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

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

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

Falkenstein Castle Ruins

Falkenstein Castle is located at 1,268 metres above sea level and it is Germany's highest located castle. The stone castle was built approximately 1270–1280 by Count Meinhard II von Tirol on the borders of his land (Tyrol). Because of the unusual situation of the castle it has been interpreted in historical context as a symbol of opposition to the Duchy of Bavaria. The name Castle Falkenstein only came into use in the 1 ...
Founded: 1270-1280 | Location: Pfronten, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Church of the Savior on Blood

The Church of the Savior on Spilled Blood is one of the main sights of St. Petersburg. The church was built on the site where Tsar Alexander II was assassinated and was dedicated in his memory. Construction began in 1883 under Alexander III, as a memorial to his father, Alexander II. Work progressed slowly and was finally completed during the reign of Nicholas II in 1907. Funding was provided by the Imperial family with the support of many private donors.

Architecturally, the Cathedral differs from St. Petersburg's other structures. The city's architecture is predominantly Baroque and Neoclassical, but the Savior on Blood harks back to medieval Russian architecture in the spirit of romantic nationalism. It intentionally resembles the 17th-century Yaroslavl churches and the celebrated St. Basil's Cathedral in Moscow.

The Church contains over 7500 square metres of mosaics — according to its restorers, more than any other church in the world. The interior was designed by some of the most celebrated Russian artists of the day — including Viktor Vasnetsov, Mikhail Nesterov and Mikhail Vrubel — but the church's chief architect, Alfred Alexandrovich Parland, was relatively little-known (born in St. Petersburg in 1842 in a Baltic-German Lutheran family). Perhaps not surprisingly, the Church's construction ran well over budget, having been estimated at 3.6 million roubles but ending up costing over 4.6 million. The walls and ceilings inside the Church are completely covered in intricately detailed mosaics — the main pictures being biblical scenes or figures — but with very fine patterned borders setting off each picture.

In the aftermath of the Russian Revolution, the church was ransacked and looted, badly damaging its interior. The Soviet government closed the church in the early 1930s. During the Second World War when many people were starving due to the Siege of Leningrad by Nazi German military forces, the church was used as a temporary morgue for those who died in combat and from starvation and illness. The church suffered significant damage. After the war, it was used as a warehouse for vegetables, leading to the sardonic name of Saviour on Potatoes.

In July 1970, management of the Church passed to Saint Isaac's Cathedral (then used as a highly profitable museum) and proceeds from the Cathedral were funneled back into restoring the Church. It was reopened in August 1997, after 27 years of restoration, but has not been reconsecrated and does not function as a full-time place of worship; it is a Museum of Mosaics. Even before the Revolution it never functioned as a public place of worship; having been dedicated exclusively to the memory of the assassinated tsar, the only services were panikhidas (memorial services). The Church is now one of the main tourist attractions in St. Petersburg.