PHOTOS AND INFORMATION ABOUT THE HANSEATIC TOWN OF STRALSUND
|→ see 30 photos of Stralsund|
this website would like to offer you a detailed portrait of the Hanseatic city of Stralsund which is situated in the northeast of Germany opposite the island of Ruegen. Whereas the links will lead you to various sets of photos showing different aspects and views of the town, the following text will provide a brief introduction to the history and places of interest at Stralsund:
With its population of 60000 people,
Stralsund is the biggest town of Western Pomerania. Many of the
inhabitants have a job at the local Volkswerft shipyard. Tourism is
another important source of income for the town and its inhabitants.
Offering a lot of interesting museums and impressive ancient buildings the
historic town centre attracts many visitors every year.
Originally Stralsund and its surroundings were part of a large Slav settlement area on the Baltic Sea. During the 12th and 13th century German tribes finally immigrated to this region starting to take over gradually the leading role in politics and economy. The Slav village of Stralsund finally turned into a German settlement which was granted a town charter in 1234. Its inhabitants and traders participating in the trade network of the Hanseatic League brought tremendous wealth and power to the town in the Middle Ages. The gothic town hall and the three medieval churches still clearly show this splendour of past times.
Inside the town hall an important event of world history took place in the late 14th century which today is known as the Peace of Stralsund. Delegates of Denmark and the Hanseatic towns gathered in 1370 at this very building in order to conclude a peace treaty after a long war, in which Denmark finally had been defeated by the hanseatic towns for not having respected commercial privileges of the Hanseatic League. This peace treaty is said to indicate the height of power not only of the Hanseatic League, but also of Stralsund during the Middle Ages.
250 years later the town once again aroused the interest of historians: By order of the famous General Wallenstein it was besieged in 1628 by troops of the Catholic League during the Thirty Years´ War, but finally could not be occupied nor defeated for the following reasons: On the one hand, the town´s fortifications were the best ones of all places in the north of Europe. On the other hand, Sweden supported the inhabitants of Stralsund with food and weapons during the siege. Wallenstein was anything but amused not to be successful. Two years later in 1630, troops of the Swedish king went ashore at the village of Peenemuende setting Pomerania and Stralsund free from the forces of the Catholic League. The Swedes, however, stayed much longer. From 1648 until 1815 Western Pomerania including the town of Stralsund was part of the Swedish Empire. Some buildings dating from this period like the Commanders´ House have been preserved. By the way, the chemist Karl Wilhelm Scheele, one of the town´s most famous sons, was also born at Stralsund during the Swedish period.
At the end of 1944 20 per cent of the medieval town centre was destroyed by an air attack. The ruins of the former franciscan monastery´s church today continue to recall this tragic incident. Apart from that, nearly all the buildings in the medieval centre started to fall into decay after the Second World war because the former communist German Democratic Republic did not spend much money nor interest in preserving precious ancient houses. In the late eighties Stralsund´s historic centre looked rather like an ugly place which had been for the most part abandoned by its inhabitants.
However, this situation has considerably changed since the German reunification in 1990: Many ancient buildings of the historic town centre have now been restored. And there are only some years left to finish the complete restoration.
The map above illustrates that the historic town centre is almost entirely surrounded by ponds and the strait between the island of Ruegen and the mainland. In past times these ponds served to reinforce the medieval fortifications of Stralsund, but today they are part of the green spaces around the town centre. Many beautiful ancient houses dating from different eras line the medieval street network. The most impressive streets among them are Faehrstraße and Muehlenstraße. Among the medieval red brick buildings some traders´ houses, the town hall and the churches of St Nicholas´, St Mary´s and St James´ distinguish themselves by an outstanding archictecture.
Apart from that, the town centre offers an interesting variety of museums. The German Oceanographic Museum located inside the former dominican monastery and in a modern building at the harbour called Ozeaneum is the most popular of them. Another remarkable museum is a house of a medieval trader called Museumshaus ("Museum House") whose ancient architectural structure dating from the times of the Hanseatic League has been completely preserved. It is also situated in the street Moenchstraße ("Monks´ Street") near the New Market Place.
English language sites referring to Stralsund