advertisement

100km (62 miles) NE of Marburg

The city of Kassel is the capital of the Fairy-Tale Road, and the Brothers Grimm lived here as teenagers from 1805 to 1830 (it was the hometown of their mother). They worked as librarians at the court of Napoleon's youngest brother, Jerome Bonaparte, who was the King of Westphalia. The brothers were greatly inspired by the storyteller Dorothea Viehmann).

Much of Kassel's 1,000-year-old history went down in ruins in World War II, and rebuilding was haphazard, with little regard for its rich architectural past. But from the rubble rose a city of both cultural and industrial significance, its grace note being its series of parks and gardens that take the curse off many modern buildings. Kassel was designed with many traffic-free promenades and pedestrian tunnels. Some two-thirds of Kassel consists of "green lungs" in the form of parks, tree-lined streets, and woodlands.

The town was first mentioned in A.D. 913 as Chassala or Chassela. In medieval times it was spelled "Castle" and was for a time a stronghold of the Franconian kings.

This former seat of the Landgraves is known for its grottoes, Wilhelmshöhe Park, its waterfalls, and Schloss (Castle), all of which are documented below.

Kassel sits on the banks of the Fulda River in a heavily wooded part of Germany between the Meissner-Kaufungen and the Habischswald natural parks on government-protected land.