The Hercules monument in Kassel’s Bergpark Wilhelmshöhe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Kassel is a city located on the Fulda River in Hessen, Central Germany, pop.: 195 000. The former capital of the state of Hessen-Kassel has many palaces and parks. It’s also known for the Documenta exhibitions of contemporary art. The city’s name is derived from the ancient Castellum Cattorum, castle of the Chatti, a German tribe that had lived in the area since Roman times. Kassel was first mentioned in 913 AD. A deed from 1189 certifies that it had city rights. It was a center of Calvinist Protestantism in Germany. Fortifications were built to protect the Protestant stronghold against Catholic enemies. In 1685, it became a refuge for 1700 French Huguenots, fleeing prosecution. In the late 18th century, Hesse-Kassel became infamous for selling mercenaries (Hessians) to the British crown to help suppress the American Revolution and to finance the construction of palaces and the Landgrave’s opulent lifestyle. In the early 19th century, the Brothers Grimm lived there. They collected and wrote most of their fairy tales there. After the Battle of Sedan, Napoleon III was sent as a prisoner to the Wilhelmshöhe castle above the city. During WW1, the German military headquarters were located there. The most severe bombing of Kassel in WW2 destroyed 90% of the downtown area - some 10,000 people were killed, 150,000 were made homeless. Most of the casualties were civilians or wounded soldiers recuperating in local hospitals, whereas factories survived the attack generally undamaged. Post-war, most of the ancient buildings were not restored, and large parts of the city area were completely rebuilt in the style of the 1950s. In 1949, the interim parliament eliminated Kassel in the first round as a city to become the provisional capital of West Germany (Bonn won).