The grandeur and riches of the Hanseatic League in the 14th century could hardly be more vividly illustrated than in the historic centres of Stralsund and Wismar. Both towns boast virtually unchanged medieval layouts and extensively preserved architectural heritage from the brick Gothic period.
A centre of imperial and episcopal power for almost a thousand years, and often referred to as the Rome of Franconia, Bamberg stands on seven hills surrounded by beautiful countryside. Dominated by its imperial cathedral, the town is a unique and superbly maintained masterpiece of urban design, uniting medieval and baroque architecture.
Quedlinburg, which enjoys an idyllic location on the Romanesque Route , was an important royal and imperial town in the Middle Ages. With its historical layout and over 1,300 timber-framed houses from a period spanning six centuries, Quedlinburg is a fine example of a beautifully preserved medieval town. It also boasts a wealth of art nouveau architecture.
Regensburg, the town of emperors and kings, offers impressive perspectives of around 2,000 years of history. The centre has over 1,500 listed buildings; of these, 984 form the 'Old Town with Stadtamhof' ensemble, which became a UNESCO World Heritage site in 2006.
Lübeck, the undisputed Queen of the Hanseatic League, was founded in 1143 as 'the first western town on the Baltic coast' and provided a shining example for all the Hanseatic towns and cities along the Baltic. The medieval old town is one of the foremost examples of brick Gothic architecture and reflects Lübeck's illustrious past as an early centre of international trade.
This is where the roots of the modern European city of Hamburg lie: the historical Speicherstadt and Kontorhaus district with the famous Chilehaus are synonymous with Hamburg's rise as a global trading power – and are today a vibrant cultural quarter. Having survived the years without damage or alteration, this historical ensemble has now been granted UNESCO World Heritage status.