Top Historic Sights in Stralsund, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Stralsund

City Hall

Together with St. Nicholas´ Church, the City Hall facade forms one of the city’s most splendid sights in Stralsund. The complex, originally composed of two long parallel wings, was originally used as a place for merchants to trade, with small shops and stalls on both sides of the inner courtyard as well as in the 'Butter Passage' that led through the City Hall from Ossenreyerstrasse to the former mai ...
Founded: 1278 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

Historic Centre of Stralsund

The medieval towns of Wismar and Stralsund were major trading centres of the Hanseatic League in the 14th and 15th centuries. In the 17th and 18th centuries they became Swedish administrative and defensive centres for the German territories. They contributed to the development of the characteristic building types and techniques of Brick Gothic in the Baltic region, as exemplified in several important brick cathedrals, the ...
Founded: 1240 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

St. Nicholas' Church

St. Nicholas' Church is the oldest of the three major parish churches of the Hanseatic city of Stralsund. The construction began as a hall church with a tower in 1234, after Stralsund acquired city rights. After 1270, the unfinished St. Nicholas' Church was rebuilt as a basilica, following the design of St. Mary's Church in Lübeck. The just-completed choir of the church hall had to be demolished to make way for the choir ...
Founded: 1234 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

St. Mary's Church

St. Mary's Church (Marienkirche) is a large Lutheran church built some time before 1298. It is architecturally Gothic, an example of the brick gothic style prevalent in northern Germany. Between 1625 and 1647, it was the tallest building in the world at 151 metres tall. The bell tower collapsed in 1382, and was rebuilt by 1478. In 1495, the steeple tower blew down during a severe storm, and was then rebuilt taller. This ...
Founded: 13th century | Location: Stralsund, Germany

St. John’s Monastery

Founded by the Franciscans in 1254 St. John’s Monastery attracts its visitors with the monastery itself, a beautiful rose garden, the chapter hall, cross-shaped vaults and a baroque library. Furthermore, the monastery buildings house a much-used municipal archive, providing a broad collection of historical documents, records, books, old pictures and prints of the town.
Founded: 1254 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

St. Catherine's Monastery

St. Catherine"s Abbey in Stralsund is one of the few Northern German monasteries, whose Gothic substance has almost survived in its entirety. It was built by the Dominicans in 1251 and used as orphanage and public school after the Reformation. Nowadays, it is home to the famous German Oceanographic Museum and the Museum of Cultural History, offering a comprehensive collection of artefacts of the region’s histor ...
Founded: 1251 | Location: Stralsund, Germany

Saint James' Church

The Gothic St. Jakobikirche (Saint James" Church) was constructed as the last of the major parish churches at the beginning of the 14th century on the former divide between Stralsund’s old and new city sections. This church distinguishes itself significantly from the other church buildings in the city through its various glazed shaped stonework and the ornamental decorations on the screens and friezes. It is cu ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Stralsund, 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).