From fishing village to seaside resort

Travemünde Old Town

Nostalgia around St. Lorenz church

Travemünde’s picturesque Old Town tells the eventful story of this small fishing village before it became a fashionable seaside resort. St. Lorenz church was already the centrepiece in the Middle Ages, and fishermen and tradesmen made their dwellings around it. Even today, you can find quaint, lovingly restored half-timbered houses here on Alter Markt and the brick façades of old gabled house lined up like a string of pearls. Time seems to have stood still. Numerous fires and floods repeatedly damaged old Travemünde over the course of many centuries, but the small settlement at the entrance to the Trave was always rebuilt. Its strategic importance for Lübeck, “Queen of the Hanseatic League”, and its merchant ships as the gateway to the Baltic Sea was simply too great. The oldest fisherman’s house dates back to the second half of the 16th century and is to be found at Jahrmarktstraße 13. Discover the nostalgic flair around St. Lorenz church!

Experience St. Lorenz church at the heart of Travemünde

This massive, old brick church located at the heart of Travemünde’s Old Town, has stood for more than 450 years. The Protestant church was built on the foundations of the previous church that was destroyed in a fire. The baroque altar from 1723, carved by Lübeck master Hieronymus Jakob Hassenberg, is the jewel of the nave. The beautifully painted coffered ceiling is also worth seeing. Tip: You can experience the best atmosphere in the evening concerts when the organ is played by candlelight.

Follow the footprints of history

Worth a visit, not only on cloudy days.

> Museum of the seaside resort

Turn old into new

In former times, fishermen’s cottages jostled by the water in Vorderreihe, and the fishermen moored their boats at the front door, so to speak, on the bank of the Trave. In the 19th and 20th centuries, they gradually gave way to the building boom in this fashionable resort when the call was for comfortable boarding-houses for well-heeled guests and areas where the well-to-do could stroll. Old fishermen’s houses in the second row as it was called – today’s Kurgartenstraße – and in the Old Town around St. Lorenz church were also spruced up for holiday guests and were given decorative façades in front of their old front-gabled designs. This is how these often humble dwellings were transformed into the smart, lovingly restored Old Town houses which you can discover today on a stroll through Travemünde.

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What to see and do in Vorderreihe?

Your walk along picturesque Vorderreihe will take you from the Alte Vogtei residence – past the international cruise terminal – to the Kaiserbrücke jetty on the Trave promenade. The impressive four-masted barque PASSAT on the Priwall side will always be squarely in view. Grant yourself a small break after your stroll: Relax in one of the inviting cafés in the front row right by the water, and enjoy the amazing panoramic view of the Trave estuary. Large Scandinavia ferries, chugging fishing cutters, pleasure boats and sailing yachts glide past incessantly in a proud parade, close enough to touch. The fresh breeze of the big wide world blows here. Numerous restaurants lie on your way and tempt you with regional dishes and Mediterranean specialities on their menus. Bon appetit!

Tip: Vorderreihe is a real eye-catcher in the evening, too, and with its maritime flair, it invites you to relax and see out another beautiful day in your holiday on the quayside.

What to see and do at Alte Vogtei?

The Alte Vogtei residence in Vorderreihe is a magnificent gabled house in the style of the Brick Renaissance which you definitely must take a closer look at. For centuries, it was the residence of Lübeck’s magistrate who watched the entrance to the Trave on behalf of the Hanseatic city and kept a firm grip on the locals. Later, the building served as a police station before being thoroughly restored in 2006. Today, a café and a restaurant invite you to enjoy its wonderful, traditional rooms. An art gallery on the first floor is a creative attraction for those with a passion for culture. Tip: Take a look up at the old coffered ceilings in the residence and discover the unique Renaissance paintings!

To the Restaurant (DE)
Where is the Timmermann Fountain?

There is a fountain in front of the old smithy, today the community centre of St. Lorenz church, in Alter Markt in Travemünde. It is named after the Travemünde dialect poet and storyteller Otto Timmermann who is portrayed as a bronze figure with a book in his hand. Two children, also of bronze, sit on the edge of the fountain, listening fervently to his stories.

Who'd have thought it

Can you imagine that Travemünde used to be a proper fortress and that a drawbridge could be raised and lowered to block entry? To protect the Trave estuary from hostile attacks, the fishing village was surrounded by ramparts, ditches and walls on behalf of Lübeck’s city fathers. There was only one gate, Lübeck’s west-facing gate, through which people were allowed to go in and out. Torstraße which still leads into the heart of the Old Town, is part of the exciting history of the city. Only after the modern bathing culture of high society had swept through Travemünde, did work begin to strip away the old fortress to make room for the new era as a seaside resort.

The devil made beer

The St. Lorenz church owes its construction to an accident. In 1522, a Travemünde brewery brewed huge volumes of beer for ships' stores. The fire under the brewing coppers raged out of control and the whole of Travemünde was burnt to the ground. No wonder then that the people of Travemünde dedicated their new church to Saint Lawrence (Lorenz in German), the patron saint of fire.

To St. Lorenz church (DE)
The nice thing about living in a small town is that when you don't know what you're doing, someone else does.

Immanuel Kant

Vorderreihe – always in the front row

Vorderreihe is the perfect combination of lively shopping street and maritime promenade. Some two-storey houses with their glazed, airy verandahs still serve as reminders of the beginnings of the resort as witnesses to the fine resort architecture. While the huge ferries pursue their unwavering course on the Trave, you can stroll casually between cosy street cafés, old box-shaped lime trees, restaurants and snug boutiques along the waterfront. In the summer season, Vorderreihe becomes an untroubled pedestrian zone with a fabulous backdrop and unique view of the Trave.

Chronicle of old Travemünde

On the instructions of Count Adolf III von Holstein, a castle was constructed at the Trave estuary to monitor shipping traffic.

Under the King of Denmark, Waldemar II, the settlement “Travemünde” in the shadow of the castle was first mentioned.

The construction of Travemünde church was first attested in a document.

Lübeck bought the location of Travemünde with two dozen houses and 250 residents, the Herren ferry and land as well as the jurisdiction and ecclesiastical patronage.

St. Lorenz church was rebuilt after being destroyed in a fire.

Lübeck’s administrator’s residence which had been destroyed was rebuilt.

Start of construction work on the fortifications around Travemünde: To protect the settlement, a first series of ramparts were built, a blockhouse erected, entrenchments constructed and cannons set up.

Danish troops occupied the town and immediately began to further reinforce the harbour.

Following Heiligendamm and Norderney, Travemünde was declared Germany’s third seaside resort.

French troops occupied Travemünde in the wake of the Third Napoleonic War.

Work began on demolishing the fortifying walls.

Swedish troops ended the French occupation.

The last great flood destroyed numerous houses in Travemünde. The high water marks on the Old Lighthouse and the Alte Vogtei residence still show the level the waters reached.

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