Stralsund and Wismar
Stralsund and Wismar are two historic coastal cities in north-eastern Germany, that owe WHS status because of their role in the Hanseatic League (13th to 15th centuries) and their Swedish heritage (17th and 18th centuries).
Both towns are rich in gothic religious architecture, sharing six major ‘Gothic Brick’ churches between them. They also feature unaltered medieval ground plans, and city centres that survived World War II almost unscathed.
This site is considered so closely related and complementary to the Hanseatic City of Lübeck
WHS, that ICOMOS recommended turning them into a serial nomination.
Visit December 2007
Both Stralsund and Wismar can be visited on a day trip from any of northern Germany’s big cities. I choose the more remote Stralsund, located about 200 km east of Lübeck. It’s an easy Autobahn-ride deep into Mecklenburg-Vorpommern and close to the German-Polish border where controls were lifted earlier this week. How the world changes. Stralsund itself used to be hidden behind the Iron Curtain too.
Anno 2007 it turns out to be a pretty and well-looked-after little town. Parking and navigation is easy in the almost deserted streets. Ugly modern construction that so dominates Lübeck fortunately is lacking here. The Hanseatic and the Swedish heritage go side-by-side, brick houses and colourful residences alternate in the streets. Most impressive sights are the red brick churches adorned with huge towers.
One of these former churches now houses the ‘Meeresmuseum’, a museum dedicated to the sea with bits and pieces of GDR history and an aquarium. Fun for kids and a bit quirky too.
The Stralsund harbour is where the locals are taking their Sunday stroll. I finish my stay here at a fish restaurant with lunch of jacked potato and caviar.
More photos can be found in the Picture Gallery
|Ian Cade (England):|
Well I will give those Baltic Red-Brick Gothic architects’ one thing: they can certainly build a massive church. That was the main thing that struck me after my visit to Wismar on New Year’s Eve 2012/13.
My exploration took me through the affluent looking shopping streets from the heaving bulk of one massive church onto the next, and wandering through the giant remnants of St Marien Kirche. It was rather impressive. I can’t say I was particularly taken by the main square, much like Frederik my main impression was one of a giant car park surrounded by a few nice buildings. On my way towards the old Harbour I stopped into the Heiligengeistkirche as residents were arriving for Mass. I was really impressed by the painted ceiling and also thankful of somewhere to warm up.
As it was New Years eve I spent a lot of my time jumping at the sound of fireworks exploding next to me, but also covered an inordinate amount of miles trying to find an open restaurant or bar, they were all reserved for private parties later in the night, but after 20 or so establishments, I managed to have a pizza down by the waterfront (In case you are wondering I’m not exaggerating, even the Irish Pub was closed!), however the harbour side was a rather charming place to while away some time before heading off to my train.
Wismar was a late addition to my itinerary, it was there in part because of a rather sadistic decision to not get any accommodation and just stay awake until my plane left Hamburg the next morning. In the end it turned out to be a good idea, I got to see a new WHS, tick off another German Länder and also see in the New Year in some style in Hamburg. Wismar was a great reminder of why I find Baltic city’s so charming, combining the affluent shops of Malmo, the giant brick churches of Lübeck and the early industrial waterside of Gdansk, and I will happily head off to Stralsund in the future to see the other part of this WHS
[Site 4: Experience 5]
| Date posted: February 2013|
|John Booth (New Zealand):|
After visiting Wismar and Stralsund as well as Lubeck this year, I am pleased that Lubeck is a separate WHS. Probably as a result of having been hidden in East Germany for several decades these two towns have retained their integrity as heritage towns. Very little modern construction is apparent, in fact some WWII bomb damage is yet to be restored, eg the Marienkirche in Wismar).
Saw both towns in a day, travelling by train between.
| Date posted: October 2010|
|Frederik Dawson (Netherlands):|
Wismar is a small town on the Baltic coast in northern Germany which has rich heritage of Hanseatic League and Sweden. Wismar can be called a prettiest small city in northern Germany; it’s full of many lovely buildings from hanseatic brick style to Swedish gable houses. Its pride is large red brick cathedral of St. Nikolai which every decorative detail made from bricks, a very unique way in this region. The city’s market square is very nice with lovely renovated building and in the centre of the square is a big well covered with Dutch Renaissance style pavilion called Wasserkunst! The seafront area is also nice with lively old buildings and fish market.
The big problem of Wismar is cars, they park everywhere from main square to small streets which sometime ruins the atmosphere.
Waking in Wismar is a very nice experience; all pavements are very good in design for walking, every turns always have some surprise with amazing buildings, churches, squares and my favorite is a bridge decorated with pigs! Wismar is just great for spending your time in holiday, less crowned compared to Stralsund or Lubeck and has the feel of down to earth.
Swedish link is still active in this city; I can see Swedish flags more than German ones. You may wonder where you are now, Sweden or Germany.
| Date posted: September 2006|
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