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Luebeck City Guide

City of Steeples, Scribes and Marzipan

by André Gayot

The massive Holstentor, symbol of Lübeck, along with St. Marien and St. Petri Church in Germany
The massive Holstentor, symbol of Lübeck, along with Marienkirche and Petrikirche

The massive, brick, twin-slate towered "Holstentor" (Holsten Gate) symbolizes the city founded in 1143 on an island that was for 250 years the capital of the Holy German Empire and the most powerful Hanseatic city. Traders exchanged the reputed salt of Lüneburg as well as furs, honey, amber from the Baltic Sea and Scandinavia against wool, copper and stain from England. Rivers and canals naturally protected Lübeck from invasions. From a distance, seven steeples characterize the city. These Gothic brick churches — Marienkirche (St. Mary), Jakobikirche (St. James), Aegidienkirche (St. Egide), Katharinenkirche (St. Catherine) and Petrikirche (St. Peter) — are the highlights of Lübeck with the Marktplatz bordered by the oldest Rathaus (Town Hall) in Germany, dating from 1484. 

Lübeck carries the legacy of great writers such as Nobel Prize winner Thomas Mann whose house, located at Mengstrasse 4, is probably the location of his famous novel Buddenbrooks. It’s open to visitors, as is the neighboring home of Günther Grass (author of The Tin Drum). Gourmands will not want to miss Café Niederegger, the kingdom of Marzipan. Why Marzipan in Lübeck? Legend goes that in 1407 the city was besieged and the denizens starved. The empty warehouse contained only sugar and almonds, so to feed themselves, hungry citizens invented a bread with these almonds and the remaining sugar and that became Marzipan. More likely Marzipan probably originated in Syria and was imported there. The oval-shaped old town of Lübeck is a UNESCO World Heritage site.

The Hanseatic City of Luebeck is situated on the river Obertrave
Lübeck enjoys a picturesque location on the river Obertrave


Hotel Jensen
An der Obertrave 4-5
49 45 17 02 49 0
Stay in Patrician villas right on the river Trave in Lübeck's historical Old Town island.

Radisson Blue Senator Hotel
Willy-Brandt-Allee 6
49 45 11 42 0
Radisson creature comforts on the river Trave.

Ringhotel Friederikenhof
Langjohrd 15-19
49 45 18 00 88 0
Just 30 rooms in an old manor house in a idyllic, rural setting.


Historischer Weinkeller
Koberg 6-8
49 45 17 62 34
Enjoy top local and international cuisine in a historic wine cellar located in the 800-year-old Heiligen-Geist-Hospital.

Restaurant Wullenwever
Beckergrube 71
49 45 17 04 33 3
Light, modern, seasonal dishes in a merchant house dating from 1585.

Breite Straße 2
49 45 17 67 76
The historic restaurant is nestled in one of the most beautiful medieval buildings of Lübeck. Don't worry, the food is not that old.

Twenty kilometers to the north is the pleasant resort of Travemünde on the Baltic Sea, with nice sandy beaches and an important harbor facing Scandinavia.


Grand Spa Resort A-Rosa Travemünde
Außenallee 10
49 4502-3070-632
A modern hotel on a nice beach.


Grand Spa Resort A-Rosa Travemünde
49 4502-3070-632
A highly rated gourmet establishment with sophisticated decor.

<< Previous | Next >>

Intro: East Germany, a Luminous Past and Thriving Present
Hamburg: Venice, German-Style
Lübeck: City of Steeples, Scribes and Marzipan
Wismar: A Walk in Medieval Times
Stralsund: Created by the Sea and for the Sea
Leipzig: Where the Fall of Communism Originated
Dresden: Devastation and Reconciliation

* Lübeck an der Obertrave image Copyright LTM S.E. Arndt, courtesy of / Holstentor image by Gundhard Marth, courtesy of the German National Tourist Board

(Updated: 10/17/12 CT)

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