The harbour is the heart of the maritime town of Rostock. Although there may be fewer sailors on the quayside these days, its nautical atmosphere still shapes the character of the town. Since 1991, the town harbour has been transformed into a popular leisure complex with restaurants, theatres and shops. It is also the venue for major events, such as Hanse Sail in August, which attracts hundreds of historical sailing ships and a million visitors.
Brick-Gothic architecture and an old landmark
Rostock's old quarter is characterised by deep-red brick buildings dating from Hanseatic times. These include the town fortifications, parts of which have been preserved, including a section built by General Wallenstein during the Thirty Years' War. The eastern part of the old quarter contains a long stretch of wall near St. Peter's Church, and close by stands part of the Fishermen's Bastion with some historical canons. Inside the town walls, three of the original four monumental town churches still remain. The largest is the Gothic St. Mary's Church in the town centre, while St. Peter's on Alter Markt square is located in the oldest part of Rostock. Its tower offers stunning views across the town and the Baltic Sea. Other notable buildings include the Gothic town hall with its baroque-period exterior, the late-Gothic Hausbaumhaus merchant's house and the neo-Gothic guildhall. One particularly endearing landmark is the old lighthouse in Warnemünde.
Worth a look: new architecture in historical surroundings
Rostock also has some remarkable examples of modern and contemporary architecture, including Lange Strasse, which was rebuilt in the late 1950s under the direction of the town's young chief architect, Joachim Näther, and the experimental Hyparschalen buildings created between 1966 and 1972. These include the Teepott restaurant in Warnemünde, the Kosmos restaurant in the Südstadt district and the multi-purpose hall in Lütten, all of which are notable landmarks. At the end of the 1990s, architects Gerkan, Mang and Partner built a trendy shopping mall behind the facade of a former hotel; Danish architect Henning Larsen designed the stark, modernist buildings of the Max Planck Institute near the town harbour, and in 2005 the famous German-American architect Helmut Jahn created the postmodernist Deutsche Med.
Fresh fish, chocolate and a trip to Warnemünde
A shopping trip through Rostock's town centre takes visitors past large churches, pretty gabled houses, town gates and impressive historical warehouses. Buildings from the brick-Gothic, Renaissance, baroque and modern eras turn any stroll into a journey through architectural history. Distinctive pedestrian zones such as Kröpeliner Strasse have been established between Doberaner Platz square, Neuer Markt, Universitätsplatz square and the town harbour. This area is also great for eating out, offering everything from fresh fish to international cuisine, while those with a sweet tooth should make sure to pay a visit to the chocolatier du Prie in the harbour. The Kröpeliner Tor district with its pubs and clubs also has friendly bars and cafés offering delicious food. In Rostock, it's always worth taking a closer look either side of the main streets, where many small shops and pubs in old warehouses and lovingly restored town houses are just waiting to be discovered. A trip to the seaside resort of Warnemünde is also rewarding. Here, old fishermen's cottages have been converted into delightful little stores, cafés and restaurants, and Alter Strom, an old arm of the river Warnow, with its bobbing fishing and sailing boats is a quiet, peaceful place for a stroll or a meal.