Located on the northeastern edge of Mittelhessen, Alsfeld is known for its historic town center with its half-timbered houses and the remnants of a city wall. The old city hall at the market square is a prime example of the medieval architecture that was so typical for this part of Germany. Alsfeld is a traditional region located along the Schwalm River and near the Vogelsberg mountain range. Like many Hessen cities located close to the border of the former east German state of Thuringia, Alsfeld suffered economic hardship during the division of Germany. Today, however, Alsfeld finds itself geographically in the country's center and benefits from close proximity to the A5 Autobahn.
The most northern city in Mittelhessen, Biedenkopf is located near the border to the state of North Rhine-Westphalia. Biedenkopf lies in the foothills of the Rothaargebirge mountain range. Looming above Biedenkopf is the Sackpfeife, which at 674 meters is the highest peak in the range. The Sackpfeife offers numerous recreational activities, such as mountain biking, hiking and winter sports (when there's enough snow). The city's landmark is the Biedenkopf Castle, which dates back to the 12th century and is home to a regional history museum.
The city of Braunfels is surrounded by the Taunus and Westerwald forests and close to the romantic Lahn river. Braunfels is well known for its fairytale castle and picturesque old town with many well-preserved half-timbered houses. The old town is nestled directly below the castle and nearly all of the buildings date back to 1700-1720. Braunfels and its five city districts is also home to several health and spa facilities. Medical clinics for neurology and rehabilitation, orthopedics as well as the Falkeneck Clinic for Gerontology all enjoy an excellent reputation.
With the discovery of iron ore in Dillenburg, the 19th century industrial revolution came to town. Many mines, foundries and metalworking plants were established. But the destruction suffered during World War II, followed by post-war economic realities, hit this industrial sector hard. Several ultra-modern metal-working plants are still headquartered in Dillenburg, including Isabellenhütte Heusler and Outokumpu Nirosta. Dillenburg's landmark is the Wilhelmsturm, so named because it was here that Wilhelm I, Count of Nassau-Dillenburg, led the Dutch resistance against Spain in the 16th century. Today, Dillenburg is one of the highlights along the Orange tourist route, which stretches through 25 historically-linked German and Dutch cities.
A small town with a population of 13,000, Gladenbach is equidistant between Gießen and Marburg. Located on the eastern edge of the Westerwald mountain range in the so-called Lahn-Dill-Bergland, Gladenbach offers more than 500 kilometers of hiking trails. On the first weekend in July, the city holds the Cherry Market which attracts up to 100,000 visitors.
With a population of about 14,000, Grünberg, with its numerous half-timbered houses and intact historical city center, is typical of many smaller towns in Mittelhessen. Located on the western edge of the Vogelsberg mountain range, Grünberg is a featured point along the German Half-Timbered House Road. The city's landmark is the Diebsturm, a medieval watchtower. Today, the tower is open to the public and offers panoramic views of the Taunus and Vogelsberg mountain ranges. Grünberg also has good transportation connections, including its own exit onto the A5 Autobahn.
Located on the border to North Rhine-Westphalia and the southern edge of the Rothaargebirge, Haiger is a small town with nearly 20,000 residents. And yet, several of the most important companies in Mittelhessen have their headquarters here, including Carl Cloos Schweisstechnik, Friedhelm Loh Group, Hailo, Klingspor, Kühne + Nagel, and Weiss Chemie.