Gießen is a city in North Hesse. The city has about 88,000 inhabitants (2018) including 44,000 students, so its infrastructure, shopping and cultural offerings are pretty well adapted to students.
In the late 1970s when many municipalities throughout Germany were merged into bigger units the Hessian Social Democrats (SPD) had the idea of merging Gießen and Wetzlar into a new city which - similar to Wuppertal - was to be given a new "fusion name" for the river which flows through both - "Lahn". This however proved extremely unpopular with people in both cities (bumper stickers would read "Wenn ich Lahn seh' krieg ich Zahnweh" - "When I see 'Lahn' I get a toothache") and even the SPD chancellor Helmut Schmidt commented negatively on the merger which led to it being undone after only 31 months. This however catalyzed an anti-SPD sentiment in Hesse which had been dominated by the SPD up to that point and all mayors of Lahn (the first died in office) were members of the Christian Democratic Union which would only lead its first government in Hesse in 1987.
- 1 Elefantenklo (elefant's toilette). The most known view in Gießen seems to be the E-Klo, a "masterwork" of the questionable urban planning policy from the late 1960s. It is a massive pedestrian overpass found at Selterstor. The popular name is due to the three large octagonal openings in the concrete slab. This says a lot about what is there to see in urban Gießen.
- Dünsberg (about 10 km to the north of Giessen). Ancient Celtic buildings, e.g., a Celtic oppidum was rebuilt. They are on the , a small wooded hill where activities such as hiking and cycling are popular. Nearby are some old castles, which can be visited too.
- 2 Mathematikum, Liebigstraße 8. An interactive museum of math and physics just down the road from the main train station.
- 3 Liebig Museum, Liebigstraße 12.
- 4 Kunsthalle Gießen, Berliner Platz 1. With temporary art exhibitions.
- 1 Justus-Liebig University. Founded in 1607 and with a bit under 30,000 students, Hessen's second biggest university, this is the main reason why Gießen is known outside its immediate environs.