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Historical Hanseatic towns - brick Gothic architecture on the Baltic coast

The historical Hanseatic towns of Demmin, Anklam, Greifswald, Wismar, Stralsund and Rostock are situated in the region around Germany's north-east coast. The largest of the historical Hanseatic towns is Rostock, a young and dynamic student town. All of these charming places are characterised by ornate gabled houses that hark back to the days of the Hanseatic League. Each one is a colourful sight to behold - the bright red brick Gothic buildings blend with the gleaming yellow rape fields, the red poppies and the blue cornflowers on the wide expanse of hills and meadows. Unspoilt river scenery and sprawling marshes attract visitors who enjoy spending time in natural surroundings.
Anklam - the gateway to the 'sun island'
Just across the water from the island of Usedom, Anklam has a wealth of striking buildings from various periods in centuries gone by. Strolling through the town, you will see churches, houses with the typical gabled roofs of northern Germany and brick buildings along the way. The townscape also features some examples of medieval architecture including the town wall, a medieval fountain and some fortifications. The town has become known all over the world as the home of flying pioneer Otto Lilienthal, who made his first attempts at flying in the courtyard of the house where he was born.
Romantic art in Greifswald
The university and Hanseatic town of Greifswald also has a wealth of sights. Particular highlights include Wiecker bridge and the ruins of Eldena Abbey. The former is a monument to engineering dating from 1887, while the wooden bascule bridge is one of the oldest historical bridges of its kind still in full working order in Europe. The 120-year-old construction is opened several times a day by hand to allow ships to pass through. Eldena Abbey was founded by Cistercian monks in 1199. Works by the famous painter Caspar David Friedrich made it famous around the world as the epitome of Romanticism. The artist's most famous works include "Meadows near Greifswald" and "Chalk cliff s on Rügen island".
Demmin - a town in the 'land of three rivers'
The Hanseatic town of Demmin is situated in "Mecklenburg Switzerland" surrounded by the Western-Pomeranian river scenery. Situated on the banks of three rivers - the Peene, Tollense and Trebel - it is a paradise for nature lovers. Home to Germany's largest contiguous area of marshland, the Peene valley has a wealth of striking flora and fauna. The unspoilt Peene River is known as the "Amazon of the North".
Demmin also has an interesting cultural programme including high-quality organ recitals and choir concerts in the Gothic St. Bartholomew's Church, concerts by students of the music school, events at the open-air forest theatre and the popular annual Peene festival.
World cultural heritage in Wismar
The UNESCO-listed historic centre of Wismar is typical of an established Hanseatic town during the trading alliance's 14th century heyday.
This "brick-built" heritage site on the southernmost point of the Baltic coast has retained its medieval layout and has a particularly charming townscape. Typical Hanseatic features and well-preserved architectural heritage still bear witness to the political and commercial importance and wealth of this Hanseatic town in the Middle Ages. The monumental brickbuilt churches, in particular, provide a unique cross-section of the famous ecclesiastical architecture of the Hanseatic towns on the southern Baltic. You can also visit the Wasserkunst, one of the largest and most beautiful pump rooms in northern Germany and the Schabbelhaus municipal history museum.
Stralsund - the red town by the sea
Along with Wismar town centre, Stralsund's historic centre was designated a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2002. Founded in 1234, the town known for its red brick Gothic architecture also features gabled houses, imposing churches, medieval abbeys and an impressive town hall. Stralsund is also a great example of a town living close to nature. One of the main attractions is the harbour with its old warehouses, canals and vibrant atmosphere. Full of cutters, launch boats, sailing ships and yachts, it gives an insight into what life was like here in the days of medieval tradesmen and sailors.
A fish with a great name
The Hanseatic towns are famous for the boned, marinated Bismarck herring, which owes its name to the clever fishmonger Johann Wichmann who once surprised the Chancellor Otto von Bismarck with a casket of this delicacy on his birthday. Bismarck enjoyed it so much, that the fishmonger secured the name for his herrings. Today, the Bismarck herring is shipped from here all over the world. Meat-lovers will also appreciate the traditional Pomeranian cooking, which includes mouthwatering dishes such as suckling pig and stuffed ribs, washed down with a Störtebeker pils brewed in Stralsund.

Tradition and history

  • Luisen Gate and gunpowder tower, town wall, Ulanen monument and Red School in Demmin
  • German Avenues Route
  • Ice Age Route
  • European Route of Brick Gothic Architecture
  • Hoher Stein tower, Wesselsche Mill and Stone Gate in Anklam
  • Swedish Heritage Route
  • St James' Pilgrimage Way
  • Koeppenhaus literary centre in Greifswald

Hospitality and gastronomy

  • Stuff ed ribs
  • Flounder
  • Eel
  • Fishing festival in Greifswald
  • Fresh seafood delights sold by the fishwives on the historical market square in Greifswald

Romanticism and charm

  • Neetzow Castle, Zinzow Palace, Stolpe Manor, Bömitz country hotel and Müggenburg Castle in Anklam
  • St. John's Abbey, beach promenade and tower of the Church of St. Mary in Stralsund
  • Dining against the backdrop of the aquariums at the Oceanographic Museum in Stralsund

Countryside and scenery

  • Angling on Rügendamm causeway
  • Boat trip on Peene River and Lake Kummerow
  • Swimming in Greifswald lagoon
  • Salt marshes