Set in a romantic location on a small island in Lake Schwerin, Schwerin Castle is one of Europe's foremost examples of historicist architecture. The island location chosen for the original Slav stronghold, first documented in 973, offers many strategic advantages. But the current five-wing castle owes its current appearance to Grand Duke Friedrich Franz II of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, who commissioned it to be rebuilt. The architects involved were the finest of their age: 653 rooms are contained within this work of magnificence, most of them with marquetry floors, exquisite carvings, gilding and ceiling stucco work. The pièce de résistance is the throne room, with columns made from Carrara marble and gilded cast-iron doors. Then there is the splendid ancestral gallery, the dining room with its intricate panelling and the round tower room, designed as a garden salon, which offers a panoramic view of the lake. An exceptional porcelain collection and regular concerts complete the long list of highlights. A special part of the appeal, however, lies within the baroque gardens that surround the castle, which is now also home to the regional government. Nearby attractions: discover the splendour of brick Gothic architecture in Hanseatic Rostock, the largest town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, or UNESCO-listed Wismar. The historic centre of Wismar is typical of an established Hanseatic town during the trading alliance's 14th century heyday. Friedrichsmoor hunting lodge is a small but perfectly formed country house, and is best suited to a spot of rest and refreshment after a walk in the surrounding countryside.