Hanover or Hannover (/ˈhænoʊvər/; German: Hannover, pronounced [haˈnoːfɐ]), on the River Leine, is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later described as the Elector of Hanover). At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Electorate was enlarged to become a Kingdom with Hanover as its capital.
From 1868 to 1946 Hanover was the capital of the Prussian Province of Hanover and afterwards of the Hanover administrative region until that was abolished in 2005. It is now the capital of the Land of Lower Saxony. Since 2001 it has been part of the Hanover district (Region Hannover), which is a municipal body made up from the former district (Landkreis Hannover) and city of Hanover (note: although both Region and Landkreis are translated as district they are not the same).
With a population of 518,000, Hanover is a major centre of Northern Germany and the country's thirteenth largest city. Hanover also hosts annual commercial trade fairs such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest marksmen's festival, and the Oktoberfest Hannover, the second largest such festival in Germany. In 2000, Hanover hosted the world fair Expo 2000. The Hanover fairground, due to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover is of national importance because of its universities and medical school, its international airport and its large zoo. The city is also a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Ruhr area) and north-south (Hamburg–Munich, etc.) directions. Read more