Brandenburg an der Havel is a charming town whose appeals may not be obvious at first glance, but is definitely worth a second look. While some highlights still await renovation, others have already been reappointed to their former splendour. Once the seat of the margrave of Brandenburg, a Prince Elector, history, culture and nature are closely entwined in the town which historically has three independent city centres.
Cathedral island, the original heart of the town, is also home to its oldest edifice: the Cathedral of Saints Peter and Paul. Although construction began in the Romanesque style in 1165, it was completed as a Gothic cathedral. While the exterior is rather inornate, the cathedral surprises the visitor with its sumptuous interior.
Separated by the River Havel, the Old Town and New Town each have two magnificent gate towers. Along with the ruins of the city walls they stand as a monument to the town's old Gothic fortification.
Built in 1401, St. Catherine's church in the New Town is an impressive example of northern German Gothic brick architecture. St. Gotthard's church in the Old Town was built of the same material just a few years later. The Old Town townhall is a late Gothic brick building with stepped gables and an ornate portal. A stone statue of Knight Roland stands in front of the townhall. Over 5 metres in height, the statue was erected at the end of the 15th century as the town's landmark.
Quiet corners and imposing architecture dating from the late Middle Ages can still be found everywhere in Brandenburg, but the town is undergoing a transformation: the University of Applied Sciences, the Higher Regional Court, many new businesses along with cultural and tourist attractions are contributing to a new joie de vivre in Brandenburg.
In Brandenburg an der Havel there is something for everyone interested in culture. The theatre offers a varied and interesting programme of plays, ballet, orchestra performances and puppet theatre with about 400 plays, concerts and ballet performances offered per season. In addition to the large theatre and modern studio stage, the Cathedral, Pauli cloister, museum gardens, locomotive shed and even the theatre park also serve as "stages" with a distinctive flair.
Friends of the performing arts will also find plenty to do in Brandenburg. The Culture Lab (Kultur-Labor GmbH) brings together two homes of alternative art with their own long traditions: the lab with its bar and the Fontane club with its much-loved terrace café. Home-grown theatre productions, live music performances, exhibitions and a repertoire cinema have also become regular events here.
Brandenburg is home to some very special museums, including the Frey House museum with its attractive collection of mechanical tin toys which hark back to the town's centuries-old tradition of toy production, the museum in the stone gate tower (Steintorturm), a landmark and reminder of the walls which guarded the city during the Middle Ages, as well as the Cathedral Museum with its valuable collection of documents and manuscripts dating from the Middle Ages, including books from the time of the Reformation. An industrial museum commemorating Brandenburg's role as a city of steel and roller mills is the latest addition to Brandenburg's collection of museums; its most important exhibit is a Siemens-Martin oven, the only one of its kind left in Europe.
The music school, the Wredow drawing school and the Sonnensegel gallery are of great appeal to Brandenburg's younger citizens and they have discovered many a talented local artist.
Culinary delights await you in the town and surrounding region with something to suit almost every different taste. In addition to the flavoursome cuisine of the Brandenburg region, you can also enjoy Greek, Italian and Asian cuisine, to name just a few!
Brandenburg is characterised by the nature of the River Havel region called Havelland. Abundant forests, meadows and countless lakes make sport and recreation easily accessible, and while it's true that there is less to do in winter, there's nothing easier than skating a few figure-eights on one of the many lakes which are frozen over or tobogganing down Marienberg. The warmer it gets, the more difficult decisions get: sailing, motorboating, rowing, fishing, swimming...take your pick! The wonderful lakes in and around Brandenburg not only make water sport lovers' hearts beat faster, but their attractive beaches are an invitation to relax. Hikers and bicyclists can explore the many signposted paths, equestrian and airborne sportsmen will find ideal conditions here and even golfers wil be pleased with the facilties available closeby.