10 reasons to visit Kassel
Every five years, Kassel becomes the art world's favorite travel destination. That's when the Documenta takes place - one of the most important art exhibitions worldwide. But there are many more reasons to stop by.
Kassel's landmark is the Hercules monument. Over 70 meters tall, it looks down on the city from the landscape park Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe. Charles I, Landgrave of Hesse-Kassel, had the monument erected 300 years ago.
Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe has been a UNESCO World Heritage site since 2013. From May to October, the Baroque water features are displayed on Wednesdays, Sundays and all holidays.
Wilhelmshöhe Palace is also in the Bergpark. In it you can view a collection of antiquities, the Old Masters picture gallery and temporary exhibitions.
Parthenon of Books
The Parthenon of Books is the most conspicuous work in the current Documenta. It just as large as the original on the Acropolis in Athens. It's filled with books that are or have been banned somewhere in the world.
For the 1982 Documenta, Joseph Beuys had 7000 slabs of basalt piled up on Friedrichsplatz square. People were to take a slab away and plant an oak next to it. It took five years in all, but he transformed the cityscape more any other Documenta artist.
Man walking to the sky
"Man walking to the sky" is the name of the sculpture that artist Jonathan Borofsky brought to Documenta 9 in 1992. It has remained in Kassel and become a symbol of its revival. During the division of Germany, the city lay on the inner-German border. Now it is again in the middle of Germany.
The Pickaxe is also a Documenta relic. Its creator Claes Oldenburg claimed Hercules had thrown it from Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe down to the banks of the River Fulda. So by drawing on Kassel's old landmark, he created a new one for the city.
Kassel was almost completely destroyed in the Second World War. It was quickly rebuilt in the 1950s was in the rather drab style of that time. But with the Treppenstrasse it gave Kassel Germany's first pedestrian street.
Museum of Sepulchral Culture
When this museum opened in 1992 it was the first of its kind in the world. To this day its aim is to still people's fears of death and dying. The core of the museum is the permanent exhibition, which shows how people deal with death.
The city of Kassel has also devoted a museum to its most famous residents. In Kassel and the surrounding area, the brothers Grimm collected many of the folk tales that brought them to world renown. Grimm World has been telling their story since 2015.