Cities & Culture

Lübeck: a northern city of beauty and intellect

Lübeck: Das Holstentor ist das Wahrzeichen der Stadt ©DZT (Francesco Carovillano)

Lübeck, the Queen of all the Hanseatic cities, was founded in 1143 as 'the first western city on the Baltic coast'. A Medieval ambiance and historical and cultural attractions still dominate the wonderful cityscape today and hark back to the city's glorious past as a Free and Hanseatic city.

As one of the most illustrious early seats of global trade, Lübeck has always been pretty special. Surrounded by water, the Old Town with its seven towers and five main churches is testament to 1,000 years of eventful history. As such, it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site in its own right, as the Gothic, Renaissance, Baroque and Classicist buildings, narrow lanes and streets, churches and monasteries, merchants' houses and fortifications come together to form a remarkable whole. An excellent example of Brick Gothic architecture, the St. Mary's Church features the world's tallest brick vault. Just a stone's throw away is the modern MuK music and congress hall, Lübeck's main venue for the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival.

Other significant buildings in the Old Town include the ensemble around the Town Hall, the castle monastery, the Koberg square, the district between St. Peter's Church and the cathedral, the Holsten Gate – the city's most famous landmark – and the Salzspeicher salt storehouses on the banks of the Trave River. Medieval Lübeck is the perfect place for an unforgettable stroll. And when the sun goes down, the city's numerous pubs, restaurants, bars and clubs come to life. A visit to the Heinrich and Thomas Mann Centre will guide you through the life and legacy of the illustrious literary brothers. And don't forget to sample the city's speciality: the world-famous Lübeck marzipan, which has been the sweetest temptation for as long as there have been almonds.

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