First we walked back to the Holstentor and took some time to really appreciate this magnificent structure (read: we waited for the crowd of Japanese tourists to get out of the way so we could take pictures). This monumental brick gate – one of two original town gates still standing – was built between 1464 and 1478 and fittingly symbolizes Lübeck’s position as the “queen of the
The Altstadt of Lübeck is situated on an island in the
Next we wandered towards the imposing twin spires of the Gothic Marienkirche, which boasts the highest brick nave in the world and is
We headed back along the Hauptstraße to Konditorei-Café Niederegger, makers of the most famous marzipan in the world. Legend has it that marzipan was invented in Lübeck during a medieval famine. A local baker, having run out of grain to make bread, experimented with the only ingredients he had on hand – almonds, sugar, rose water, and eggs – and formed the resulting paste into sweet almond “loaves” that we now know as marzipan. (Apparently marzipan really originated a few hundred years earlier in
It was now time to return to the Marienkirche. The church, constructed between 1250 and 1350, has a stark white Gothic interior adorned with delicate floral designs in orange, green and yellow. It was almost completely burnt out on the night of Palm Sunday, 1942, and two of the mangled bells have been left where they fell as a memorial to the war. The church houses a replica of an elaborate 16th-century astronomical clock, also destroyed in 1942. Reconstruction of the church began in 1947 and was completed only twelve years later.
We left the Hauptstraße to explore some of the curving, cobblestoned streets lined with elegant townhouses, then headed towards the Lübecker Dom, another magnificent redbrick church established in 1173 by Lübeck’s founder, Heinrich der Löwe (Henry the Lion). The cathedral – Lübeck’s oldest building – was also partly destroyed in 1942 and reconstruction was only completed in 1982, as greater priority was given to the Marienkirche (photo, right). Inside, the cathedral’s lofty white interior is virtually unadorned. The Dom is actually shorter than the Marienkirche – a consequence of the power struggle between the church and the merchant guilds that funded the construction of the Marienkirche.
We headed back toward the river and walked along the charming riverfront promenade, lined with more lovely rowhouses, some of them sporting crow-stepped gables typical of 15th and 16th century architecture. From a pedestrian bridge over the river, we enjoyed a lovely panoramic view of the Altstadt, taking in the Holstentor, Marienkirche, and Dom (photo, below). We passed by the Holstentor again on our way out and got some great photos of the memorable “leaning
We had a long drive ahead of us so we retrieved our car and set out southwards towards the
Schönburg castle dates to the 10th century and, like so many castles on the
We dragged our bags across the moat, through several arched gates, and up a steep cobbled path to the reception area (they do have luggage service for those who want it). We left our bags in the lobby and were led up a marvelous maze of passageways and staircases to our rooms on the uppermost floor of the distinctive red-painted portion of the hotel. The long, narrow suite, consisting of a bedroom, sitting room, and bathroom, was decorated in rich blue and gold, with a beautiful canopy bed, dark antique furnishings, and leaded glass windows. The bathroom was a marvel of white and yellow tile with an arched tub enclosure and a huge black marble pedestal sink. We had views out of both sides of the castle – northwest over steep vineyard-covered slopes, and southeast down a long stretch of the
We had reservations for the Schönburg’s seven-course tasting menu at 7:00, which gave us plenty of time to clean up and prepare for this last great indulgence. We made our way downstairs and found the formal dining room, where we joined a young couple and a party of four Peruvians. Unfortunately my copy of the menu is buried somewhere under two years of souvenir maps and brochures, but suffice it to say that the meal was superb and the service excellent!
More photos from today: