Roman and Mediaeval History, Illlustrated Travel Journals, Mediaeval Literature, Geology


31.1.16
  Harbour Impressions from Stralsund

Since I stayed in a hotel on the harbour island adjacent to Stralsund's old town, I had plenty of chances to catch impressions of the harbour district from various angles and in different light. Here are a few of them.

View to the town harbour entrance, with Rügen island in the background

Stralsund started out as a Slavonic fishing village in the 10th century. In 1168, King Valdemar I of Denmark conquered the tribe of the Rujani and made their princes his vassals. The Danes then used the stragegically well positioned settlement with its sea front facing the Rügen pensinsula and the lagoon as their harbour for campaigns further inland. Stralsund received the rights of town according to the Lübeck Charta in 1234 and rose to one of the preeminent members of the Hanseatic League in the 14th century.

View from my hotel room to St.Nikolai Church

Stralsund fell to Sweden in the Peace of Westphalia which ended the Thirty Years Was (1648) and would remain in Swedish possession until the late 19th century when the town came to Prussia. Like so many other places, the old town of Stralsund which had already been hit by several bombs at the end of WW2, suffered neglect during the GDR (the government was more interested in erecting large panel-system buildings - Plattenbauten - in the suburbs which could house more people than restoring old buildings) but was renovated after the reunion. The old town is now part of the Unesco World Heritage.

Stralsund seen from the sea: St.John's Church to the left, St.Nikolai to the right

The town looked a bit different during the Middle Ages, of course, though the churches were already dominating the skyline. The harbour island did not exist; instead long wooden quays were built into the shallow waters of the lagoon. The cogs anchored further out and the wares were shifted to smaller vessels which could be unloaded at the quays. The wares were then transported into the town on well kept cobblestone ways.

Stralsund seen from the sea: Gorch Fock (right), Oceanographic Museum, some hotels
(I took these pictures from the ferry to Hiddensee)

Another feature that has changed is the town wall which once surrounded the entire town since the 13th century, with additional fortifications from later times. Now, only some ruins at the land side remain; the harbour walls had been dismantled 1873 because they stood in the way of expanding the town.

Part of the harbour isle (the red and white house is the hotel I've been staying)

One of the expanding industries were shipyards. To give the shipwrights more space, an artificial insula was constructed outside the old town in 1860. Where once the quays for the Hansa cogs stretched into the shallow waters of the lagoon between Rügen and Hiddensee, piles were rammed into the ground and earth deposited. Twenty new sailing ships were built on the harbour isle in 1862.

View from my hotel room to the canals separating the harbour isle from the old town

But the ship building industry declined with the rise of steam engines, and other uses for the isle had to be found, mostly by building warehouses. A number of those today house hotels and restaurants. The newest addition to the harbour isle is the Oceanographic Museum which opened in 2008. Due to its shape it is nicknamed the toilet paper roll.

St.Nikolai and one of the warehouses (left) on the harbour isle, seen from the sea

Stralsund has a town harbour, a sea harbour for cargo vessels, and several marinas. The sea harbour manages the handling of bulk goods and piece goods, especially salt. The transhipping in 2013 was 1.5 million tons. The town harbour is the starting point for the ferries to Hiddensee and harbour cruises; it also offers anchorage for river cruise ships. A pretty addition to the town harbour is the sail training ship Gorch Fock I.

One of the marinas in the morning light

I took the chance to visit the ship, but that will be a post of its own. Here are some basic informations about her history. The Gorch Fock I is a three mast barque built for the Reichsmarine in 1933. She was used as training ship until the beginning of the war and then as stationary office ship in Kiel and Stralsund. She was briefly activated towards the end of the war and finally sunk by its crew. The Sovjets had her salvaged and restored. She was renamed Tovarishch and used as training ship for the Russian Marine until 1991. During that time she participated in several tall ships' races around the world.

Gorch Fock I

From 1991 the ship sailed under Ukrainian flag, but the money for necessary repairs was lacking, so she ended up in a dock in Wilhelmshaven until 2003, when she was bought by the Tall Ships Society, transfered to Stralsund and renamed Gorch Fock. The society plans to restore the ship so she can sail again, but money is still an issue. New engines have been installed and the decks made useable for events like weddings. But much remains to be done until the Gorch Fock I can safely sail around the world again.

Gorch Fock I, from a different angle

A feature you can see on several photos is the new Rügen Bridge across the Strelasund which separates the island of Rügen from the mainland. The sound is about ten metres deep which is unusually deep for the waters in the area. The sound was crossed by ferries between Stralsund and Altefähr via the island of Stralov, later named Dänholm, already in the 13th century. During the time Stralsund belonged to Sweden, the ferries - in form of sailing vessels - were part of the Swedish postal service from Ystad to Stralsund and operated on a regular schedule since 1684.

View from the upper deck of the Gorch Fock to one of the inner quays, the Rügen Bridge,
the outer dockyard and a warehouse (right)

But increasing traffic made the building of a bridge necessary. The first one was the Rügen Causeway with railway and double lane road, completed in 1936. It consists of a 133 metres long bridge spanning the Ziegelgraben, the part of the sound between Stralsund and Dänholm island. It is constructed as bascule drawbridge in its middle part. The bridge is still in use, esp. for the railway connection, and opens at regular times to allow taller ships passage. The second part is an embankment extending from Dänholm and a second bridge that connects to Rügen.

The new bridge to Rügen

The new bridge, or rather a set of bridges and embankments, was finished in 2007. It has three lanes for car traffic and an overall length of 583 metres. It too, uses the Dänholm as crossing and consists of a viadcut spanning the Ziegelgraben and another bridge across the Strelasund to Rügen. The 126 metres long viaduct is the most stunning feature. It is a cable-stayed bridge that allows passage to ships up to 42 metres height. The pylon is 128 metres high and grounded in the sound by 40 bored pilings with a 1.5 metre diameter. The 32 cables that spread in harp shape have a three layered protection against corrosion and can carry a tension of 4,000 kN.

Rügen Bridge and Dänholm in the morning light

Since Rügen has a number of pretty sea bath towns, it is a popular holiday spot, and the new bridge was needed to cope with the increasing traffic. Since I didn't have so much time, I decided for a trip to Hiddensee instead. It is easier to get there by public transport and it is quieter, too. But Rügen is still on my list.

View from the bow of the Gorch Fock to the lagoon

I hope you liked the little tour through the harbour of Stralsund. The weather offered everything form sunshine to lightning storms during the three days I stayed in Stralsund, thus the photos show very different moods.
 
Comments:
Ein Besuch mit Stadtrundgang und Besuch des Meereskundemuseums in Stralsund ist schon eine ganze Weile her. Das letzte Mal sind wir nur durchgefahren, als wir unterwegs zur Insel Rügen waren. Das war jetzt eine schöne Erinnerung an einen sehr schönen und interessanten Tag in der alten Hansestadt. Ein schön bebilderter Beitrag und meine schon etwas weggerutschten Geschichtskenntnisse sind nun wieder ein wenig aufgefrischt :-) Danke dafür!
Liebe Grüße von der Silberdistel
 
What fantastic views from your hotel room.
 
Dann wird es ja Zeit, Stralsund einmal wieder zu besuchen, liebe Silberdistel. Das Ozeaneum lohnt sich auch; es ist der große Bruder des Meereskundemuseums (das ich im übrigen 2004 besucht hatte, weshalb es diesmal nicht auf der Liste war).

Anerje, it was one of the lovlier hotel room views. Only topped by the park and forest I could see from a hotel in Derenburg in the Harz.
 
I live so far from any body of water that it's a vicarious thrill to see sea images, boats and waterfronts. Thanks!
 
What a lovely town, and your photos (as always) are stunning. I'm guessing you were on the top floor of the hotel to get those amazing views?
 
Thank you Carla. Yes, hauling the luggage up three sets of stairs, but it was totally worth it. :-)
 
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The Lost Fort is a blog based on my travels in Germany, the UK and other places, with essays on Roman and Mediaeval history illustrated with lots of photos of old castles, cathedrals, Roman remains, and beautiful landscapes. You may also find the odd essay about geology or Mediaeval literature.

All texts (except comments by guests) and photos (if no other copyright is noted) on this blog are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History which doesn't pay my bills, so I use it to research blogposts instead. I'm interested in everything Roman and Mediaeval, avid reader and sometimes writer, opera enthusiast, traveller with a liking for foreign languages and odd rocks, photographer, and tea aficionado. And an old-fashioned blogger who hasn't yet gotten an Instagram account. :-)


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