Lübeck, Germany: the most detailed information about the city of Lübeck, the main attractions with photos and descriptions, location on the map.
Lübeck city, Germany
Lübeck is a city in northern Germany on the River Trave in Schleswig-Holstein. It is one of the largest ports of the country, the second largest city in the region, located in the Baltic Sea 58 km south-west of Hamburg. History and unique atmosphere, sights and monuments of brick Gothic architecture, more than 1000 historical buildings – all this is about Lübeck. The image of the city reminds one of its role as one of the founding members of the Hanseatic League, which earned it the nickname “Queen of the Hanseatic League”. Old streets, medieval merchants’ houses and old Gothic churches form the historical core of Lübeck. Recognized as a UNESCO World Heritage Site in 1987, today this prosperous provincial city retains many charming nooks and crannies.
Lübeck is the only city in northern Germany that has an extensive medieval old center, not inferior to Nuremberg, Regensburg and other cities of the south. Despite the fact that the historic center as well as the city itself was badly damaged by bombing during World War II, most of the old city has retained its unique features and atmosphere of the Middle Ages, has been carefully reconstructed and is included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. The center of Lübeck has to a large extent retained its original medieval layout. The historical core consists of seven Gothic churches, surrounded by parts of the old city walls with two of the four city gates left intact. One of Lübeck’s main landmarks and symbols is the Holstentor Gate, which was depicted on the German 50-mark banknote until 1990.
Lübeck Old Town
Lübeck is located in the expanse of the North German Lowlands, at the mouth of the River Trave, which flows into the Baltic Sea. The relief of the city is a slightly hilly plain.
Lübeck lies in a temperate climate zone with considerable maritime influence. Summers are usually warm and humid, winters are fairly mild with occasional frost and frequent thaws. Because of the influence of the Baltic Sea here is quite high humidity, during the year falls a lot of precipitation, which are distributed during the year rather evenly.
Lübeck was founded in the 12th century. It quickly became a free city due to its advantageous location, and achieved great wealth and power as the capital of the Hanseatic League from the 14th to the 17th century. The basis of the economy and wealth of Lübeck was considered the salt trade with other cities on the Baltic Sea coast and their exchange for valuable goods needed and demanded in Germany. Many old warehouses can still be found in the old harbor.
With the sea trade shifting from the Baltic to the Atlantic in the 17th century, the importance of Lübeck as a major trading city in Germany declined, and it lost its importance to the northern seaports of Bremen and Hamburg.
The streets of Lübeck
Milestones in the history of Lübeck:
- 1143 – the foundation of Lübeck on the site of an old Slavic settlement.
- 1226 – Lübeck became a free imperial city.
- 1361 – Lübeck became the center of the Hanseatic League.
- 1630 – The last meeting of the Hanseatic League cities in Lübeck.
- 1815 – Lübeck is included in the German Union as a Free Hanseatic City, in 1871 as a German Empire.
- 1933 – Lübeck loses the privileges of a Hanseatic city and in 1937 it loses its autonomy and becomes part of Schleswig-Holstein.
How to get to Lubeck
The nearest international airport is in Hamburg (HAM). The best way to get from Hamburg Airport to Lübeck is by train. The S1 commuter train (every 10 minutes) will take you from the airport to the main station in Hamburg and from there you can take the train to Lübeck. Travel time is just over an hour. A direct bus service between Hamburg Airport and Lübeck is no longer available.
Lübeck is about 60 km northeast of Hamburg and is easily accessible by car (A1 motorway). With the opening of the new highway A20 (Baltic Sea Highway) to Rostock, the accessibility of the city is even better.
The suburban trains from Hamburg and back run every 30 minutes on weekdays (every 60 minutes on weekends and holidays). The railroads also connect Lübeck with Berlin, Munich, Cologne, Frankfurt, Copenhagen, and other cities.
Lübeck and the city of Travemünde is a major Baltic ferry port. The ferry service connects the city to many cities on the Baltic coast, including St. Petersburg.
Evening in Lubeck
Shopping and shopping
The main shopping street in Lübeck is HÜXSTRASSE. More than 100 stores sell almost everything: from souvenirs, food, and alcohol to clothes and jewelry. Another famous shopping street is Fleischhauerstrase.
What to buy in Lübeck (souvenirs):
– Buy other Lübeck-related souvenirs at an interesting store between the market and St. Mary’s Church.
Gothic churches in Lübeck
The old city of Lübeck offers a wide variety of dining establishments to satisfy most tastes and food cravings. The Markgraf, Schabbelhauss and Schiffergesellschaft are in high demand. If you like beer, you should go to the Alfstrasse area. Lübeck is known for its high density of cozy cafes and “Kneipen” (“pubs”), so be sure to check out the little old streets. There you may find a very interesting and authentic place. If you are a fan of Mediterranean cuisine, you should visit Miera on Hüxstraße. You can also taste great wine there.
Lübeck sights on a map
The main attraction in Lübeck is the medieval Altstadt (old town), located on an island surrounded by the river Trave and canals. The main attractions of the old city are included in the list of UNESCO World Heritage Sites. Lübeck offers an amazing variety of different architectural styles, and the streets of the city will delight connoisseurs of architecture and history.
Altstadt, Lübeck. View from the River Trave
The historic center of Lübeck is not an open-air museum. It is a lively city center. Even so, there are many beautiful old buildings interwoven with modern structures and infrastructure, winding medieval streets and quiet old neighborhoods. A particularly well-preserved part of the Altstadt is the Koberg, located in the northern part of the historic center. And be sure to visit the Lübeck Gänge (passages and courtyards) – small streets with small houses and a charming atmosphere.
Holstentor in Lübeck
The Holstentor (Holstein Gate) is the symbol of Lübeck and the entire Hanseatic League. An imposing medieval gate from the 15th century in the style of brick Gothic architecture. Listed as a UNESCO World Heritage Site. The gate was part of the city fortifications and served as the main entrance to the city.
The Holstein Gate consists of two towers, the north and south, connected by a central bay. The towers are built in tiers of red and black brick, with windows in the form of loopholes. At present, there is a museum here.
Gothic churches in Lübeck
One of the special features of Lübeck’s old town are its seven Gothic churches. These magnificent monuments of Gothic brick architecture are among the symbols of the city. Let us tell you about the most interesting ones.
Church of St. Mary
The St. Mary’s Church is a monument of Gothic architecture, one of the most important sacral buildings in Lübeck, built at the beginning of the 14th century. Its construction began in 1250 and was completed in 1350. The grandiose Gothic building, formerly of the Franciscan order, is impressive in its size, its simplicity and the austerity of its interior decoration. The two spires reach a height of 125 meters and are visible from almost every part of the Altstadt.
Lübeck Cathedral is the cathedral, the largest religious building in Lübeck and the entire Baltic Sea coast. The foundations of the cathedral were laid in 1173 by Henry the Lion on the southern edge of the old city near the mill pond. Lübeck Cathedral is a grandiose three-nave building, one of the oldest monuments of brick Gothic architecture. It was severely destroyed in 1942.
Church of St James
St. Jacob’s Church is a Gothic religious structure in Lübeck, often referred to as “the church of the sailors.” It is a three-nave medieval church built in the first half of the 14th century. It is known for its 15th-century altar, 14th-century wall paintings, and 16th-century organs. The organs of St. James Church are among the best preserved in northern Germany. Unlike other churches in Lübeck, it was not damaged during World War II.
Church of St. Peter
St. Peter’s Church is an ancient Gothic church with five aisles, founded in the first half of the 13th century. From the top of the tower is one of the most beautiful views of the old city. The first Romanesque church was built between 1227-1250 and was rebuilt in the Gothic style in the 15th and 16th centuries. The church was severely damaged during World War II.
Church of St. Aegidius
The Church of St. Egidius is the smallest of Lübeck’s five ancient Gothic churches. It was built in the 14th century. It is located in the heart of the old artisan quarter in the eastern part of the old city. Decorated with Gothic frescoes and Baroque and Renaissance elements.
City Hall in Lübeck
The town hall is the oldest functioning town hall in Germany and one of the most beautiful buildings of its type in Central Europe. One of the architectural dominants of the historic center, which stands out for its arcades and small Gothic spires. It was the seat of the Hanseatic League until its dissolution.
Hospital of the Holy Spirit
The hospital of the Holy Spirit is one of the oldest hospital complexes in Central Europe, built with donations from wealthy merchants in the 13th century. The hospital complex consists of the hospital itself and a small church with frescoes and paintings from the 14th century. It is interesting to note that the hospital functioned here until 1970.
The Schiffergesellschaft (literally “ship’s company” in German) is an institution that has become a landmark in Lübeck. Located in an old building from the beginning of the 16th century. Offers a taste of the Hanseatic League, the times of merchants and daring seamen, as well as traditional cuisine.
Castle Gate and the Burgkloster
The Burgkloster is the most important monastery in Northern Germany and one of the best preserved medieval monasteries in the country. It is one of the most mysterious and mystical buildings in Lübeck. One of its visiting cards is the Castle Gate – a medieval construction from the 13th century with a mighty tower made of black and red bricks. Decorated with late Gothic and early Baroque elements. Also part of the medieval city walls are preserved here.
The old warehouses, Lübeck.
€95 for a guided tour
Nuremberg through the ages
Hear the history of the most interesting places in the Old Town and get valuable advice from locals
€110 per tour
On both sides of the barricades: a walking tour of Berlin
Be absorbed in the history of the capital and see its key sights for 3 hours
Lübeck is a city in northern Germany, located on the River Trave in the Schleswieck-Holstein region and is considered Germany’s largest port on the Baltic Sea. It is an ancient city with many ornate churches, merchants’ houses, narrow alleyways and warehouses that have been designated a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Lübeck is called the “Queen of the Hanseatic League”. Its official name is the Hanseatic City of Lübeck (Hansestadt Lubeck) .
Save money on a trip to Lübeck!
The city inherited its name from the Slavic settlement of Lubeck (1143) . In 1201-1226 it belonged to Denmark. Since 1226 it had the status of a free imperial town. From Lubeck in the XIII century German colonization of the Baltic coast began. In XIV century Lubeck was called the “King of the Hanseatic League”, the city was the largest and most influential member of the trading alliance which monopolized business on the shores of the Baltic Sea and in most parts of Europe. In 1375 Emperor Charles IV. named Lübeck one of the five “jewels of the empire”; the other four were rightly regarded as Venice, Rome, Pisa and Florence.
In the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Lübeck and the Hanseatic League won a series of victories in conflicts with Denmark and Norway over trade rights. They were defeated, however, because they took part in the civil war that broke out in Denmark in 1534-1536. After the defeat, Lübeck’s power diminished considerably.
During the Thirty Years’ War (1616-1648) it remained neutral. After the Napoleonic wars the Congress of Vienna in 1814 – 1815 recognized Lübeck as a free city, which remained until the inclusion of the city in the province of Schleswig-Holstein (1937).
The historic core of the city was severely damaged during World War II, in particular the five tallest church towers were destroyed.
What to see
The old town is located in the heart of the modern city. It is characterized by many church spires, including the spire of the city’s cathedral. The church was begun in 1173 on the order of Saxon Duke Henry the Lion as the cathedral of the bishop of Lübeck. Parts of the structure were destroyed in bombing raids during World War II, but it has now been rebuilt. Construction of St. Mary’s Church went on from 1250 to 1350, and today it is also an imposing landmark in the old city. It is the third largest church in Germany and the tallest building in the old part of Lübeck.
There are many famous museums in the area, as well as almshouses founded by wealthy merchants.
The narrow alleyways and streets of the Old Town feature Gothic-style houses with red brick walls and peaked roofs, as well as Renaissance, Baroque, and Classicist buildings. The imposing town hall, which is still active today, as well as the Art Nouveau State Theater and the Heiligen Heist Hospital can also be visited in the Old Town. Music by Brahms and Mozart can occasionally be heard through the windows of the College of Music.
A symbol of Lübeck is the Holsten Gate (Holstentor, 1466-1478), which has two symmetrical, pointed towers as part of the city fortifications. Above the arch is the inscription: “Concordia domi – foris pax” (Latin: “Concordia domi – peace around”) .
Not far from the Holsten Gate is the Gothic St. Peter’s Church (Petrikirche, Schmiedestrasse, XIII-XIV centuries) . From its observation deck, from a height of 50 m, you can admire the panorama of the city.
From St. Peter’s Church it is not far to the Market Square, where in the center of the Old City a beautiful medieval ensemble was formed. The main thing is the imposing town hall (1230-1570) – one of the most beautiful in Germany. It is called the “frozen fairy tale”. Its appearance combines Gothic and Renaissance features. Five elegant towers with spires, decorated with flags, look marvelous. We recommend a visit to the wine cellar (Ratsweinkeller), look into the “Admiralszimmer” and “bride’s room” (Brautgemach), located in the town hall.
Opposite the town hall is the Gothic St. Mary’s Church (Marienkirche, 1350). Particularly impressive is the Peace Chapel. It has two bells cast in 1508 and 1669. For several centuries the four-ton giants called citizens to prayer and peace every day until aerial bombs shattered them. A very evocative monument to war!
The two towers (125 m) have observation decks.
Lübeck has a sweet tooth and excellent marzipan. The recipe for Marzaban comes from Persia in the Middle Ages: 2/3 sweet almonds, 1/3 sugar and aromatic oils. Niederegger (Breitestrasse 89, opposite the town hall) has been selling marzipan since 1806.
On the Royal Street (Konigstrasse) the hospital of the Holy Spirit (Heiligen-Geist-Hospital, 1280) is located. It was built from funds of Lübeck merchants and could accommodate 170 elderly and poor sick people. It is the best preserved medieval hospital in Germany. It has an interesting late Gothic carved altar and frescoes (early 14th century).
From Buddenbrooks-Haus along Breitestrasse one and a half blocks to St. Jacob’s Church (Jakobikirche, 1334), popularly known as the Sailors’ Church. Here you can see a wave-wrecked rescue boat from the sailing ship “Pamir”. The training ship with the cadets sunk in 1957 near the Azores.
Opposite the church is the Seamen’s Company House (Haus der Schiffergesellschaft, Breitestrasse 2), which has remained almost unchanged since 1535. The Hanseatic captains, “sea wolves” once gathered here. A good restaurant with a traditional Lübeck interior can also be found in the old burghers’ house Schabbelhaus, Mengstrasse, 48-50.
The Great Castle Street (Grosse Burgstrasse) runs from the church of St. Jacob to the medieval castle gate (Burgtor, 1444, the roof was completed in 1685) . The only land road to the city once passed through the gate.
The Fuchtingshof (Glockengiesserstrasse 25; 1639), built for the widows of merchants and sailors, is located to the southeast of St. Jacob’s Church. It is one of the best monuments of the Middle Ages.
From the shelter – 700 m south to the almost completely preserved late-teachers’ monastery of St. Anne (St.-Annen-Kloster; St.-Annen-Strasse; ca. 1500).
The Romanesque cathedral (Dom) is in the southern part of the Old City. It was build in 1173 by Henry the Lion, after the model of Braunschweig Cathedral, but was rebuilt between 1241 and 1266 with a Gothic appearance. The rich interior has been preserved, including the baptismal font (1455), supported by three kneeling angels (1455), and the triumphal cross, carved from a 17-meter oak trunk (Triumphkreuz, 1477) by Bernt Notke of Lübeck. The cathedral belongs to the Protestant Church.
Lübeck is listed by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site.
In Lübeck you can take a tour on a pleasure boat along the marvelous harbor, the foundation of the city’s prosperity and power. The boats leave from the Holstenbrücke bridge opposite the old salt warehouse (Salz Speicher).
Famous Lübeck natives
The writer brothers Heinrich (1871-1950) and Thomas Mann (1875-1955) were born and grew up in Lübeck. The latter was awarded the Nobel Prize in 1928.
Lübeck-born Willy Brandt (1913-1992) was Federal Chancellor from 1969 to 1974. In 1971 he received the Nobel peace prize for his contribution to defusing tensions between East and West.
Museums in Lübeck
Historical Museum (Stadtgeschichtliches Museum)
Since 1950 it is located in the casemates of the Holsten Gate. A large scale model of the city, which reconstructs the appearance of Lübeck in the middle of the 15th century, is on display. Open: January to March mornings mornings and evenings 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., April to December mornings and evenings 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.
Here the interiors, familiar to readers from the famous novel by T. Mann, are recreated. Mann’s famous novel “The Buddenbrooks”. The original facade of the house (1758) of the Mann family (1841-1891) was preserved in spite of the extensive damage. Mengstrasse 4. Open: January to March Monday to Friday 11 a.m. to 5 p.m., April to December Monday to Friday 10 a.m. to 6 p.m.