Bahnhof in Giessen, Hessen, Central Germany. Giessen, aka Gießen, has a population of roughly 78,000, 24,000 of whom are university students.  It’s located 50 km north of Frankfurt am Main. Its name first appeared as Giezzen in 1197. The local river is the Lahn, which divides the town in 2 parts. Giessen came into being as a moated castle in 1152, built by Count Wilhelm von Gleiberg, although the history of today’s suburb “Wieseck” dates back to 775. The town became part of Hessen-Marburg in 1567, then Hessen-Darmstadt in 1604. The university was founded in 1607. Giessen was included within the Grand Duchy of Hesse, created in 1806 during the Napoleonic Wars. After WW1, it was part of the People’s State of Hesse. During WW2, heavy bombing destroyed about 75% of it, including most of its historic buildings. It became part of the modern state of Hessen after the war.

Michelstadt is a small town in the Odenwald in Hessen, Central Germany, between Darmstadt and Heidelberg, pop.: ~16,000. It was first mentioned in documents in 741. Its Altstadt (Old Town) features many timber-framed houses, there’s an old town wall, a gothic church, and a few castles around.