Germany: Brunswick or Braunschweig
Braunschweig aka Brunswick is the second largest city in Lower Saxony, famously know as “Lion’s City” for the bronze lion stature in the heart of its Alte Stadt (Old Town). While it was seriously bombed during WWII, pockets of neighborhoods remained untouched and have been restored. Brunswick was the member of the Hanseatic League of city-states for nearly 300 years. Burgplatz is the heart of the city with the famous Cathedral of St. Blasius here, and the bronze statue of the Brunswick Lion (Braunschweiger Löwe) in front of it. It was presented to Brunswick by Henry the Lion in 1166 as a symbol of his power. Also here is the ornate Huneborstelsches Haus built in 1536 and the small Dankwarderode Castle from 1175. Walking along the streets lined up with half-timbered houses, you get to another square – Altstadtmarkt – with a magnificent Old Town Hall (Altstadtrathaus) from the 13th century, Martinikirche church from 1195, and the medieval Gewandhaus (Cloth Hall) from 1591 built in renaissance style. After that, head straight to the massive “new” Town Hall (Rathaus), built in 1900. A spectacular, easy-to-explore atmospheric town.