| The state of Mecklenburg-West
Pomerania contains a long stretch of Baltic coast, on which
lies the former Hanseatic port of Rostock. It is primarily a rural
state, with many lakes in the Mecklenburgische Seenplatte
region to the south, and is popular for water-based and cycling
holidays, as well as its beaches.
The University was founded in 1419 and was the first in Northern
Europe. Attractions in Rostock include the elegant burghers’
houses in Thälmann Square, the 15th-century
Town Hall, the late Gothic St Mary’s Church with its 15th-century
astronomical clock and Baroque organ and the district of Warnemünde
with its fishing harbour and seaside resort. The Schifffahrtsmuseum
(Museum of Navigation) tells the story of seafaring from Viking
times. Kröpelin Gate houses the City History Museum.
State capital, founded in 1160 and still a very charming town. Schwerin
Castle, on the lake of the same name and surrounded by
a terraced garden crossed by a canal, was for many decades the residence
of the Dukes of Mecklenburg and is one of the finest examples of
German Gothic architecture. In the historic old quarter of the city
are the well-preserved Gothic Cathedral, the Town
Hall and an interesting museum with collections of French, German
and Dutch paintings from the 17th, 18th and 19th centuries as well
as a fine baroque opera house.
Greifswald, a small university town to the east of Rostock, has
original 15th-century burghers’ houses and is part of a medieval
fishing village. Birthplace of painter Caspar David Friedrich,
radical alterations to the city’s appearance resulted from
construction of new residential areas and industrial zones in the
post-war period. The ‘White Fleet’
of passenger boats serves all the coastal ports, and calls at Hiddensee
Island, an island with no cars and a large protected bird
The island of Rügen, with its nature reserve
and famous chalk cliffs, is Germany’s largest and a popular
holiday destination. From Bad Doberan, 9 miles
west of Rostock, it is possible to take the ‘Molli’
narrow-gauge railway to Germany’s oldest seaside resort, Heiligendamm.
Notable at Wismar is the huge market square, covering 10,000 sq
m (12,000 sq yards).