Hanover (German: Hannover) , on the river Leine, is the capital of the federal state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), Germany. In addition to being the capital of Lower Saxony, Hanover was the capital of the administrative area Hanover region (Regierungsbezirk Hannover) until Lower Saxony's regions were disbanded at the beginning of 2005. It is, however, still part of the Hanover district (Region Hannover), which is a municipal body made up from the former district and city of Hanover.
With a population of 522,944 (1 February 2007) the city is a major center of northern Germany, known for hosting annual commercial expositions such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world's largest Marksmen's Fun Fair, and the Oktoberfest Hannover which is the second largest Oktoberfest in the world. 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 also has regional importance because of its university and medical school, its international airport, and its large zoo (Hanover Zoo).