Close to Hanover in Lower Saxony, the ancient town of Wolfenbüttel sits on the Oker river — as it has for centuries. The name büttel is an old form of residence or settlement in this area, and its streets are still filled with over 600+ half-timbered houses! This place really retains its sense of history.
You could easily find yourself wandering through these picturesque streets all day; in and out of small stores with antiques and fresh produce. No doubt, taking a break in one of the many streetside restaurants and cafes spreading out into the pedestrianized streets and numerous Plätze has enlightening character.
Sitting down, though, really is one of the best ways to really get a feel for the town and to admire the architecture. And you will want to take your time admiring the half-timbered Johanniskirche. This amazing old church actually has a detached belfry to one side. Which, oddly, is green in color!
Wolfenbüttel is the proud owner of the great baroque Schloss in town that is definitely worth a visit. Converted in the late 19th century to the Anna-Vorweck School for Girls, it still retains its enormous character. Many of the original state rooms are still open to the public as a museum, and the grounds can be explored. Make sure you find the Renaissance tower, with a gable clock face on every side.
If you want something really ancient – then look no further than inside the Herzog August Bibliothek (a library) also known as the HAB. This magnificent building is opposite the castle and was based on the Parthenon. It is the ducal library, and houses the largest and best known collection of ancient books in the world today. It is especially rich in bibles, books on the Reformation and incunabala (documents and manuscripts printed before 1501).
Wolfenbüttel is called by some the Center of Arts and it certainly offers up some great cultural events throughout the year. It also has the Lessing Akademie, highlighting the “enlightenment era” which greatly influenced German literature through the ages.
You may also find yourself there during the Theaterfest in June/July or the Altstadtfest in late August — when the town really puts on a show!