The old towns of Stralsund and Wismar with their merchants’ houses and historical monuments represent the political and economic development of the Hanseatic League in its heyday in the 13th and 14th centuries. Not only have individual historical buildings such as the monumental brick churches and the Swedish government palace in Stralsund been preserved, but also the medieval floor plan of both inner cities.
Old towns of Stralsund and Wismar: facts
|Official title:||Old towns of Stralsund and Wismar|
|Cultural monument:||Historic city centers with almost unchanged medieval floor plans and numerous individual monuments; Stralsund: Marienkirche (14th / 15th century), Nikolaikirche (13th / 14th century), Jakobikirche (13th-15th century), Franciscan monastery (13th century), Dominican monastery of St. Katharinen (13th century) –15th century), Heiliggeistspital (13th century), town hall (13th / 14th century), remains of the city wall with Knieper and Kütertor, Scheelehaus (1350), Wulflamhaus (1350), Dielenhaus, Commandanten-Hus (1749); Wismar: Marienkirche (13th / 14th century, destroyed 1945, tower preserved), Nikolaikirche (1380–1487), Georgenkirche (13th century), Wassertor (15th century), trading houses “Alte Schwede” (around 1380) and hall house, historic harbor basin|
|Country:||Germany, see estatelearning|
|Location:||Stralsund and Wismar, Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania|
|Meaning:||Representative example of the cultural heritage of the Hanseatic League|
Old towns of Stralsund and Wismar: history
|1234||Lübisches town charter for Stralsund|
|1256||Start of construction on the city wall of Stralsund|
|1266||Luebian law for Wismar|
|1267||Large fire destroyed the old town of Wismar|
|1276||Start of construction of the city wall of Wismar|
|1293||Wismar and Stralsund join the Hanseatic League|
|1370||Peace of Stralsund to end the war of the Hanseatic League against Denmark|
|1648||Stralsund and Wismar ceded to Sweden in the Peace of Westphalia|
|1803||Pledging of Wismar from Sweden to Mecklenburg-Schwerin|
|1815||Connection of Stralsund to Prussia|
|1945||Connection of Stralsund with Western Pomerania to Mecklenburg|
Medieval Hanseatic cities
With their maritime location, the medieval townscape and their invaluable contribution to the development of church architecture and brick Gothic, the old towns of Wismar and Stralsund are an excellent example of the cultural heritage of the Hanseatic League. Both cities have been on the World Heritage List since 2002. The extensively preserved historical structure of the two Hanseatic cities is particularly valuable. Gothic brick churches, magnificent town houses and warehouse buildings as well as the medieval harbor basin in Wismar are still reminiscent of the heyday of the city union in the 14th century, when the two cities were important political and economic centers.
The old town of Stralsund is located on an island core between the Strelasund, an arm of the Baltic Sea, and the Franconian and Knieperteiche, which were built up in the 13th century. Although important buildings from the late Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist periods can also be found in the old town, the influence of the Middle Ages is still influential today: In the 14th century, Stralsund was the most important city in the entire southern Baltic region, along with Lübeck. In 1370 the peace negotiations with Denmark took place there, which finally culminated in the Stralsund Peace. The high brick merchant houses are characteristic of the medieval townscape. They are usually about nine feet wide; The living and business rooms were on the ground floor, and the storerooms above. The facades of their gables are often with pillars, Decorated blind arches and pinnacle turrets. An excellent example of the city’s medieval architecture is the Wulflamhaus (before 1358) on Alter Markt No. 5, the former residence of the mayor’s family of the same name.
The core of the old town of Wismar is formed by the 10,000 m² market square and the historic harbor. These buildings still convey an authentic picture of the time when the city was rich and known all over the world. The decisive factor for UNESCO, however, was the fact that Wismar is the only Hanseatic city in the southern Baltic region that has been preserved in such a large and unified area.
Wismar and Stralsund have been able to preserve their medieval townscape to this day. In Wismar in particular, the old quarter and parcel structures have been preserved almost unadulterated. In between, impressive solitary buildings such as churches, monasteries or the town halls of the two cities, which interact excellently with the city’s residential buildings, impress. In Stralsund you can also see significant sections of the city wall with some Wiek houses on Knieperwall and near the Johanniskloster. The Kniepertor (beginning of the 14th century) in the north and the Kütertor (1446) in the west were also part of the medieval city fortifications.
Their rise as trading and port cities was decisively favored by the location of Wismar and Stralsund on the Baltic Sea. Old trade routes met in both Wismar and Stralsund, including the “Via Regia”, one of the most important medieval trade routes. Wismar is protected from the open sea by the island of Poel to the north of the city, while the Dänholm safeguards Stralsund. The cityscape of the two Hanseatic cities is largely determined by their ports. Storage buildings and loading facilities shape the front of the lake, and the entire old town seems to be oriented towards the port. This close interplay of city and sea is particularly beautiful in Wismar, where the medieval harbor basin is still largely preserved today.