Queen of the Baltic Sea
This modern city offers a glimpse into the Middle Ages with more than a thousand ancient homes in its historic center. As the German capital of marzipan, it's also an excellent place to indulge your sweet tooth.
Lübeck, a German city in the region of Schleswig-Holstein, on the coast of the Baltic Sea, has always thrived thanks to a port infrastructure, which during the Middle Ages and centuries after, provided economic security. The city, which was founded in the twelfth century, was established as the capital of the Hanseatic League, which dominated trade, between the fourteenth and sixteenth centuries, across northern Europe. The Hanseatic League was an organization founded by the cities of northern Germany and German trading communities abroad to protect mutual commercial interests.
UNESCO-protected historic center has more than a thousand ancient homes, of substantial artistic value, which retain the splendor that Lubeck possessed when it was considered the queen of the Baltic Sea.
A walk through Lübeck’s monuments will transport you to centuries past. You should begin by inspecting the Petrikirche church’s bell tower, from there you can take in beautiful views of the city, then stroll through the streets, where you’ll see Backsteingotik buildings, with their characteristic Brick Gothic architecture. Just a few feet away, literature lovers will enjoy the Buddenbrookhaus, a museum housed in a 1758 rococo building, dedicated to Lübeck-born writer Thomas Mann, who won the Nobel Prize in literature in 1929.
The churches of the old town, which were built in the Middle Ages and are perfectly preserved, also merit a visit. The emblematic building that stands out on Lübeck’s horizon is the church dedicated to Santa Maria (Marienkirche), a Romanesque and gothic-style structure with a tower almost 400 feet tall. Other important and unforgettable churches include the 14th-century St. Catherine’s (Katharinenkirche), the church of St. James (Jakobikirche) and the small church of St. Egidio (Aegidienkirche). But the true iconic image of the city is the Holstentor Gate, the former entrance to the city, that exists in its gothic construction as a symbol of Lübeck’s commercial wealth. It is, by far, the city’s most photographed monument.
Lübeck, known as the first city on the west coast of the Baltic Sea, is a modern city, with many attractions for travelers who appreciate historic cities, canals and surprises.
Visitor wishing to indulge their sweet tooth should also know that Lübeck is the German capital of marzipan. I recommend you have a taste at Café Niederegger (opposite the town hall), where you can also visit a small museum, housed inside the café, that recalls the history of this ancient sweet.
My last recommendation is also epicurean. There are many wonderful places to enjoy a meal in Lübeck, but the restaurant Die Zimberei, at Königstraße 5, is a must. Once seated inside its charming and elegant dining room, you should order the Buddenbrook Menü, created to honor some of the dishes described in Thomas Mann’s extraordinary novel Buddenbrooks. ■
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