Hanseatic Town of Lübeck
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.
In 1987 Lübeck’s Old Town became the first in northern Europe to be named a World Cultural Heritage site. Surrounded by water on all sides, it has been dominated by seven church spires since the Middle Ages.
For centuries, Lübeck’s name stood for freedom, justice and prosperity. Today, all the many Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and classical buildings, narrow lanes and streets, churches and abbeys, merchants’ houses, craftsmen’s yards and fortifications still tell of the heyday of Lübeck. Surrounded by water, the Old Town with the seven spires of its five principal churches brings to life 1,000 years of history and has been protected as a UNESCO World Heritage site thanks to its outstanding brick Gothic architecture. The site includes the quarter around the town hall, the castle abbey, the grand old patrician town houses between St. Peter’s church and the cathedral, the salt warehouses on the banks of the Trave river and the Holsten Gate, the city’s most famous landmark, which is also an interactive museum.
A harbour tour is the perfect way to get new perspectives while watching the Old Town from the water, as is a visit of one of the thirteen museums, which are characterised by the town’s history and many renowned personalities. Lübeck was home to three Nobel Price laureates, which is why three of Lübeck’s museums are dedicated to them: the Günter Grass-House, the Willy-Brandt-House and the Buddenbrook House, which takes you right into the middle of the century novel by Thomas Mann. The seaside resort Travemünde is only a stone’s throw from the Old Town of Lübeck and attracts visitors with its big ships, the fine Baltic Sea beach and one of the most beautiful sailing areas in the world. The four-masted barque Passat, Travemünde’s maritime landmark, offers a splendid view on the seaside resort from the other side. The hustle and bustle of the ships on the Baltic Sea can be wonderfully observed from the front row in the Beachlounge with a cool drink in one hand.
Hanseatic City of Lübeck – The Old Town
UNESCO World Heritage since 1987
From the selection criteria
The preserved quarters of the Old Town show in their unity the medieval structure of the Hanseatic Town and represent a high-ranking European monument.
- The plan of the Old Town with its blade-like outline determined by two parallel routes of traffic dates back to the beginnings of the city and attests to its expansion as a commercial centre of Northern Europe.
- The overall impression of the Old Town is reinforced by individual architectural highlights of ecclesiastical and profane character.
Lübeck has an exemplary character for the Hanseatic city family in the Baltic region.