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Braunschweig - Germany

Braunschweig (German pronunciation: [ˈbʁaʊ̯nʃvaɪ̯k] (About this sound listen); Low German: Brunswiek [ˈbrɔˑnsviːk]), also called Brunswick in English, is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany, north of the Harz mountains at the furthest navigable point of the Oker river which connects it to the North Sea via the Aller and Weser rivers. In 2016, it had a population of 250,704.

A powerful and influential centre of commerce in medieval Germany, Braunschweig was a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th until the 17th century. It was the capital city of three successive states: the Principality of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel (1269–1432, 1754–1807 and 1813–1814), the Duchy of Brunswick (1814–1918) and the Free State of Brunswick (1918–1946).

Today, Braunschweig is the second largest city in Lower Saxony and a major centre of scientific research and development.

During the Middle Ages Braunschweig was an important center of trade, one of the economic and political centers in Northern Europe and a member of the Hanseatic League from the 13th century to the middle of the 17th century. By the year 1600, Braunschweig was the seventh largest city in Germany. Although formally one of the residences of the rulers of the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg, a constituent state of the Holy Roman Empire, Braunschweig was de facto ruled independently by a powerful class of patricians and the guilds throughout much of the Late Middle Ages and the Early modern period. Because of the growing power of Braunschweig's burghers, the Princes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel, who ruled over one of the subdivisions of Brunswick-Lüneburg, finally moved their Residenz out of the city and to the nearby town of Wolfenbüttel in 1432. The Princes of Brunswick-Wolfenbüttel didn't regain control over the city until the late 17th century, when Rudolph Augustus, Duke of Brunswick-Lüneburg, took the city by siege. In the 18th century Braunschweig was not only a political, but also a cultural centre. Influenced by the philosophy of the Enlightenment, dukes like Anthony Ulrich and Charles I became patrons of the arts and sciences. In 1745 Charles I founded the Collegium Carolinum, predecessor of the Braunschweig University of Technology, and in 1753 he moved the ducal residence back to Braunschweig. With this he attracted poets and thinkers such as Lessing, Leisewitz, and Jakob Mauvillon to his court and the city. Emilia Galotti by Lessing and Goethe's Faust were performed for the first time in Braunschweig.

The Burgplatz (Castle Square), comprising a group of buildings of great historical and cultural significance: the Cathedral (St Blasius, built at the end of the 12th century), the Burg Dankwarderode (Dankwarderode Castle) (a 19th-century reconstruction of the old castle of Henry the Lion), the Neo-Gothic Town Hall (built in 1893–1900), as well as some picturesque half-timbered houses, such as the Gildehaus (Guild House), today the seat of the Craftsman's Association. In the centre of the square stands a copy of the Burglöwe (Brunswick Lion), a Romanesque statue of a Lion, cast in bronze in 1166. The original statue can be seen in the museum of Dankwarderode Castle. Today the lion has become the true symbol of Braunschweig.
The Altstadtmarkt ("Old Town market"), surrounded by the Old Town town hall (built between the 13th and the 15th centuries in Gothic style), and the Martinikirche (Church of Saint Martin, from 1195), with important historical houses including the Gewandhaus (the former house of the drapers' guild, built sometime before 1268) and the Stechinelli-Haus (built in 1690) and a fountain from 1408.
The Kohlmarkt ("coal market"), a market with many historical houses and a fountain from 1869.
The Hagenmarkt ("Hagen market"), with the 13th-century Katharinenkirche (Church of Saint Catherine) and the Heinrichsbrunnen ("Henry the Lion's Fountain") from 1874.
The Magniviertel (St Magnus' Quarter), a remainder of ancient Braunschweig, lined with cobblestoned streets, little shops and cafés, centred around the 13th-century Magnikirche (St Magnus' Church). Here is also the Rizzi-Haus, a highly distinctive, cartoonish office building designed by architect James Rizzi for the Expo 2000.
The Romanesque and Gothic Andreaskirche (Church of Saint Andrew), built mainly between the 13th and 16th centuries with stained glass by Charles Crodel. Surrounding the church are the Liberei, the oldest surviving freestanding library building in Germany, and the reconstructed Alte Waage.
The Gothic Aegidienkirche (Church of Saint Giles), built in the 13th century, with an adjoining monastery, which is today a museum.
The Staatstheater (State Theatre), newly built in the 19th century, goes back to the first standing public theatre in Germany, founded in 1690 by Duke Anthony Ulrich.
The ducal palace of Braunschweig was bombed in World War II and demolished in 1960. The exterior was rebuilt to contain a palace museum, library and shopping centre, which opened in 2007.

Many other geographical locations around the world are named Brunswick, after the historical English name of Braunschweig. Between 1714 and 1837, the House of Hanover ruled Great Britain in personal union with the Electorate of Brunswick-Lüneburg (Hanover). The House of Hanover was formally known as the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg, Hanover line. As a result, many places in the British colonies were named after Brunswick, such as the province of New Brunswick in Canada.

Ironically, the city of Braunschweig was not ruled by the Hanoverians while its name was being given to other Brunswicks around the world. Starting in 1269, the Duchy of Brunswick-Lüneburg underwent a series of divisions and mergers, with parts of the territory being transferred between various branches of the family. The city of Braunschweig went to the senior branch of the house, the Wolfenbüttel line, while Lüneburg eventually ended up with the Hanover line. Although the territory had been split, all branches of the family continued to style themselves as the House of Brunswick-Lüneburg. In 1884, the senior branch of the House of Welf became extinct. The Hanover line, being the last surviving line of the family, subsequently held the throne of the Duchy of Brunswick from November 1913 until November 1918.

The city's most important museum is the Herzog Anton Ulrich Museum, a well known art museum and the oldest public museum in Germany, founded in 1754. It houses a collection of masters of Western art, including Dürer, Giorgione, Cranach, Holbein, Van Dyck, Vermeer, Rubens, and Rembrandt.

The State Museum of Brunswick (Braunschweigisches Landesmuseum), founded in 1891, houses a permanent collection documenting the history of the Brunswick area ranging from its early history to the present.

The Municipal Museum of Brunswick (Städtisches Museum Braunschweig), founded in 1861, is a museum for art and cultural history, documenting the history of the city of Braunschweig.

The State Natural History Museum is a zoology museum founded in 1754.

Other museums in the city include the Museum of Photography (Museum für Photographie), the Jewish Museum (Jüdisches Museum), the Museum for Agricultural Technology Gut Steinhof, and the Gerstäcker-Museum. Frequent exhibitions of contemporary art are also held by the Art Society of Braunschweig (German: Kunstverein Braunschweig), housed in the Villa Salve Hospes, a classicist villa built between 1805 and 1808.