If you are interested in the history of the Hansa, and if you want to see trade cities of the Middle Ages, then Lubeck would be the best place to visit. The city is at the mouth of Trave River in the immediate vicinity of the Baltic Sea, though there is canal connecting the port with the sea.
Lubeck was founded in 12th century, and almost at once it became the key member of Hansa. For several centuries Lubeck was called the «Queen of the Hansa», and Hansa itself was often called «Lubeck Hansa». The Hansa was created to defend merchants from piracy and illegal actions of feudal lords. At different times it included up to 200 cities.
However, Hansa membership of most cities was only nominal and only three cities of Northern Germany, Lubeck, Hamburg and Bremen, determined the policies of the Hansa. For several centuries the meetings of Hanseatic cities were regularly held in Lubeck to work out laws and rules of the trade alliance.
Holstentor-Gate is the main sight and even landmark of Lubeck. It was built in 15th as a part of strong western walls of the city designed to defend it from the Danes, with which the Hansa made wars from time to time. Today there located the City Museum. Near the Gate, in Wahmstraße, there are authentic Hanseatic buildings of red brick and Trave River Quay where one can sit at some café, or take a pleasant boat and go down the river along old facades of Lubeck.
St. Peter`s Cathedral, the tallest church in Lubeck, is to the right of the Gate. Its single spire reach the height of 108 meters. It is just there that you should climb to see the magnificent panorama of old quarters of Lubeck.
St. Mary`s Church or Lubecker Marienkirche is the main temple of the city. Unlike St. Peter`s Cathedral, it has two spires of 125 meters each. You must enter the church. There you can see the world`s largest organ (8512 tubes, some of which are 11 meters long), as well as the famous «Dance of Death» of Bernt Notke. Unfortunately, the original of the picture was destroyed by the fire after the bombing of 1942, however, the restored copy is also over-whelming.
St. Mary`s Church is near the marketplace faced by the building of Old Town Hall. The square is very picturesque, though most of the buildings on the square are of black colour. Most of them were constructed during 13-14 centuries. Breite Straße is not far from the square. When in this pedestrian street you should drop in at café Niederegger and taste their famous marzipans, then you may go to Koberg Square (there located the Hospital of the Holy Spirit and St. Jacob`s Church) and the Burgtor-Gate.
If you like the works of Mann brothers – Thomas and Henry, you may drop in at the so-called Buddenbrook House. At the family house of Mann family there was reconstructed the interior of the famous Buddenbrook House described in the novel of Thomas Mann. Now it is a museum.