Rostock, Germany

Rostock in northern Germany proudly displays its Medieval landmarks, many of which were built during the 13th century including a monastery, churches, fortified walls and city gates. This delightful harbor town is a short distance from the Baltic Sea.

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1 Busch Tower in Rostock, Germany

During the Middle Ages, Rostock was surrounded by stone walls. They averaged ten feet high and 3.5 feet thick. Outside the wall was a moat. Inside were platforms behind the battlements for soldiers to stand on during battle. Interspersed along the rampart were six, octagon-shaped towers. The Busch tower is all that remains of the original defenses. It was reconstructed on the foundation of a previous tower in 1825. In the background is the spire of the Steintor gate.

Hinter der Mauer 1, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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2 Town Hall in Rostock, Germany

Portions of the Town Hall in Rostock date back to the 13th century when a few elaborate gable houses were expanded to form the Rathus. Behind its pink, baroque façade are seven towers. Inside were some interesting features such as the prison and torture chamber in the basement and a ratskeller that served beer. Apparently some things do not change. The Ratskeller is now a restaurant and the building still serves as the city’s administrative headquarters.

Neuer Markt 1a, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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3 Gable Houses at Neuer Markt in Rostock, Germany

These six gabled houses – Neuer Markt 11 through 16 – were constructed from the Middle Ages through the 19th century. They were rebuilt after being heavily damaged during WWII. The most interesting building along the New Market is Rats Apotheke at Neuer Markt 13. This Town Hall Pharmacy originated in 1260. Back then, the Neuer Markt was also the location of a pillory. Its wooden frame secured a criminal’s head and hands during public humiliation.

Neuer Markt 12, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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4 Produce Stall at Neuer Markt in Rostock, Germany

The New Market is a huge square (295 by 260 feet) in Rostock’s city center. On Saturdays, they host a farmers market with stalls full of tempting produce, flowers and crafts. It is worth bringing your appetite and then leaving with a sack full of fresh fruit and vegetables. Across the street from Neuer Markt are the tram and train station plus the Town Hall.

Neuer Markt, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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5 Seagull Statue at Neuer Markt in Rostock, Germany

Waldemar Otto is a prolific and contemporary German sculptor best known for his stylistic human figures. He would probably be amused that someone wrapped a scarf around his gull on a cold spring day. The seagull stands on a long post in the center of Sea Gull’s Fountain. The fountain is surrounded by four sculptures of water gods. Möwenbrunnen was erected at Neuer Markt in 2001. In the background are two steeples of St. Mary’s Church.

Neuer Markt 18055 Rostock, Germany
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6 St. Mary’s Church in Rostock, Germany

St. Mary’s Church became Rostock’s main church when its first phase was completed in 1279. Marienkirche was expanded in 1290, 1398 and 1454. Although it was hit during the WWII Allied bombings, it is the only town church not heavily destroyed by fire so inside are numerous, centuries-old adornments. Thanks to a significant effort by the Lutheran Diocese of Mecklenburg, this Gothic brick church is undergoing an extensive renovation scheduled for completion in 2018. St. Mary’s Church is located adjacent to the Neur Market square.

Bei der Marienkirche 2, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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7 Astronomical Clock Inside St. Mary’s Church in Rostock, Germany

The Rostock Astronomical Clock was built in 1472 and restored in 1643. This historic timepiece stands behind the altar of St. Mary’s Church. This top half features a procession of the Apostles. They circle the figure of Christ everyday at noon. Just below it are hands displaying the time, zodiac, phases of the moon and sun. This masterpiece was created by clockmaker Hans Düringer. According to legend, after he created a similar clock in Gdańsk, Germany, the authorities were going to blind him so he could never duplicate it. Instead, he escaped to Rostock and was given sanctuary in exchange for building this clock. The inner clockworks are original.

Bei der Marienkirche 2, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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8 High Altar Iconostasis in St. Mary’s Church in Rostock, Germany

This iconostasis in the north chapel of St. Mary’s Church is from the high altar of St. Nikolai Church which is also located in Rostock. The intricate, painted carvings from the late 15th century shows a group of people. The ensemble includes the Virgin Mary and Mary Magdalene as they grieve during the crucifixion of Christ and two thieves. The statues along the row parallel to the cross are the Apostles.

Bei der Marienkirche 2, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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9 Kröpeliner Straβe From University Square in Rostock, Germany

The “Kröpi” is the nickname for a long street in the middle of Rostock where shops and restaurants are tucked inside brightly colored and renovated row houses. Many of these gabled buildings were constructed during the 15th and 16th centuries by rich merchants. This view of Kröpeliner Straβe is seen from the Universitätsplatz or University Square. Notice the yellow building on the right. It is the tourist information office.

Universitätspl. 6, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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10 Joy of Life Fountain in Rostock, Germany

The Joy of Life Fountain has been in the center of the University Square in Rostock since 1980. These interesting yet often controversial sculptures were created by Jo Jastram and Reinhard Dietrich. Brunnen der Lebensfreude symbolizes the end of WWII and the city’s rebirth. It is unofficially nicknamed the Porn Fountain for obvious reasons. In the background is the main building of the University of Rostock.

Universitätspl. 6, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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11 University of Rostock Main Building in Rostock, Germany

The façade of the University of Rostock’s main building tells a rich story. Below the coat of arms are two dates. 1419: the year the school was founded by Pope Martin V (relief above the portal). 1867: when Carl Friedrich von Both (bust upper left corner) laid the foundation stone for this beautiful neo-Renaissance structure while he was the university’s Vice Chancellor. Also displayed are several herzogs (dukes) of Mecklenburg. Plus you will see virtues inscribed such as justice, diligence, prudence, modesty and patience. Universität Rostock, one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe, now educates over 15,000 students.

Universitätspl. 1, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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12 Monastery of the Holy Cross Church in Rostock, Germany

The Monastery of the Holy Cross was founded in 1270 by Margaret Sambiria. She was the Queen Consort of the Danish King Christopher I. This was the convent for the Roman Catholic order of Cistercian nuns for 650 years until it was dissolved by the state in 1920. However, the remaining sisters were allowed to live there for the rest of their lives. The last abbess or head of the abbey died in 1981. Their church was constructed in 1360. It is now Universitätskirche or the church of the University of Rostock.

Klosterhof 7, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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13 Zoological Institute in Rostock, Germany

The Zoological Institute was established in 1775 and is part of the University of Rostock. They have an enormous library plus a specimen collection of animals, birds, marine life and insects used for research and teaching. Their most famous exhibit is the Rostocker Pfeilstorch or the white Arrow Stork. This bird was discovered in Germany in 1822 with an arrow from central Africa stuck in its neck. For the first time it helped to explain the migratory patterns of European birds. The institute’s yellow building was formerly the Court of Appeals.

Universitätspl. 4, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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14 Shoes Artwork on Kröpeliner Straβe in Rostock, Germany

While you are walking along Kröpeliner Straβe – a pedestrian street stretching from the Kröpeliner Tor to the Neuer Markt – you will be so busy admiring the centuries-old architecture you might ignore the retailers in this shopping district. However, this pair of high-heel shoes made from bricks will catch your eye. This attention-grabbing piece of art is at the entrance of the Easy Way shoe store.

Universitätspl. 8, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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15 Kröpeliner Tor in Rostock, Germany

During the Middle Ages, Rostock was fortified by tall walls and over 20 gates. The most impressive one was and still is the Kröpeliner Tor. This brick Gothic structure stands 177 feet on a historic street named Kröpeliner Straβe. Since the tower was built in 1270, it has been expanded and restored several times. For years a tram ran through the arch. Today, Kröpeliner Tor houses the Rostock History Workshop. They manage the town’s fortifications plus offer a library and displays about their history.

Kröpeliner Str. 49A, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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16 University Medical Center in Rostock, Germany

When the Universität Rostock was founded in 1419, one of its major fields of study was medicine. This makes the University Medical Center Rostock the 16th oldest medical school in the world. Among their countless successful graduates are three Nobel Prize winners. In 1919, Albert Einstein was awarded an honorary Degree of Medicine. The school specializes in regenerative medicine, biomaterial, implant and stem cell research.

Gertrudenstraße 9, 18057 Rostock, Germany
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17 Sidewalk Cafe in Rostock, Germany

When you are traveling in northern Europe and looking for some genuine cuisine, skip the restaurants with the tour buses out front. Instead, look for one where the bicycle racks are full. A great example is the Julius Krahnstöver Likörfabrik. The locals enjoy a delicious breakfast in the morning and then a cold beer at the end of the day on the outdoor patio. The Café Likörfabrik is housed in an old liquor factory. How can you go wrong with that legacy?

Große Wasserstraße 28 18055 Rostock, Germany
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18 Crucifixion Mural in St. Nicholas Church in Rostock, Germany

The St. Nicholas Church was built in the mid-13th century, coinciding with when Rostock joined the Hanseatic League in 1251. This was a powerful confederation of guilds that dominated trade in the Baltic region. The union collapsed in 1669. About three decades later, the 422 foot tower of Nikolaikirche Rostock also fell. The city and the oldest church in the Baltic were hit hard by incendiary bombs during WWII. Both struggled to recover. Today, the city is prospering. However, Nikolaikirche is no longer a church. Now it is used as an event hall and upstairs are apartments and offices. This mural of the crucifixion is one of the few paintings spared by the fire. It is unceremoniously covered by a sheet of Plexiglas near the former choir.

Bei der Nikolaikirche 1, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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19 Star of Hope Ship Docked at Marina in Rostock, Germany

The Star of Hope is a 52 foot, oak sailing ship. It was designed as a fishing rig when launched from a Scottish shipyard in 1936. The vessel is available for hire for event charters from its home port in Rostock. The Marina im Stadthafen Rostock sits on a wide portion of the Warnow River a short distance before it empties into the Baltic Sea at the town of Warnemünde.

Warnowufer & Am Strande 18055 Rostock, Germany
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20 St. Peter’s Church Tower in Rostock, Germany

Construction on St. Peter’s Church began in the middle of the 14th century and was not finished until the early 1400s. The most prominent feature is this 380 foot spire. The tower was added during the late 16th century. A quick tour inside of the basilica is interesting. However, many tourists claim the best part of Petrikirche is the 147 foot observation deck. If you are ambitious and physically fit, you can climb the 196 steps. Or for a small fee you can take an elevator to get a bird’s eye view of the city.

Alter Markt 2 18055 Rostock, Germany
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21 St. Peter’s Church Bell in Rostock, Germany

After the original 413 foot spire of St. Peter’s Church was stuck by lightening in 1543, the tower was rebuilt into a smaller, polygonal-shape. In preparation for its completion, this four-foot bell was cast by Peter Matze in 1548. When the tower burned down during a bombing in 1942, this was the only bell salvaged from the belfry. It is on display at the entrance of Petrikirche.

Alter Markt 21 18055 Rostock, Germany
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22 Ständehaus Now Higher Regional Court in Rostock, Germany

This stunning red brick, Neo-Gothic building in the Steintor-Vorstadt district was the Ständehaus Rostock when it was built in 1893. The House of the Estates served as the meeting house and administration offices for nobles, knights, land owners and the parliament until 1918. Today it is occupied by the Higher Regional Court of Rostock.

Wallstraße 3 18055 Rostock, Germany
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23 Close Up of Ständehaus Facade in Rostock, Germany

In the center of this close up of the Ständehaus Rostock is the Seven-span Mecklenburgisches crest. This coat of arms for the Mecklenburg state representing its seven lordships. The bull was the image for this historical region in northern Germany while the griffin symbolized Rostock. The four statues on this courthouse are the likeness of famous Mecklenburg princes from the 16th through the 19th centuries. They were sculpted by Ludwig Brunow and Oskar Rassau.

Wallstraße 3 18055 Rostock, Germany
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24 Steintor Gate in Rostock, Germany

This view of the Steintor gate would have been seen as you approached the former fortified walls of Rostock when the tower was built in 1577. Its brick structure is supported by protruding logs and it is adorned with the city’s coat of arms. This is the only city gate in the Dutch Renaissance style in allegiance to Prince Albrecht. He conquered Rostock in 1566. The Stone Gate was reconstructed in the first half of the 1950’s after being damaged during WWII air raids.

Steinstraße 1, 18055 Rostock, Germany
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Wild Roses Growing on Window in Rostock, Germany

Often the simple things in nature are the most beautiful like this vine of wild roses growing across a building’s window. It is reminiscent of the anonymous German quote: “You can complain because roses have thorns or you can rejoice because thorns have roses.” A similar version of this phrase was first written by a French journalist named Alphonse Karr in 1853.

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