If you remember hearing Fairy Tales by the Brothers Grimm as a child (and who doesn’t?) you will love visiting Hanau. It was the boyhood home of Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm who were responsible for preserving famous folk stories like “Little Red Riding Hood” and “Snow White and the Seven Dwarves.”
Before the Grimm Brothers committed these tales to paper in the early 1800’s, they were merely part of an oral tradition, handed down from one generation to the next. Fairies and witches, queens and princesses, wolves and dragons, were all part of the magic world of Grimm’s Fairy Tales.
If you visit modern-day Hanau between May and July, you will be able to take part in the famous Fairy Tale Festival. Many of the most beloved Grimm stories are preformed daily in an outdoor amphitheater by actors in colorful costume.
The town square has an impressive bronze statue of the two brothers that has been in place since 1896 and is now considered a national monument. A large open-air market is held in the square twice every week, which is enjoyed by natives and tourists alike.
Hanau is also the starting point of the Fairy Tale Road. This picturesque highway winds through the forests and fields of Germany and leads you past the Grandmother’s House from “Little Red Riding Hood,” and the witch’s cottage from Hänsel und Gretel. You will see castles and woods that take you back to enchanted times.
While you are in the town, you will want to see the Philippsruhe Castle. It was built from about 1700 to 1725 and is home to the regional Historical Museum. Area artwork representing the 17th through 20th centuries is on display.
There are eight other museums in the town as well, that all cover different aspects of the history and culture of the area.
Collectors or lovers of dolls will not want to miss the Hessian Doll Museum. This display traces the history of dolls in Europe from ancient times (as far back as 500 B.C.) to today. There is a large collection of dolls from all over the world.
If you are interested in jewelry making or working with gold and silver you will want to be sure to see the German Goldsmith’s Museum. It explains the art and craft of creating with precious metals.
You can also enjoy the only Paper Toy Museum in Germany. This location features a stage with unique performances that can only be seen in Hanau.
Another must-see spot is the park at the Wilhelmsbad. It was originally created as a spa for members of the Royal Court in the 1770’s and its lovely garden and bathing house have been well preserved.