Hanau is a charming and calming place. It is a small town in the Main-Kinzig-Kreis in Hesse, just 15 miles (25 kilometers) from Frankfurt am Main. Hanau is best known as the home of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm who grew up here in the late 18th century, going on (as the Brothers Grimm) to make a name for themselves as storytellers who popularized German folk tales.
It’s appropriate, then, that many visitors come to Hanau as the starting point for the German Fairy Tale Route. This 435-mile (600-kilometer) trail takes tourists through the places where the Brothers Grimm lived and worked, including their childhood home in Steinau to Marburg where they attended the university and Kassel where the brothers worked on their “Children’s and Household Tales.”
In Hanau itself you can pay a visit to the Brothers Grimm National Memorial, a statue standing in the heart of town in Hanau’s market square. It is a popular place where many people typically congregate. At nearly (21feet) 6.5 meters tall, the bronze statue shows Wilhelm sitting with a large book on his lap while Jacob stands beside him gazing down upon the book.
Hanau’s most impressive sight is Philippsruhe Castle, dating from the 18th century, surrounded by an English garden-style park. It is a popular choice for weddings and ceremonies.
Elsewhere in the old town you can pay a visit to the German House of Goldsmiths, a striking red-and-white half-timbered building which dates back to the 1530s, originally serving as Hanau’s town hall and now a museum of goldsmiths and jewelers. A replica double staircase from the 1740s is among the exhibits on show inside.
The new Town Hall was built in the early 18th century by Christian Ludwig Hermann in the Baroque style. Though heavily damaged during the Second World War, it was rebuilt according to its original plans and today serves as the mayor’s seat. It also contains a museum showcasing the history of the town.