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Hessen

Hessen is Germany's richest forest state with 41% woodland, ensuring that you are never far from nature. Natural scenery from heather to moor landscapes, attractive lakes for example the Rhine and the Lahn and rivers.

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Spend some time on a vacation or a weekend excursion, and you'll quickly come to appreciate the diversity of Hessen. Situated in western-central Germany, Hessen borders on the German states of North Rhine-Westphalia, Lower Saxony, Thuringia, Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Rhineland-Palatinate. Its principal cities include Frankfurt am Main, Wiesbaden, Darmstadt, Kassel, Giessen, Marburg, Wetzlar, Offenbach and Fulda. The main rivers in the northern part of Hessen are Fulda and Lahn. It is a hilly countryside, the main mountain chains being the Rhoen, the Westerwald, the Taunus and the Spessart. Most inhabitants live in the southernmost part of Hesse between the rivers Main and Rhine. The latter one borders Hessen on the southwest without running through the state. The mountain chain between Main and Rhine is called the Odenwald. Hesse has no unified history. Enfeoffed first to the dukes of Franconia, later to the counts of Thuringia, Hesse emerged in 1247 as a landgraviate immediately subject to the emperor under a branch of the house of Brabant. Landgrave Philip the Magnanimous 1504–67, a leading figure in the German Reformation, was responsible for reuniting a territory that had been torn by border disputes with neighbouring areas. At his death (1567) Philip's lands were divided among his four sons, with Kassel, Marburg, Rheinfels, and Darmstadt their respective capitals. In 1871, Hesse-Darmstadt joined the newly founded German Empire, and it continued under its own dynasty until the German revolution of 1918. The Battenberg, German princely family, issued from the morganatic union of Alexander, a younger son of Louis II, grand duke of Hesse-Darmstadt, and Countess Julia von Hauke, who was created (1858) princess of Battenberg.



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