Germany: Medieval Wismar.

Wismar

Wismar, Germany: the most detailed information about the city of Wismar, the main attractions with photos and descriptions, location on the map.

Wismar city, Germany

Wismar is a port city in northern Germany, located on the Baltic coast in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The pointed facades of the houses, the brick Gothic churches and the cobblestone streets give this small, photogenic city a traditional Hanseatic appearance. Although Wismar joined the Hanseatic League in the 13th century, it spent most of the 16th and 17th centuries as part of Sweden. Wismar is a city with a rich cultural and historical heritage and its historical center is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

Panorama of Wismar

Panorama of Wismar

History

Wismar was founded in the 13th century during the German colonization of the Slavic areas in northern Germany. The city is first mentioned in a document in 1229. Wismar was an important part of the Hanseatic League, which was first an alliance of merchants and traders from northern Germany and later grew into an extensive trading network of about 200 ports and cities. The basis of trade was mainly herring, beer and cloth. During the Thirty Years’ War (1618-1648), Wismar fell under Swedish rule, which it retained until 1803. Today, the old town of Wismar retains traces of history dating back to the Middle Ages, including several prominent brick Gothic churches and old houses.

Significant dates in Wismar’s history:

  • 1st half of the 13th century – Wismar received city rights.
  • 1259 – alliance with Lübeck and Rostock, which later grew into the Hanseatic League.
  • 1257 – 1358 – Wismar was the seat of the dukes of Mecklenburg.
  • 1376 – Plague epidemic.
  • 1648 – Wismar was ceded to Sweden and became a powerful Swedish fortress in the south of the Baltic.
  • 1803 – Sweden laid the city to the Dukes of Mecklenburg and became part of the German Empire.
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During World War II, Wismar was severely bombed. In 2002, the historic city center was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List.

How to get there

The nearest major international airport is situated in Hamburg. Rail links Wismar with Lübeck, Berlin, Rostock and other cities. The railway station is located almost in the center of the city within 10 minutes walk from the market square. Learn the schedule and buy tickets on this website – https://www.goeuro.com. It is very convenient to get to Wismar by car. Two motorways approach the city: the A14 to the south and the A20 to the east and west.

View of the city of Wismar

View of Wismar

Geography and climate

Wismar is located on the southern tip of the homonymous bay in the waters of the Baltic Sea. The city lies in a temperate climate zone with a maritime influence. Summers are warm, winters are fairly mild with average temperatures around 0 degrees Celsius. Throughout the year, about 600 mm of precipitation falls. The driest month is February. The largest amount of precipitation falls in summer.

Shopping, Shopping, Gastronomy

One of the centers of shopping and gastronomy in Wismar is the old port. In addition to the charming maritime atmosphere, here you will find cosy pubs and restaurants, stores with souvenirs and other goods. You can also buy fresh fish and seafood from the fishermen.

Wismar's sidewalk restaurants

Street restaurants in Wismar

A large number of stores and restaurants are located in the old town on the medieval winding streets.

Attractions in Wismar

The main attractions of Wismar are concentrated in the old town. The heart of the Altstadt is the market square or Markt. The size of the square is 10,000 square meters and it is one of the largest in Northern Germany.

Market square in Wismar

Market Square in Wismar

At the northern end of the square is the town hall. The modern building was built in the early 19th century on the site of an old Gothic structure, while retaining some original elements.

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Another interesting structure of the Markt is Wasserkunst. It is a small granite pavilion built according to a Dutch design in the late 16th century. Its function was to supply the central part of the city with drinking water.

Old Swede - the Medieval House of Wismar

The Old Swede – Medieval House in Wismar

A little to the left of Wasserkunst is the medieval house “Old Swede”, a reminder of Swedish domination. This brick Gothic style house was built in the late 14th century.

Another beautiful brick Gothic house is the Archdeacon’s House, built in the mid-15th century.

Among the old historic buildings of Wismar, the Schabbellhaus stands out. It is a brick building in the style of the Dutch Renaissance, which housed a brewery. The house was built in the second half of the 16th century and is one of the first buildings of this style on the Baltic coast.

Church of St. George

Church of St. George in Wismar

St. George’s Church is one of the three outstanding brick Gothic churches in Wismar. It is an important monument of Northern German architecture whose origins date back to the 13th century. This religious structure was considered a church of craftsmen and merchants, and its construction continued until the end of the 16th century. The 36-meter tower has an observation deck.

Not far from the church is the Fürstenhof, the old residence of the Mecklenburg nobility. The western wing was built in Gothic style in the early 16th century, the eastern wing in Renaissance style in the mid-16th century.

St. Mary's Church

Tower of St. Mary’s Church

The tower of St. Mary’s Church is a tall 80-meter brick Gothic tower. It’s all that remains of one of the most beautiful churches in Northern Germany. St. Mary’s Church was badly damaged during World War II. In 1960 it was decided not to rebuild it and it was demolished.

Church of St. Nicholas

Church of St. Nicholas

The Church of St. Nicholas is a masterpiece of Gothic architecture in Wismar. It was built in the 14th century and was considered a seamen’s church. The 37-meter-long central nave is the fourth largest of all medieval churches in Germany.

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Wassertor, or Watergate

Wassertor or Watergate

The Wassertor or water gate is the only surviving one of Wismar’s five medieval city gates. Their present structure dates from the mid-15th century with a typical late Gothic stepped pediment.

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Interesting tours

Nuremberg through the ages

€95 for the tour

Nuremberg through the ages

Hear the history of the most interesting places in the old city and get valuable tips from a local.

On both sides of the barricades: A walking tour of Berlin

€110 per tour

On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin

We’ll spend 3 hours immersed in the history of the capital and explore its key sights

Germany: Medieval Wismar.

Wismar is an old medieval city in which many monuments of antiquity have been preserved. Today it is visited by tourists no less than Lübeck or Hamburg. The city was once a bustling port, and before the Thirty Years’ War was ruled by Sweden for many years.

Germany: Medieval Wismar - Photo 2

Germany: Medieval Wismar.

What to see in Wismar

Most of the most important monuments are located in the Old Town area . It is worthwhile to stroll through the medieval streets and be captivated by the charm of the local houses. The dates written on their facades make the centuries-old history of Wismar visible.

Germany: Medieval Wismar - Photo 3

What to see in Wismar

The large square is one of the largest markets in northern Germany . The facades of the buildings represent different architectural styles. The brick, Gothic apartment building called the Old Swede is worth checking out . It is the oldest residential building in Wismar. Next to it is an Art Nouveau apartment building. The northern façade is closed by a neoclassical town hall.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 4

What to see in Wismar

Many tourists take pictures at the historic Wasserkunst well, built at the turn of the 16th and 17th centuries. Next to the well are two sculptures, copies of the original sculptures of brave townsfolk in the museum. They symbolize the two watercourses and are called “Adam and Eve”.

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Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 5

What to see in Wismar

St. Mary’s Church was built in the Middle Ages. Only the huge tower and bare foundations have survived. A new church was built nearby. Bricks from the ruins of the church were used as building materials.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 6

What to see in Wismar

Wismar was once the residence of the Mecklenburg princes, who built their place here – the princely court of Fürstenhof. The style of the palace is called the Jan Albrecht style, which financed the construction of many buildings modeled on Italian architecture with the frequent use of terracotta in the decorative elements. These buildings were reconstructed by architects in the 19th century. Many buildings were erected on the model of the times of Jan Albrecht I. Today the former residence of the princes is the district court. It’s worth going to the Fürstenhof courtyard to see the beautiful, preserved details: above the gates are reliefs depicting David killing Goliath and Dalila cutting Samson’s hair.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 7

What to see in Wismar

St. George’s Church was the youngest Gothic church in the city and was considered a prince’s church because it was next to the Fürstenhof. The wealthy townspeople also had their chapels here. Like St. Mary’s, it was severely damaged during air raids on the city. The church was rebuilt in 1990.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 8

What to see in Wismar

The Church of St. Nicholas is the best preserved Gothic church in the city. In the 19th century, some of the naves were rebuilt. Surviving equipment from other churches in the city was collected in the church. It is worth seeing historic paintings, medieval altar sculptures and carved pulpits. The small bridge around the church was decorated with carved figures of pigs. According to local stories, it was across the bridge that animals were driven to market in the city.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 9

What to see in Wismar

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The real attraction of the local port is an exact replica of the Hanseatic cogga Wissemara . This is a type of merchant ship that Baltic merchants used for centuries. Images of these ships have been found on many city seals of the cities of Elbląg, Stralsund and Wismar.

Germany: medieval Wismar - Photo 10

The ship was originally thought to have been built in Gdansk in the 16th century, but later research has rejuvenated the ship by about 200 years, and the origin of the wood has been described as Finnish. Currently, the cogga serves tourists going out to sea every few hours.

While in town, go to the marina and beach pier at Seebrueck Wendorf. Although the pier is narrow, it is long enough. Here you can rent boats and go on organized cruises, visit the waters of the Baltic Sea, sail around the bay where the city is located, and sail to other neighboring cities.

Wismar is a friendly city. Everything worth seeing is close together, and the residents are hospitable and cordial.

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