Lübeck – A Medieval Port in Germany
Situated in northern Germany, Lübeck is a major port in the country and the second largest city in the Schleswig-Holstein state. The old part of the city still keeps its medieval charm, with narrow streets, two beautiful city gates, and church steeples dominating the skyline. This part of Lübeck is situated on an island surrounded by the waters of the Trave river, and it is the main reason why the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Center.
The numerous Brick Gothic constructions in Lübeck make it very popular among tourists, but the most famous of all is one of the two remaining medieval gates, called the Holsten Gate (Holstentor). It is set at the western end of the old town and its twin towers have become a symbol of the city. It was built in 1477 and today it holds a museum of its long history. If you are an art enthusiast, then you have probably already recognized the gate from one of Andy Warhol’s prints.
Another significant landmark is the Lübeck Cathedral, a religious building whose construction began in 1173, and which is the oldest places of worship in the city. During World War II it suffered severe damage, but by 1982 it was fully reconstructed, and now its remarkable brick architecture attracts numerous visitors every year. Also interesting about the large Lutheran cathedral is the fact that it holds medieval works of art by Thomas Quellinus and Bernt Notke.
Speaking of medieval art, tourists can see more of these in the Hospital of the Holy Spirit, which still holds 14th century murals and carved altars in late Gothic style. This is one of the oldest hospitals in Europe and it has been barely altered by time. It is actually the best preserved medieval hospital in the country. It was founded in 1280 as a home for the sick and the poor right in the center of the Old Town. A famous local fair of arts and crafts is held here during the Advent period.
Also a very old building in Lübeck is St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche), which was constructed between 1250 and 1350, also in the distinctive German Brick Gothic style. Officially recognized by UNESCO as a culturally significant attraction, the Lutheran church flaunts the world’s highest brick vault, measuring 125 feet. The building itself is the third largest in the country, which explains why it was a symbol of wealth and power for a very long time.
Not far from the church is the Town Hall (Rathaus), which is one of the most beautiful in Germany. It dates back to the early 13th century, and it is still used as an administrative building today, representing the seat of the city Senate. Because it hasn’t been turned into a museum like many other old town halls have, people are only allowed to visit it during organized guided tours.
- Because Lübeck is quite famous for its marzipan industry (they even say that the delicious treat was invented here), the fittest souvenirs to take home to your loved ones include various interesting and tasty marzipan figurines.
- Sleep snugly in luxury at the beachfront Columbia Hotel Casino Travemünde, at A-ROSA Travemünde Hotel, or at Radisson Blu Senator Hotel in the city center.