122km (76 miles) SE of Bremen, 151km (94 miles) S of Hamburg, 288km (179 miles) W of Berlin

This modest little city south of Hamburg still basks in the glow of Expo 2000, when more foreigners visited than ever before. It remains one of Germany's hubs of industry, transportation, and commerce, and its annual industrial trade fair is still the largest such fair in the world, attracting producers and buyers from around the globe.

Even with a big-money investment in its inner city, Hannover is hardly a city of grace and beauty. Although it has certain idyllic sections, including one of the finest baroque gardens in the world; a 2.5km (1 1/2-mile) man-made lake, the Maschsee; and the encircling Eilenriede Forest, Hannover is a mere shadow of its former self. The royal court checked out in the early 19th century, heading for greener fields and greater power in London.