The Hanseatic City of Stralsund

Ozeaneum

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On Germany’s Hanseatic Baltic Coast, the medieval town of Stralsund sits directly on the shore of Strelasund—a narrow strip of the Baltic Sea, which separates the island of Rügen from the mainland. Located in the northeast of the German Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Stralsund has a population of about 58,000.

From its formation in 1234 until present day, Stralsund has preserved its medieval ground plan, especially the structure of the streets. The use of the town as a traditional port and maritime trading place is obvious. Many buildings, such as the 13th century Town Hall, the ”Wulflamhaus,” or the three big churches, represent the red Brick Gothic architecture of the medieval time.

From the 13th to the 15th century, by virtue of vigorous action and geographical position, the Hanseatic League dominated the main currents of commercial trade activity in northern Europe. It was an organization formed by north German towns and merchant communities abroad to protect mutual trading interests. The hierarchy group of “First Families” was the ruling class of communities including Hamburg, Bremen, and Lübeck, among others. The members of these elite families were of prestigious rank.

Red brick is dominant for Stralsund’s churches, abbeys, monasteries, town hall, and municipal buildings. The Rügen Bridge connects mainland Germany to its largest island.

Whether you are walking along the shores of the Strela Sound, wandering across Harbour Island or admiring ships from the North Pier (Nordmole), you’ll notice that the face of Stralsund is turned seaward. In the harbor, you’ll see the masts of ships dominating a short draw bridge that only opens a few times a day to let ships in and out of the main harbor.

The hull of the Gorch Fock I shines a brilliant white. The air carries the aroma of smoked fish and the sound of crying gulls. The area around Stralsund is not only a sailing paradise, but also an important seaport and shipbuilding location. Even the fish are wild about the Strela Sound, a fact that the recreational anglers greatly appreciate. Swimmers and children love to visit the Stralsund Beach.

Whether you have a passion for ships, fish, or history, Stralsund’s museums offer something for everyone. The Museum of Cultural History attracts visitors with its gold treasure of Hiddensee, the Oceanographic Museum (Meeresmuseum) and OZEANEUM fascinate guests with their awe-inspiring aquariums, and Marine Museum on the small island of Dänholm tells thrilling tales of adventure.

Anyone who loves historical architecture will feel right at home in Stralsund’s old town. Stately gabled houses, wall upon wall, within the confines of the old town form a foundation for three colossal red brick churches. St. Mary’s, St. Nikolas’ and St. James’ are impressive monuments that bear witness to Stralsund’s former wealth and status.

The Tourist Office of the Hanseatic City of Stralsund (Tourismuszentrale Stralsund) offers information, brochures and accommodation services to help you plan your holiday. Guided tours of the city, group tours, souvenirs and advanced ticket sales are also available. Tourist Office website

HISTORICAL REFERENCE

  • The town of Stralsund was founded in 1234, it's first name was Stralow.

  • In the 14th century, Stralsund became a member of the Hanseatic League and was the most important city in the Baltic region aside from Lübeck.

  • After 10 years of conflict and war the ”Peace of Stralsund” was signed between the Hanseatic League and King Waldemar IV of Denmark on May 24, 1370.

  • The ”Sundische Gotik” is an independent form of architecture which developed between 1330 and 1380 and symbolized the political power and economic growth of Stralsund as an important part of the Hanseatic League.

  • During the ”Thirty Years War” the town was under siege by Wallenstein, an imperial general. But Swedish troops came to defend Stralsund successfully. As a result Stralsund signed an alliance contract with Sweden. After the ”Peace of Westphalia” in 1648 Stralsund was completely under Swedish rule.

  • In the Swedish era many baroque gabled houses were built, especially since Stralsund became the political headquarter of Swedish Western Pomerania in 1720, an increase of administrative and residential buildings took place.

  • After the Congress of Vienna in 1815, Stralsund became a part of Prussia. The number of inhabitants increased severly and the industrial development supported the extension of the suburbs, the connection to the railway network and a traject ferry to Rügen.

  • After the end of World War Two, Stralsund became part of the Soviet zone and later of the German Democratic Republic. With the fall of the Berlin Wall and the reunification of the two parts of Germany Stralsund became part of the federal state Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.

  • In 2002 Stralsund and Wismar were inscriped in the UNESCO World Heritage List.

  • The new bridge to Rügen opened in 2007.

Sources:

https://www.stralsund.de/en/

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Hanseaten_(class)

https://www.ovpm.org/en/germany/stralsund

https://www.britannica.com/topic/Hanseatic-League