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Top 10 Things to do in Lübeck (Luebeck)

Lübeck was once the capital of the Hanseatic League, controlling the maritime trade from the Baltics to the North Sea, and thus gained a wealthy position which is reflected by the vast, old, but still very well-maintained buildings and architecture. Visiting Lübeck, you will mostly, if not only, find yourself strolling around on the small islet, comprising of the oldest and equally most charming part of the city. The sun had already set when we arrived in Lübeck and checking in to our hotel, which was located just a stone throw away from the old town on the small islet. The treasures of the city were hiding in the dark hours, so we had to settle for only a small glimpse of this charming place when we headed out for dinner on our first evening.

Holstentor is a gigantic city gate

1. Holstentor

“Holstentor” is a gigantic city gate, built between 1464 and 1478, which since 1950 has been turned into a museum of Lübeck's history. Being a wealthy city, strong walls and a massive fortification system were necessary to protect their wealth against external threats. However, the impressive size not only served to defend the city, it just as much represented its status. The gate marks the western entrance into the old town and you absolutely can’t miss it, nor will you be in doubt when seeing it. The gate comprises of the remains of the old city fortress which is the only remaining gate, together with “Burgtor” at the northern entrance. Lübeck’s landmark is, with its two leaning towers, a truly beautiful reminiscence from a bygone era and the top one of 10 things to do and see in Luebeck.

It’s time to dive into the world of marzipan

2. Niederegger

That one thing this city is most famous for, perhaps in the entire world even, is its marzipan. The water in my mouth literally starts running by the thought about it. Now, that you have entered the old town through the city gate, it’s time to indulge into the world of marzipan. In the heart of the city, you will find a building comprising of a store on the ground floor, a café on the first floor and a museum about the famous “Niederegger” marzipan on the top of the building. This café is a must visit for you, whether you are fond of marzipan or not. It is one of the best and most beautiful cafés in Germany and is equally known for its outstanding service. Spoil yourself with a visit and enjoy the unique atmosphere in the café, learn about how Johann Georg Niederegger established the patisserie in 1806 and turned it into a world-wide famous brand.

Lübeck - the city with the seven spikes

3. St. Mary's Church

Lübeck, the city with the seven spikes, towering high above the old town, hence embodying the unique skyline which has become the city’s landmark. The first of the five churches, is the “St. Marienkirche”, towering with an impressive height of more than 120 metres above the old town, thereby making it visible from most parts of Lübeck. The church was built between 1265 and 1351 and holds the record as the third largest church in Germany. This is not merely what makes it so special; the church is considered an outstanding example of a Gothic brick church. A little reminder to remember bringing your camera, since this church is stuffed with so many, gorgeous details.

The European Hansemusem is an impressive museum with original artefacts and plenty of interactive elements

4. European Hansemuseum

Oh, how I just love to dive into a city’s history – if only I could remember every single detail of all that is being taught in all the museum I have visited. To me, most trips start with a visit to the local museum to catch up on the history, culture and development of the city or even the whole country. For Lübeck being part of the Hanseatic League, is this the most significant chapter of the city’s history and eventually contributed to the development into being a city of great wealth. The European Hansemusem is a rather impressive museum with original artefacts and plenty of interactive elements about the last 500 years of history, making a visit to the museum both fun and interesting. This museum is the largest museum in the whole world dedicated to the history of the Hanseatic League which had an enormous impact on the European history. Being built in 2015, this museum is new and modern and has the historical Castle Monastery beautifully integrated in the building complex, forming a harmoniously scape.

These buildings are old storage houses for salt

5. Salzspeicher

Immediately after entering the city through the “Holstentor”, you will find yourself standing next to old, gorgeous buildings aligned to each other. Built between the years of 1579 and 1745 in the brick renaissance style, these buildings are old storage houses for salt which back in the old days was considered “white gold” and eventually contributed to the wealth of Lübeck. The salt was especially popular in the Scandinavian countries where it was used to conserve the fish. The direct location of the buildings at the river originates from the way the salt was transported at that time – on the river thereby having direct access to the storage houses. Naturally, times have changed and in the 1950’s a textile store moved into these old buildings. Even though you might not have had any plans for shopping, entering the store to admire the architecture and the history that follows along is very much worth your time.

The second of the five churches with its seven spikes - the St. Petri Church

6. St. Petri Church

The second of the five churches with its seven spikes, is the St. Petri Church, dating back to 1170 when being mentioned together with St. Mary’s Church – this is a time frame of over 800 years, incredible! However, it is unknown as of how the church looked back then. With countless adjustments and enlargements in the 13th century when the city gained great wealth, is what resulted in the church as it stands today. During WWII, Lübeck and its churches were attacked so severely that it resulted in the roof, tower and the richly decorated interior baroque style burning down. After that, the St. Petri church remained a ruin for several decades until the renovation in the 60’s took place. It wasn’t until 1987 that the renovation with the final touch on the interior was finished, handing back the church to its people.

Another famous tower in town – the Lübeck Cathedral

7. Lübeck Cathedral

Another famous tower in town – the Lübeck Cathedral, one of the oldest, historical monuments in Lübeck. Where once stood a wooden church, is now the place where the grand cathedral of Lübeck stands. It was in 1173 when Henry the Lion commissioned to have a cathedral being built for the Bishop of Lübeck. As it tragically is the case with many other churches in Lübeck, the cathedral, too, suffered severe damages during the bombing raid in 1942 which destroyed a great part of Lübeck’s historical centre. In fact, the vaults collapsed and eventually the church burned completely to the ground. After the war, reconstructions on the cathedral began but since the priority was given the St. Mary’s Church, the restorations weren’t completed until 1982.

During Christmas time, the Heiligen-Geist Hospital is a festive place to visit

8. Heiligen-Geist Hospital

During Christmas time, the Heiligen-Geist Hospital is a festive place to visit which, with its vast space, can accommodate a great number of booths. One adorable Christmas booth standing right next to the other when you enter the old hospital, is giving you such a Christmassy vibe. As moving further inside the building, you will find small rooms aligned to each other, each accommodating small shops with the finest handcrafted art works. These rooms were once accommodating the old, poor and weak back in the Middle Ages. Even though Lübeck was considered a wealthy city in the Middle Ages, there were still poor people living in the city who were dependent on alms and help from the rich merchants and councillors who happily contributed in believe of gaining a spot in paradise; thereby creating what is considered one of the oldest, social institutions in Europe in 1286.

Another famous tower in the city belongs to the St. Jakobi Church

9. St. Jakobi Church

Another famous tower in the city belongs to the St. Jakobi Church – the church of fisherman, sailors and seafarers. Whereas all of the other churches in Lübeck were either hit or completely destroyed during the bombing raid in 1942, this church remained undamaged, therefore making it even more interesting to visit. Well-knowing that the church was completed in 1334 and is still standing tall and magnificent with its original Gothic exterior, brings such great cultural and historical value. During Christmas time the church hosts a market with a choir entertaining in the background. Out front on the vast market space you can take a ride in the ferries wheel, shop for beautifully crafted art work or keep yourself warm with a hot mug of mulled wine.

The smallest of the five major churches in the old town of Lübeck is the St. Giles Church

10. St. Giles Church (Aegidienkirche)

The smallest of the five major churches in the old town of Lübeck is the St. Giles Church (Aegidienkirche) which dates back to the 14th century. A blend of Baroque and Renaissance elements are merging beautifully together in this church which is equally hosting numerous works of art and stunning Gothic wall paintings. In a city full of churches, this is the cosiest and quieter one, nevertheless a place worth to be mentioned and appreciated.


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