Historic city squares, old towns and villages in Germany

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

Bamberg Historic City Centre

Bamberg is located in Upper Franconia on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main. Its historic city center is a listed UNESCO world heritage site. Bamberg is a good example of a central European town with a basically early medieval plan and many surviving ecclesiastical and secular buildings of the medieval period. When Henry II, Duke of Bavaria, became King of Germany in 1007 he made Bamberg the se ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Bamberg, Germany

Neuer Markt

One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the Neuer Markt (New Market Square), with the Town Hall - that was originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style, but extensively transformed in the 18th century, with the addition of a Baroque façade and a banqueting hall. The square also preserved six original, carefully restored gable houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. The other historical house ...
Founded: | Location: Rostock, Germany

Regensburg Old Town

Located on the Danube River, the Old Town of Regensburg is an exceptional example of a central-European medieval trading centre, which illustrates an interchange of cultural and architectural influences. The property encompasses the city centre on the south side of the river, two long islands in the Danube, the so-called Wöhrde (from the old German word waird, meaning island or peninsula), and the area of the former ...
Founded: 11th century | Location: Regensburg, 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

Historic Centre of Wismar

Wismar is a unique representative of the Hanseatic League city type, with its Brick Gothic constructions and many patrician gable houses. It has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites in 2002, together with the historical core of Stralsund. Wismar has preserved its medieval harbour basin, whereas the island location of Stralsund has remained unchanged since the 13th century. To this day the unmistakable ...
Founded: 1229 | Location: Wismar, Germany

Bad Kissingen Spa Town

Bad Kissingen is a German spa town in the Bavarian region. Situated to the south of the Rhön Mountains on the Franconian Saale river, it is one of the health resorts, which became famous as a 'Weltbad' in the 19th century. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'. The town was first documented in the year 801 and was renowned above all for i ...
Founded: 16th century | Location: Bad Kissingen, Germany

Baden-Baden Spa Town

Baden-Baden is a spa town in the state of Baden-Württemberg. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spa Towns of Europe'. The springs at Baden-Baden were known to the Romans as Aquae ('The Waters') and Aurelia Aquensis ('Aurelia-of-the-Waters'). The known ruins of the Roman bath were rediscovered just below the New Castle in 1 ...
Founded: 18th century | Location: Baden-Baden, Germany

Feuchtwangen Old Town

Worth seeing in Feuchtwangen is the historic old town with its marketplace that is described as 'Franconia"s ballroom'. Also worthy of note is the former Benedictine monastery church with its Romanesque cloister, in which the craftsmen"s workshops are housed. Also, a fair amount of the town"s old wall still stands, dating from about 1400. Of the town"s original three gates, only one, the Uppe ...
Founded: | Location: Feuchtwangen, Germany

Landskron Castle Ruins

Landskron castle itself was probably built in the early 13th century. Is first mentioned in 1244. This castle was destroyed in 1257 and 1275 by the rebellion Oppenheim citizens. It was rebuilt in 1281. The castle burned down in 1621 during the Thirty Years War. In the Nine Years War, French troops blew up the keep in 1689 to keep. In the following years the citizens used the ruins as a quarry.
Founded: 13th century | Location: Oppenheim, Germany

Schongau Old Town

The important strategic position of Schongau on a defensible hill above the Lech means that it has a very long history of settlement. Finds from the Bronze Age have been made in the area, along with Roman remains. Schongau is surrounded by fortified walls built in the Middle Ages - parts of them can still be walked around - and those fortifications were built to protect the wealth created by its position on the river and ...
Founded: | Location: Schongau, Germany

Bad Ems Spa Town

Bad Ems is a town in Rheinland Pfalz, Germany. It is the administrative seat of the Rhein-Lahn rural district and is well known as a spa on the river Lahn. In 2021, the town became part of the transnational UNESCO World Heritage Site under the name 'Great Spas of Europe'. The town was first mentioned in official documents in 880 and received its town charter in 1324. The Counts of Nassau and Katzenelnbogen rebu ...
Founded: 14th century | Location: Bad Ems, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Varberg Fortress

Varberg Fortress was built in 1287-1300 by count Jacob Nielsen as protection against his Danish king, who had declared him an outlaw after the murder of King Eric V of Denmark. Jacob had close connections with king Eric II of Norway and as a result got substantial Norwegian assistance with the construction. The fortress, as well as half the county, became Norwegian in 1305.

King Eric's grand daughter, Ingeborg Håkansdotter, inherited the area from her father, King Haakon V of Norway. She and her husband, Eric, Duke of Södermanland, established a semi-independent state out of their Norwegian, Swedish and Danish counties until the death of Erik. They spent considerable time at the fortress. Their son, King Magnus IV of Sweden (Magnus VII of Norway), spent much time at the fortress as well.

The fortress was augmented during the late 16th and early 17th century on order by King Christian IV of Denmark. However, after the Treaty of Brömsebro in 1645 the fortress became Swedish. It was used as a military installation until 1830 and as a prison from the end of the 17th Century until 1931.

It is currently used as a museum and bed and breakfast as well as private accommodation. The moat of the fortress is said to be inhabited by a small lake monster. In August 2006, a couple of witnesses claimed to have seen the monster emerge from the dark water and devour a duck. The creature is described as brown, hairless and with a 40 cm long tail.