The Baltic coast is known for being windy, cold, harsh and yet a happy and vibrant place. Last year I spent a week travelling the Baltic coastline of northern Germany, from Hamburg to Lubeck, to Rostock and Berlin. I wanted to show you some of my favourite castles and mansions that you can see in this rather isolated part of Germany. I think that some people think of Germany as being very modern, functional and scientific, but in truth it's a country absolutely packed with medieval history and amazing architecture!I was really lucky to have this area suggested to me by a friend when we were planning a road trip, and I think that without his influencing our decision, I would never have gone to the cold but excellent Baltic Coast!
One of the most interesting, weird and beautiful buildings I have ever seen, the Holsten Gate is a hunk of brick and history, dating back to the early 15th Century. Lubeck is full of amazing architecture, all incredibly solid and thick and lasting. The sense of cold and toughness about the Baltic/Hanseatic area cities are matched by the solidity of the buildings here. There is also a mixture of smaller, winding medieval street design alongside these big imposing buildings which makes for an interesting contrast at times.
The Brick Gothic style is very evident in northern Germany, and the wealth of the Hanseatic League cities made it possible to create remarkable yet functional buildings that are still in perfect shape to this day. The Town Hall in the small city of Stralsund is an incredible example of this, and the level of detail, care and intricacy that has been imparted to this particular building is beautiful. This building really creates a centre-point around which the city revolves. Having such a strong and powerful focal point adds to the feeling that this city (and all the Hanseatic cities I saw actually) feel connected and not spread out at all.
There has been a castle or palace at this spot in Schwerin in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, since the 10th Century at least. Over the next centuries parts were added, taken away and modified to the gleaming golden mass you see today. The castle is actually built on an island in the largest lake in the city, and is connected by a small bridge. My favourite part of the castle is the semi-enclosed orangery. This little garden is beautifully kept, and is at the back of the castle and so feels incredibly cosy and private.
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