics in 1901 for his discovery of the X-rays. In German language the rays are named after Roentgen, therefore "Roentgenstrahlen". He lectured at Giessen university from 1879 until 1888. He died in Munich but was buried according to his wish in the old cemetary of Giessen in his parents' grave.
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