After spending the night in Rostock, I arrived in Wismar early in the morning after the little over 60 kilometer long car journey. I looked up the hotel I booked and parked the car. Then I went straight to the old city to look at its sights and after a short walk I was inside the old city center. I immediately took Wismar to my heart.
Lilla Wismar, about 44,800 inhabitants, has a well-preserved city center with beautiful old houses with stair gables and cobbled streets. During the Hanseatic period in the 14th century, Wismar was an important and prosperous city. During a large part of the 17th and 18th centuries, the city was in Swedish ownership. Wismar’s old town was added to the UNESCO World Heritage List in 2002.
The following sights I looked at during my two days in Wismar. All are on the UNESCO World Heritage List.
St Georgen Kirche, St Georgskyrkan , is one of Wismar’s main churches and a unique example of the North German brick Gothic. The church began to be built in the 1290s. During the 14th century, a larger basilica-type cow was added. In 1404, extensive work began to rebuild St. George’s Church into a basilica. Once upon a time, it was the artisans ‘and traders’ own sanctuary.
St. George’s Church was badly damaged during World War II and was later further destroyed. During the years 1990 – 2007, the renovation of the interior of the church began.
From St. George’s Church I went on to the Fuerstenhof Palace , which was started in 1542 by Duke Albrcht in late Gothic. In 1553 a new part was built in the Italian Renaissance. For a long time, the Fuerstenhof served as the summer residence of the Dukes of Mecklenburg. When the city was taken over by the Swedes in 1648, the building was transformed into their highest court. Since 1876, the building has been used by the city’s judiciary. In 2002, a long-standing renovation of the Fuerstenhof was completed.
After Fuerstenhof, it was time to look at the Marienkirche, the Church of St. Mary, or really what remains of the church. The only thing left today of the once impressive church is the 80 meter high church tower that can be seen all over the city.
The Church of St. Mary began to be built around 1270 and became one of Wismar’s largest churches. During the Middle Ages, the tower was a landmark for ships calling at the port of Wismar. The church was badly damaged by bombs during World War II and in 1960 the entire church was demolished except for the tower. St. Mary’s Church was considered one of the most beautiful brick churches in northern Germany before it was destroyed by bombs.
The walk continued to the Heiligen-Geist-Kirche, the Church of the Holy Spirit , which was originally a hospital founded in 1250. In the early 14th century, the church began to be built, which was consecrated in 1326.
Heiligen Geist Kirche has a beautiful interior, especially the beautifully decorated roof with its images from the Old Testament. These were added in 1678.
From Heiligen Geist Kirche I walked around the central part of the city and admired the beautiful old gable houses that there are many of. The gable houses on Krämerstrasse, one of the city’s oldest streets, form a beautiful background with St Nicolai Kirche in the background.
On the way to Marktplatz, Wismar’s large square , which with its 10,000 square meters is one of Northern Germany’s largest squares, I passed the former city pharmacy which is located in a beautiful gable house.
On and around the square there are many beautiful, World Heritage listed buildings. In the northern part is the magnificent City Hall . To the east of the town hall are several gable houses. Perhaps the most famous is “Der alte Schwede” built in the 1380s. Der Alte Schwede is one of the city’s oldest houses. On the ground floor there is a popular restaurant.
Another beautiful building on Marktplatz is Wasserkunst, the old well that supplied the city’s residents with water until the water supply was modernized in 1897. In 1602, Wasserkunst was built over the old wooden well where the city’s residents have collected their water since the 16th century.
From Marktplatz I walked towards Nicolaj-kirche. On the way there I passed several beautiful gable houses. One of the finest was the Schabbellhaus , built between 1569 and 1571. The builder was Philipp Brandin, the same man who was responsible for the construction of Wasserkunst. Schabbelhaus has been both a brewery and a residential building for Mayor Hinrich Schabbell. During my visit, the house was being renovated.
Just outside the house is “Die Grube”, the mine, which is one of Germany’s oldest canals that runs through a city. In the middle of the 13th century, the Die Grube canal was used as a water supply for the city’s inhabitants and water was also taken here to put out fires. Along the canal, there have been mills driven by the flowing water. At the end of the canal, at Runde Grube, is a beautiful half-timbered house built in the 17th century.
Not far from the Schabbellhaus is the mighty St Nikolai Kirche, the Nicolai Church, built between 1381 and 1487. It is one of Central Europe’s largest churches. The church tower is 120 meters high and the nave has a height of 37 meters. Nikolaikyrkan was the church of the sailors and fishermen, Skonarskepparna had its own altar in the church.
From St Nikolai kirche I took the street die Frische Grube towards the harbor. Die Frische Grube is one of Wismar’s oldest streets and runs along the old canal. I turned north to look at several beautiful gable houses before I went out to the harbor via the city gate Wassertor.
Wassertor, the Water Gate , is one of the five major city gates that were in the city wall. Wassertor was built in the 1450s in beautiful late Gothic brick architecture. In the Middle Ages, the gate was part of the city’s fortifications. Wassertor was the only city gate you could enter the city from the harbor.
As I passed through Wassertor, I came to the old port. This is where the large merchant ships docked during the Hanseatic period. Today there are several fishing boats and boats from where you sell bread with fish in different varieties. Very popular with people on sunny days!
At the old port is the old customs house which is a beautiful brick building. From here I went north to Baumhaus, a large brick building from the beginning of the 19th century.
Baumhaus once played an important role in the port’s defense. It was here that the harbor was blocked off during the nights or in case of danger by tightening a large chain across the harbor entrance to prevent enemy ships from docking in the harbor. In front of Baumhaus are two of the city’s so-called Schwedenköpfe, the Swedish Heads, which are two busts representing Swedes. These are first mentioned in 1672. The originals, which were in another place in the harbor, were badly damaged by a Finnish sailor in 1802, so two copies of them were made and placed in front of Baumhaus.
My two days in the nice and interesting town of Wismar went way too fast but I had time to enjoy the visits to the sights in peace and quiet. More were left to watch. If you want to go deep into the architecture and history, you should probably stay a third day.
I liked Wismar for the beautiful architecture, the history of the city and the tranquility that prevails in the city. I can very well imagine coming back!