the old town of lübeck is on a river island , everything is close-by by foot.
so a 24 hour ticket (tageskarte) for 8,- eur is not really worthwhile.
if you want to go to the sea , from mainstation to travemünde strand, it will cost 3.10 eur one way, train going every half hour.
the walkabout starts at the outside of the holstentor (photo above is taken from other side by the way),
the old entrance to town through the inner fortification wall. having passed through, you see “SPQL” written on the inside which means “senatum populusque lübecum” , where lübeck compares itself with the roman empire : “senatum populusque romanum” ,signed in over the capitol-building in rome.
after having entranced lübeck this way we turn right over the street towards the saltwarehouses. indicating wherefrom the riches and the proudness of the city stemmed from : ” built … in place of older herring houses used as a store for salt brought from lüneburg.” but it was also trading goods like, wax, honey, furs , wood, granary that the hanse-kogge-ships traded with in the middle ages. the ships where owned collectively , likewise the trading-yards all over the baltic-sea and russia. ”concordia foris pax”, “unity creates peace” is written on the outside of the holstentor .
we pass the warehouses take the bridge over the river trave and turn right at “an der obertrave”
after only 100m we turn left into “kleine petersgrube” upphill , having the huge tower and wall of st.peters church in view.
we turn right at the puppet-theatre-museum and just a 30m after we turn right again at “grosse petersgrube” downwards. at house nr 21 at the left one might be aloud to go in (musikhochschule) . it was a house a wealthy merchant, it was the family seat for living, stearing a company and storing goods . it had a crane outside and the floor is marbled with ballast-stone from the ships. having come down to “an der overtrave again” we turn left, enjoying a longer footwalk along the houses or the river . we turn left into “hartengrube” . on the right we pass “altes stecknitzfahrer amtshaus” those were the river-skippers who traded the goods from the inland. continue upphill hartengrube untill nr. 13 on the right side . there you turn right into “kruses hof” . its a small narrow footpath through the backyards of the houses. please slow down and respect the privateness of the backyards, though the path is part of lübecks streetnet. you come out at “effengrube” and turn left there towards the tower of the dome.. follow the dome-tower as a guiding sign . you pass “das zeughaus” being on the left, that was the storing- house for weapons of the town-guard. finally you stand before the dome`s entrance-door while having the huge statue of “heinrich der löwe” towards the left. he laid the foundation-stone to the dome in 1173. the dome was ment to be a huge symbol of royal power and privileges given to the uppcoming economic-power of trade and craftmanship. the dome is the most significant example of early brickwork architecture in northern germany. building-style is yet romanesque. the buildingprocess continued untill the 15th century when the side-chapels were added. we are going to meet an even more impressive church later which was built ca 200 years after 1173.
the altar sculpture is going beyond middle-ages. far beyond chalk-paintings and ornaments. with all the animals it is nearly paegan. in a way renaissance art pointed back and outover old church attitudes.
there is also a strange little cabinet in one of the pillars with a galler. was it to store the wine for the sacrament of the last supper ?
you follow the small cobble-stone-path having the side-chapel on the right side until you come to “musterbahn” whre you turn left, cross “mühlenstrasse” and continue “an der mauer.”
die mauer, that was the old town-fortification-wall. you pass a bath on the right where you might want to take a hot bath, sauna, for 6 eur if it is open. this quarter was of the spinners and weavers. you turn left at weberstrasse towards the aegidian church. you come to aegidianhof a project for old and young living together. there are information-signs at the entrance, you may go in and take a look if you respect the athmosphere and people who live there.
you continue “schildstrasse” until you come to “königstrasse” where you turn right. at the crossing “hüxstrasse” you turn left towards the townhall-arcades. (by the way hüxstrasse is the most charming street for smallshopping and being there. ) moving up now you come to “breite strasse” and to lübeck townhall. built in 1440-42. famous staircase built in 1594. guided tours in townhall every hour if you want. following our own path : it would have been to swing right from “hüxstrasse” to “breite strasse” and then find a small passage to st.maries church. turn left into a very small gap. going there you have an arcade on the right and the entrance to st.maries church right infront. heading towards a little bronce figure sitting on a rock boulder. “when the first stones of st.mary were laid , the devil believed this building would be a wine-bar. he liked the idea. so he mixed with the crowd and helped the workers. the building grew higher and higher amazingly fast. but one day the devil realized what the building really would be. full of anger he grabbed a huge boulder aimed to smash the walls that already were standing. he was jjust flying near through the air when a bold fellow shouted at him ” just stop it mr. devil ! for you we will build a wine bar just besides ! he dropped the boulder right besides the wall, having his claw-marks still on it. but he seemed to be happy with the wine cellars at the arcades. 1260-1350. people love those stories and they are true in a way. my own explanation: the church did not pay the bills for some kind of work done. the company for the job got pissed off and threw a huge unmovable stone there to remind them of unpaid bills ….
“marienkirche” was built by the same geometrical-mathmatical sense for proportions as the french cathedrals, mainly strasbourg. the masons were organised in “bauhütten” cooperatives and they travelled a lot too, thus importing sciences from the arabic culture. but in the baltic area there was no limestone or granit-rock. so the new technic of backed-bricks has to be applied for the first time. and it speeded up the process. it just took a little more then 100years to build this biggest gothic cathedral !
score extra time for it ! dont just take it is a station in a guided tour.
you can dive deep into the middleages. the chalk-paintings are preserved likewise a huge chalk painting of christophorus the saint of the trading people. the wealthy trading citizens would not have the church all the glory ! chalk-paintings of all trade and handicraftt you can find also back in the right corner… . only look up into the valves !you get dizzy …
through the backyard of a cafe you stick through to “rathausmarkt”. the backside of the ceramic tiled townhall is and has been a marketplace. only thing disturbing is the horrible fassade of peek&cloppenburg hopefully soon overgrown by the trees. its funny how the lübeckians after ww2 were zick-zacking between preserving the city and crudely fill the outbombed spaces with ugly functionalistic buildings , like warehouses or bureau-buildings.
pass peek&cloppenburg at the smallside, having it on the left, cross the coming street and find “brannstrasse”, not easy because the sign is very withered away. take down brannstrasse and come to “an der untertrave” where you see das “holstentor” startingpoint of our roundtrip. if you turn right here you come to “europïsches hansamuseum” a 50 million euro Project which will take you half a day to discover inside. very worth it .
if you missed eating while being so busy daytime : GRILL HOUSE at central bus station is open 24 hours.