Top Historic Sights in Lübeck, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Lübeck

Hanseatic City of Lübeck

Founded in 1143 on the Baltic coast of northern Germany, Lübeck was from 1230 to 1535 one of the principal cities of the Hanseatic League, a league of merchant cities which came to hold a monopoly over the trade of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. The plan of the Old Town island of Lübeck, with its blade-like outline determined by two parallel routes of traffic running along the crest of the island, dates back to the b ...
Founded: 1143 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Town Hall

Lübeck Town Hall is one of the most beautiful town halls in Germany. From 1230, three gabled houses were constructed on the marketplace and extended over the next few centuries to ultimately create the Hansesaal (Hanseatic Hall) for meetings; and the Danzelhus (Dance Hall) for social meetings. Its interior boasts a grand audience hall: Don't be surprised to see the doors to this former courtroom have different heights. ...
Founded: 1230 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church is the third largest church in Germany. It was built between 1250 and 1350 and has always been a symbol of the power and prosperity of the old Hanseatic city, and is situated at the highest point of the island that forms the old town of Lübeck. It is part of the UNESCO World Heritage Site of the old Hanseatic City of Lübeck. St. Mary"s epitomizes north German Brick Gothic and set the standard for abou ...
Founded: 1250-1350 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church, once three-naved, was built between 1227 and 1250 and expanded in the 15th and 16th century to a five-naved Gothic hall church. The church roof was destroyed during the Second World War and was provided with an emergency roof in 1960. Reconstruction was only completed in 1987. Nowadays, St. Peter"s is no longer used as a church. Instead, the 800-year-old light and airy church interior has ev ...
Founded: 1227-1250 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Holstentor

Holstentor (Holsten Gate) is the most well-know symbol of Lübeck. The city gate was built between 1464 and 1478 along the lines of Dutch models. Its purpose served both as a form of defence and as a form of prestige. Above the round-arched gateway entrance of the twin-towered construction, the inscription CONCORDIA DOMI FORIS PAX (unity at home, peace abroad) can clearly be seen in golden letters. Nearly every visitor i ...
Founded: 1464-1478 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Jacob's Church

St. Jacob's church is easy to recognise from a distance as it has four spherical globes on the tower's helm edge. The three-naved Gothic brick hall church (built in 1334) has been the church of seafarers since the Middle Ages. It was consecrated together with St. Mary's and St. Peter's. Since the church did not suffer any damage during the 2nd World War, the boxed pew and historic organ are still intact. The small 'Stellw ...
Founded: 1334 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Lübeck Cathedral

Lübeck Cathedral is a large brick-built Lutheran cathedral in Lübeck, Germany and part of the Lübeck UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 1173 Henry the Lion founded the cathedral to serve the Diocese of Lübeck, after the transfer in 1160 of the bishop's seat from Oldenburg in Holstein under bishop Gerold. The then Romanesque cathedral was completed around 1230, but between 1266 and 1335 it was converted into a Gothic-style ...
Founded: 1173 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Catherine's Church

St. Catherine Church is a Brick Gothic church which belonged to a former Franciscan monastery in the name of Saint Catherine of Alexandria. The Church was built in the early 14th century. It is part of the Lübeck world heritage and used as a museum church and exhibition hall by the Lübeck museums since 1980. The exhibits include a copy of Saint George and the Dragon made by Bernt Notke for Storkyrkan in Stockholms Gaml ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Lübeck, Germany

European Hansemuseum

The European Hansemuseum is dedicated to the history of the Hanseatic League. The museum consists of a permanent exhibition with exhibits of original historical objects, interactive elements and staged historical scenes from the former trading ports of the Hansa Novgorod, Bruges, Bergen and London, as well as Lübeck. The original historical items displayed include documents, paintings and gold and silver coins from th ...
Founded: 2015 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Anne's Museum Quarter

St. Anne"s Museum Quarter was previously an Augustinian nunnery, St. Anne"s Priory. Since 1915 it has housed St. Anne"s Museum, one of Lübeck"s museums of art and cultural history containing Germany"s largest collection of medieval sculpture and altar-pieces, including the famous altars by Hans Memling (formerly at Lübeck Cathedral), Bernt Notke, Hermen Rode, Jacob van Utrecht and ...
Founded: 1915 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

St. Giles' Church

St. Giles' Church is the smallest of the five major churches in Lübeck's Old Town and is adorned with Gothic wall paintings and elements from the Baroque and Renaissance periods. It is the smallest of the five major churches in Lübeck's Old Town and lies at the centre of the former craftsmen's district and Ackerbürger on the eastern slope of the town centre's hill towards Wakenitz. Today's three-naved hall church dat ...
Founded: 1227 | Location: Lübeck, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Abbey of Saint-Étienne

The Abbey of Saint-Etienne, also known as Abbaye aux Hommes ('Men"s Abbey'), is a former monastery dedicated to Saint Stephen (Saint Étienne). It is considered, along with the neighbouring Abbaye aux Dames ('Ladies" Abbey'), to be one of the most notable Romanesque buildings in Normandy. Like all the major abbeys in Normandy, it was Benedictine.

Lanfranc, before being an Archbishop of Canterbury, was abbot of Saint-Etienne. Built in Caen stone during the 11th century, the two semi-completed churches stood for many decades in competition. An important feature added to both churches in about 1120 was the ribbed vault, used for the first time in France. The two abbey churches are considered forerunners of the Gothic architecture. The original Romanesque apse was replaced in 1166 by an early Gothic chevet, complete with rosette windows and flying buttresses. Nine towers and spires were added in the 13th century. The interior vaulting shows a similar progression, beginning with early sexpartite vaulting (using circular ribs) in the nave and progressing to quadipartite vaults (using pointed ribs) in the sanctuary.

The two monasteries were finally donated by William the Conqueror and his wife, Matilda of Flanders, as penalty for their marriage against the Pope"s ruling. William was buried here; Matilda was buried in the Abbaye aux Dames. Unfortunately William"s original tombstone of black marble, the same kind as Matilda"s in the Abbaye aux Dames, was destroyed by the Calvinist iconoclasts in the 16th century and his bones scattered.

As a consequence of the Wars of Religion, the high lantern tower in the middle of the church collapsed and was never rebuilt. The Benedictine abbey was suppressed during the French Revolution and the abbey church became a parish church. From 1804 to 1961, the abbey buildings accommodated a prestigious high school, the Lycée Malherbe. During the Normandy Landings in 1944, inhabitants of Caen found refuge in the church; on the rooftop there was a red cross, made with blood on a sheet, to show that it was a hospital (to avoid bombings).