Schwerin has just short of 100,000 residents, making it Germany's smallest state capital. It enjoys a picture-perfect location among a series of inner-city lakes that reflect the city's most famous landmark, Schwerin Castle.
City of the seven lakes, Florence of the North, cathedral city... Schwerin, which received city status back in 1164, is known by many names. And all are apt, as the city successfully combines nature and architecture, major artworks and reminders of its long history. As visitors cross the cobbled Marktplatz square and admire the city's largest ensemble of historical buildings in the central Schelfstadt district, they will soon realise that there is plenty to see and do here. The castle is the city's most famous landmark. Perched on a picturesque island with a surrounding residence ensemble, it is currently on the UNESCO Tentative List.
The best places to visit nearby include the castle gardens, State Museum, the Victory Column, the Old Palace and the State Chancellery. The highlight of the cultural calendar has to be the magnificent Schlossfestspiele castle theatre festival, an internationally acclaimed festival of opera. The Schwerin State Museums are also worthy of a capital city. The Gallery of Old and New Masters houses collections of Flemish and Dutch paintings from the 16th to 18th centuries, as well as conceptual artworks by Marcel Duchamp. The city boasts a prestigious calendar of events, with highlights including the Old Town Festival and the romantic 'Mäkelborg' Christmas market.