Hanover was established around 1100 and became the residence of Heinrich der Löwe (Henry the Lion) later that century. An early Hanseatic city, by the Reformation it had developed into a prosperous seat of royalty and a power unto itself.
A link was created with the monarchy of Britain in 1714, when the eldest son of Electress Sophie of Hanover (a granddaughter of James I of England – James VI of Scotland), ascended the British throne as George I while simultaneously ruling Hanover. This British–German union lasted until 1837.
In 1943, up to 80% of the centre and 50% of the entire city was destroyed by Allied bombing. The rebuilding plan included creating sections of reconstructed half-timbered houses and painstakingly rebuilding the city’s prewar gems, such as the Opernhaus (Opera House), the Marktkirche church and Neues Rathaus (New Town Hall). A scale model of the wartime destruction can be seen in the lobby of Neues Rathaus.