The Lost Fort

My Travel and History Blog, Focussing mostly on Roman and Mediaeval Times

25 Feb 2019
  A Virtual Tour through Mediaeval and Renaissance Gdańsk / Danzig

After the history lesson below, let's now have a little walk through Gdańsk / Danzig. Most of the famous landmarks are situated not in the Old Town, but in the - much older - Rechtstadt (Town of the Law), the part of Danzig which held town rights since 1224.

Much of Gdańsk had been destroyed during WW2, but was restored in the years after the war, with its various town gates, beautiful late Gothic gabled houses and decorated Renaissance buildings that once had been the homes of wealthy merchants and burghers, a lot of whom were of German origins. A considerable number of Germans lived in Danzig and Pomeralia (later known as East Prussia) since the early 12th century and remained there until the end of WW2.

Crane Gate

One of the iconic buildings is the Crane Gate. A timber gate with an integrated crane function had been built in 1367, but it was destroyed by a fire in 1442. A new and larger brick gate in Gothic style replaced it immediately afterwards. The wealthier burghers of Danzig collected money to its construction, and they successfully faced off the protests of the Teutonic Knights who felt their nearby castle to be threatened.

The new crane is a double one and was once the largest in Europe. The upper crane could lift weights to a height of 27 metres and was used to put up the masts on boats. The lower crane could lift a weight of four tons up to 11 metres. The cranes were moved by hollow drums of 6 metres in diameter placed inside the gate; usually prisoners worked those threadmills. Ropes wound around the shafts of the drums and passed over the beams. The crane hooks were made of metal. The sturdy towers of the crane gate show that it served as defense of the town as well.

Green Gate

The Green Gate with its flamboyant Renaissance decorations is a very different gate compared to the Gothic Crane Gate. It replaced an older gate guarding the drawbridge (which had been known as Green Bridge) across the Motława river at the site of the old Amber Road crossing, today it marks the end point of the Długi Targ, the Long Market.

The architects were Hans Kramer and Regnier of Amsterdam, thus the strong Flemish influences. Four vaults lead through the gate. The building above makes the gate look more like a palace and indeed, those rooms were intended to serve as quarter for the Polish king when he visited Danzig, though they were seldom used.

The Milk Can Gate

The Milk Can Gate, nicknamed for the shape of its twin towers (one now is shorter because it was not restored to full size after WW2) was built in the 15th century to protect the Granary Island outside the main town. It consists of two towers connected by an overhead passage. The larger tower is today 28 metres high, its walls are 4 metres thick and with small windows - quite a sturdy thing compared to the elegant Green Gate.

Restored storehouses on Granary Island at the Motława

The Motława river is an estuary of the Vistula (Weichsel in German) and connects Gdańsk with the Baltic Sea. The delta of the Vistula changed over time so that the coast today is further away from the town.

While a lot of the historical Danzig had been rebuilt in the 1950ies/60ies, there were still some ruins left at the beginning of the 21st century. One of those were the granaries on the Granary Island (Speicherstetten, Polish: spichlerze). Those are undergoing repair right now, and when I visited in 2012, a set of the Gothic houses had been reconstructed with the exterior mostly according to the old plans, but converted into hotels, shops and appertments.

The first buildings on the island in the Motława river were those not wanted inside the town, like a slaughterhause (dating to the 14th century), tar cookery, and other smelly and dirty occupations. Granaries and storehouses that gave the place its name were soon added. In 1576, the Motława canal and earth fortifications were built to protect the site from attacks. At that time, the number of granaries amounted to 315. 250,000 tons of grain could be stored there, worth 200 ship loads. No wonder Danzig became one of the richest cities in Europe.

Torture Chamber Gate

But we're not finished with those gates yet. Most of the town walls of Danzig that were destroyed have never been restored, but the more famous gates underwent a lovingly done reconstruction. I got some more for you.

Prison Tower

The gate with the charming name of Torture Chamber Gate (German: Peinkammertor) and its matching Prison Tower (Stockturm) were erected in the 14th century as tower with a passage beside a former gate in the Gothic style - now the Golden Gate, see below - to protect acces to the main road Ulica Długa, the Long Lane. The gate got another storey in the 15th century and some Renaissance decorations at the end of the 16th century. The tower was enlarged twice in 1418 and 1509 when it gots its tent shaped roof and those pretty arcades. The tower was damaged during the siege of Danzig by King Stephen Báthory 1577. Danzig won the siege, but it marked the beginning of the end of traditional town fortifications which would not hold against modern cannons.

After they lost their function within the town fortifications in the 17th century, the gate and tower served as prison (yes, including a torture chamber), hall of justice - for the cases that didn't require a big public show - and place of execution. Today they host an amber museum.

Golden Gate

The Golden Gate (also known als Long Lane Gate) replaced an older one. It was erected in 1612-14 and takes it name from the gilded decorative pillars. At that time, town gates were more than defense features; they also served to showcase the wealth of a town (which could afford to use gold on a gate).

Main Town Hall

The oldest part of the Main Town Hall (that is the one in the Town of the Law; there is another town hall in the Old Town) dates to the 1330ies. That first building was much smaller. The first expansion took place in 1378-82, and another enlargement was done in the wake of the visit of King Casimir IV Jagiełło in 1457. The 81 metres high tower was added in 1488. In 1556, a fire severely damaged the town hall which was rebuilt by Dutch architects and today shows a number of Renaissance elements.

Gabled houses in the Ulica Długa (Long Lane)

The Ulica Długa (Long Lane) and Długi Targ (Long Market) together form the main street of the Town of the Law since the 13th century. In the Middle Ages, they were considered a single street, the Longa Platea, connecting the Golden Gate with the Green Gate. As such, the street was part of the Amber Road.

Since the celebrations during the time when King Casimir IV Jagiełło stayed in Danzig in 1457 (after Danzig had joined the Prussian Confederation that offered King Casimir souzerainty in order to better withstand the Teutonic Knights, see history post), the street is also knowns as Droga Królewska, the Royal Road.

The Długi Targ (Long Market)

Long Lane and Long Market had always been the place where the most important and wealthy citicenzs of Danzing lived, and shows the prettiest and most impressive houses. The Long Market is also framed by the public buildings of the Town Hall and Arthur's Court.

But it was not only a place for fêtes and fireworks, but also for public executions of criminals who were nobles or citizens, including those accused of being witches and heretics. People of lower rank were put to death in the Torture Chamber Gate or on the gallow hill outside the town.

The Golden House at the Długi Targ

One of the outstanding houses at the Long Market is the Golden House or Speymannhaus, which was built in 1609 for the town major and wealthy merchant Johannes Speymann.

The Artus Court at the Długi Targ

The Artus Court (Artushof) was the name of a meeting place - sort of a club *grin* - for rich merchants and nobles (craftsmen and stall-keepers were not allowed). It took the name from the popular King Arthur, symbol of chivalry. There were Artus Courts in other countries as well. Citizens and visitors of standing would meet there in the evenings, attending performances of musicians and jugglers, dining and gambling (albeit the latter was officially forbidden) and discussing business (though that was officially forbidden as well). Sometimes they held parties lasting several days to entertain foreign visitors of importance. The peak of popularity of the Artus Court was in the 16th and 17th centuries. The building was the seat of the bourse of Danzig since 1742.

The first brick house of the Curia regis Artusi was built in 1380, though the name dates to a charte of 1357, refering probably to a simpler half-timbered house. After a fire, a larger house in the late Gothic style was erected in 1478. The splendid Renaissance facade was added in 1617.

Neptun's Fountain

Neptun's Fountain was erected in front of the Artus Court in 1633. The town major Bartholomäus Schachmann had been to Italy and took a liking to Neptune figures, so he wanted to have one in Danzig. The god of the sea would be a fitting symbol for a town that got most of its wealth by sea trade, after all.

Great Armoury

The Great Armoury dates to 1600 and is a fine example of the Flemish Renaissance style which was popular in Danzig at that time. The leading architect was Anton van Obberghen who was also involved in the Renaissance makeover of other buildings in Danzig. He hailed from Antwerp and was responsible for the construction of a number of famous buildings in northern Europe, including Castle Kronborg in Helsingør (Hamlet's Elsinore).

Houses in the Mariacka Street (Our Lady's Street)

The Mariacka Street (Our Lady's Street; German: Frauengasse), named after the St. Mary's Church you can see in the background, is a bit less showy compared to the Long Lane, but still one of the oldest streets in town. It was also settled by well-off citizens. The street had been completely destroyed during WW2, but was restored in the 1950ies and 60ies. Due to its genuine Mediaeval look it sometimes serves a set for movies.

Another view of Mariacka Street with terrassed houses

A typical feature of the houses in the Mariacka Street are the terraces that lead to the entrances, often decorated with richly wrought iron ornaments. In former times, those terraces could be found in other streets in Danzig as well, but most have been dismantled because they get in the way of modern traffic. On fine days, inhabitants of the houses set up small impromptu shops on the terraces and sell hand made stuff to the tourists.

St.Mary's Church, interior

St.Mary's Church, or more formally, Basilica of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary, is on of the largest hall churches in the world and one of the largest brick buildings in northern Europe. It is a triple aisled church with a transept, measuring 105.5 metres (346 foot) in length, a width of 66 metres (217 foot) and a heigth of 26.5 metres. Particularly the vaultings are a piece of fine architecture and art: the main nave and transept are covered by net vaults, the aisles by crystal vaults.

Like in case of many other churches, there had been a Romanesque basilica on the site which proved too small for the increasing number of inhabitants. The construction of the Gothic church started in 1343 and was finished in 1502. But parts of the church had been in use already during the later stages of construction (churches usually were built in parts, not upward from the foundations in one go). A chapel for the King of Poland was added in 1466.

When the Reformation reached Danzig, the church was used for Roman Catholic and Lutheran services simultaneously for some years - quite a unique act of tolerance. Since 1572 to 1945, St.Mary was a Lutheran church - the second largest in the world. After WW2 it became the main Catholic church of Gdańsk again.

Fresco on a house in Długa Lane

This fresco on a house in the Long Lane depicts a scene of merchants from various contries - shown by the different local costumes - discussing trade and ship building. Danzig must once have been alive with scenes like this.

If everything goes according to plan, I might be able to add two more Polish towns to my list in April: Krakow and Wrocław / Breslau.

23 Feb 2019
  Between Polish Kings and Teutonic Knights - A History of Mediaeval Gdańsk / Danzig

I only spent a few hours in Gdańsk (Danzig in German; also used in English books about the historical Gdańsk), sufficient for a walk through the historical part of the town with its interesting and important buildings, but not enough time to visit the interior of the Crane and the Town Hall. But I got plenty of photos to illustrate a few posts.

Danzig, Town Hall of the 'Town of the Law'

'Town of the Law' (Rechtstadt) refers to the part of Danzig that got town rights in 1224; not to be confused with the - much younger - Old Town.

There had been settlements by Baltic and Slavic tribes (and probably some Goths as well) at the site where the Motława confluences into the Vistula (Weichsel in German) since Prehistoric times; the Amber Road went all the way from the Vistula delta to the Mediterranean. Amber has been found as far away as Egypt tombs.

Danzig, the harbour at the Motława river with the Crane Gate in the background

The first attempts to Christianise the people in the area that came to be known as Pomerelia were made by bishop Adalbert of Prague in 997. Danzig was mentioned as 'urbs' (town) in a chronicle of the time. In 1185, Duke Sobiesław of the Samborides - the only ducal family of Greater Poland not belonging to the network of Piast dukes - founded the monastery of Oliwa near Danzig. At the time, the number of German settlers and merchants looking for new homes in the Slavic lands in the east increased, often encouraged by local rulers.

Sobiesław's grandson, Duke Swantopolk II of Pomerelia-Gdańsk granted the town the rights under Lübeck law in 1224. Swantopolk created an independent duchy by kicking the Danish overlord (King Valdemar II) out and ambushing the High Duke of Poland, Leszek, on his way to the assembly of the Piast dukes, which led to Leszek's death. But the Samborides died out in the male line (1294), and Pomerelia became part of Poland again under King Przemysł II in 1295. He granted Danzig, which by the time had developed into a city with both German and Polish inhabitants, the Magdeburg Law. He also put a Polish garrison in the castle (situated in near the Great Mill in what is now the Old Town).

Małbork Castle (Marienburg) near Gdańsk, the main seat of the Teutonic Knights

The German margraves of Brandenburg and the Teutonic Knights both had interests in the area as well, a fact that would lead to an explosive mix when Przemysł II married Margaret of Brandenburg shortly before he was crowned king in 1295. A botched kidnapping attempt led to his death but a few months later. It is still disputed who was responsible, the ducal family of Brandenburg or disgruntled Polish nobles, or maybe an alliance of both.

Since Margaret was descended from the Pomerelian nobility on the maternal side, the Margrave of Brandenburg laid claim to the heritage. Przemysł's successors meanwhile had a lot of problems and internecine strifes. In the end, the governor of Danzig under King Władysław I Łokietek (the 'Elbow-High') called for the aid of the Teutonic Knights against the forces of the Margrave of Brandenburg in Danzig. The knights relieved the Polish garrison in the castle and drove the margrave's men out of the town. The citizens welcomed the interference of the Teutonic Order at first, but when they made no attempt to return the authority to the royal administration (for one reason because the king refused to pay them for their services), the inhabitants of Danzig rose against the Order. The rebellion was brutally crushed, a - still disputed - number of both German and Polish inhabitants killed and part of the town destroyed.

Marienburg, the High Castle

The Teutonic Knights then conquered the rest of Pomerelia and, to be on the legal side, bought the Margave of Brandenburg's claim off with 10,000 gold marks (Treaty of Soldin). Poland had lost direct access to the Baltic Sea.

The Grand Master Heinrich of Plötzke wanted to prevent a unified Polish kingdom, no matter that he once had been a friend of King Władysław. With the crusades in the Holy Land having ended, the order transfered their main seat from Venice to Małbork castle near Danzig, so the strengthening of territorial claims in the north-east is understandable.

But the Teutonic Knights had misjudged the feelings of the Pomerelian local nobility who continued to give their allegiance to the King of Poland, not the Order. After their legal attempts to regain Pomerelia before the ecclesiastical court of the Pope failed, war broke out in 1326. It ended with the Peace of Kalisz 1343. King Casimir III of Poland had no choice but to relinquish his rights to Pomerelia and the towns within, including Danzig, and gift them to the Teutonic Knights as 'perpetual alms'. Though he kept the title of Duke of Pomerelia and thus a theoretical claim of souzerainty.

Danzig, gabled houses in the Długa Lane

The Teutonic Knights enforced the Kulm Law (a variant of the Magdeburg Law used in all lands of the Order). In 1361, Danzig became member of the Hanseatic League.

In 1370, the last of the Piast kings of Poland, Casimir III the Great died. His sister Elizabeth was married to Charles of Hungary, who was a member of the Capetian house of Anjou (his father had married a Hungarian princess). Their son Louis would eventually become King of Poland. But he had only girl children: Maria who succeeded him in Hungary, and Hedwig / Jadwiga who became 'king of Poland' in 1384. At the same time, the still pagan Great Duke of Lithuania, Jogaila, saw his chance. Supported by a number of Polish nobles, he accepted baptism, the name Władysław II Jagiełło (in English also spelled Ladislaus), and the hand of young Hedwig (1373 - 1399).

His nephew Vytautas (Vitold) allied himself with the Teutonic Knights in order to strengthen his position in Lithuania, but eventually realised that he was casting out the devil with Beelzebub and joined with Jagiełło instead. Both established the personal union of Poland and Lithuania under the overlordship of the Polish king (Union of Vilnius in 1401).

The Teutonic Knights suddenly faced a formidable alliance of enemies. The enusing war culminated in the Battle of Tannenberg (also known as Battle of Grunwald) on July 15, 1410. The united Polish-Lithuanian forces won the battle, but failed to conquer Małbork Castle (Marienburg), the main stronghold of the Teutonic Knights. Thus the Teutonic Knights were weakened, but not defeated. Though they did not lose any lands, they had to pay heavy reparations in consequence of the Peace of Thorn. To meet those, the Knights confiscated goods and increased taxes.

Marienburg, Palace of the Grand Master

The burghers of Danzig refused to pay those taxes. The Order closed the harbour and executed several patricians, among them the town major, for high treason. Nevertheless, a precarious peace was established once again - no party was interested in a destruction of the town.

In 1440, Danzig joined the Prussian Confederation, a coalition of several cities and a number of nobles against the machinations of the Teutonic Order. The Confederation offered King Casimir IV Jagiełło for Prussia to become a fief of the Kingdom of Poland in 1454, thus gaining his support in the war with the Order. During the war, the castle in Danzig was destroyed - likely not only to deny the Order a foothold, but also to prevent the king of Poland to put a garrison in the castle. Danzig wanted to remain as independent as possible.

The war ended in 1466 (Second Peace of Thorn), western Prussia with Danzig became part of Poland which finally gained a sea port again; eastern Prussia remained with the Teutonic Order as Duchy of Prussia. Most sorely felt by the Teutonic Knights was probably the loss of the Marienburg which fell to the Polish Crown. The Order moved its main seat to Kaliningrad (Königsberg). Danzig - which basically had financed the war for the king - kept most of its privileges, like minting rights, diet meetings, and the administrative use of the German language.

Danzig, St.Mary Church, west tower

Danzig's importance increased with the fall of Constantinople to the Turks in 1453 and the subsequent loss of the Black Sea harbours. Corn from south-eastern Europe had to be transported on the Vistula via Danzig to the trade centres in England, Scandinavia and the Netherlands.

An attempt by the Teutonic Knights to regain the town in 1520 was thwarted when the king of Poland sent a relief force. Danzig and the part of Prussia called Royal Pomerania became part of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth, one of the largest countries in 16th-17th century Europe. It was officially established in 1569 (Union of Lublin). In 1577, another Polish king of the Jagiellonian dynasty who got the job iure uxoris, Stephen Báthory, refused to acknowledge the privileges of 1466, whereof the city refused homage. Stephen laid siege to the town, but unsuccessfully, and in the end had to renew the privileges.

At that time, Danzig held the staple rights, a privilege that involved a lot of money. By the early 17th century, the town was the most importand transshipment point for corn in Europe. It was the time of bloom for Danzig; its pretty Renaissance buildings date to the 16th century.

Danzig, remains of the town fortifications (foreground) and the harbour front

The next post will be a virtual tour through the town.

Nora Berend, Przemysław Urbańczyk and Przemysław Wiszewski: Central Europe in the High Middle Ages. Bohemia, Hungary and Poland c.900-c.1300; Cambridge Mediaeval Textbooks, 2013
Eduard Mühle: Die Piasten. Polen im Mittelalter, München 2011
Jürgen Sarnowsky: Der Deutsche Orden, München 2007
William Urban: The Teutonic Knights. A Military History, 2003; reprint by Frontline Publ. 2018


3 Feb 2019
  History of Rugia: Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus

I've already mentioned Prince Wilhelm Malte I of Putbus (1783 - 1854) in my prior post. He was the scion of the Slavic noble family of Putbus (the lords of Putbus trace their lineage to the 12th century) whose members had intermarried with the Swedish nobility since Rugia belonged to Sweden in the aftermath of the Thirty Years War (1648). His father was the Swedish Marshal of Court Malte Friedrich of Putbus. His mother was Sophie Wilhelmine von der Schulenburg, a German noble family who - going back to the 13th century - would rise to important positions under the kings of Prussia. Malte's grandfather Moritz Ulrich of Putbus already renovated the family palace and built a hunting lodge in the forests of the Granitz; his grandson would expand on those and found the town of Putbus around the palace.

The Neo-Gothic hunting lodge Granitz

Malte, whose father died when he was three years old, studied at the universities of Greifswald (which is not far from Rugia) and Göttingen. In July 1800, he joined the Stockholm Life Hussars, two years later he was created chamberlain, and in May 1807, he was elevated to the rank of Prince by King Gustav IV Adolf of Sweden.

Malte must have been a skilled diplomat because he managed to rise under different kings. Swedish officers arrested King Gustav Adolf in a coup d'état in 1809, and forced him to adopt the French Marshal Charles John Bernadotte as heir; he acted a regent and became king in 1818. I don't know if Malte of Putbus was involved in that coup.

A few years later, Napoleon occupied Swedish-Pomerania and Rugia on his way to Russia (January 1812), which understandably angered Bernadotte - to the point that he opened up negotiations with Russia instead. He also nominated Malte of Putbus Governor-general of Swedish-Pomerania.

Hunting lodge Granitz in the afternoon sun

After the Congress of Vienna, Rugia fell to Prussia. King Friedrich Wilhelm III confirmed Malte's rank as Prince and his position as Governor-general, and bestowed the hereditary honour of a Lord Marshal (Erblandmarchall) upon him in 1817. This gave Malte of Putbus the right to preside over the regional council. King Friedrich Wilhlem entrusted Malte of Putbus with diplomatic missions, for example the representation of Prussia at the coronation of Queen Victoria in 1838 - there you got your English connection again. *grin*

Hunting lodge Granitz

Malte of Putbus took a keen interest in the economic and cultural development of Rugia. He founded a school for boys, established chalk factories, sugar mills and a shipbuilding wharf, and he distributed his land to farmers under hereditary leases. He founded the town of Putbus around the family palace, and added a fine ensemble of Neo-Classicist buildings, earning Putbus the name of 'white town'. I had no time to visit Putbus, only drove through the town and glimpsed some of the pretty buildings.

Seen from a different angle

Malte's grandfather first had built a hunting lodge on the Tempelberg in the Granitz forest; a building in half-timbered style. His grandson wanted something more comfortable and definitely more spectacular. He built a lodge that looks part Medieaval castle, complete with a keep from where you can look far over the land, part Renaissance palace. The construction took several years, since work was only done in summer, and would cost 100,000 thaler - it was finally finished in 1846. Malte of Putbus received several famous visitor there, including King Friedrich Wilhelm IV and the Chancellor Otto of Bismarck.

Not really Mediaeval towers

The family was disowned after WW2 - Rugia being in East Germany - but never regained their possessions after the reunification. The hunting lodge has been renovated and is now a museum. But I admit that none of the exhibitions currently on display was of sufficient interest to me to pay the high entrance fee.

The Lost Fort is a travel and history blog based on my journeys in Germany, the UK, Scandinavia, the Baltic Countries, and central Europe. It includes virtual town and castle tours with a focus on history, museum visits, hiking tours, and essays on Roman and Mediaeval history, illustrated with my own photos.

This blog is non-commercial.

All texts and photos (if no other copyright is noted) are copyright of Gabriele Campbell.

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Location: Goettingen, Germany

I'm a blogger from Germany with a MA in Literature and History, 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 still hasn't got an Instagram account.
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The Pleasantest Spot in Wales

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Akershus Fortress in Oslo
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Vardøhus Fortress


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Gnisvärd Ship Setting


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Mediaeval Porvoo



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Gdańsk / Danzig
History of Mediaeval Gdańsk
Mediaeval and Renaissance Gdańsk

The Old Town
Jewish Kraków - Kazimierz and the Ghetto

Wrocław / Breslau
The Botanical Garden
The Wrocław Dwarfs


Ogrodzieniec Castle
A Virtual Tour
First Castle to the Boner Family



Cheb / Eger
The Old Town

Karlovy Vary / Karlsbad
Brief History of the Town

Kutná Hora
The Sedlec Ossuary
The Medieaval Town and St.Barbara's Church



The Old Town

Mediaeval Bruges

Mediaeval Ghent

Mediaeval Buildings

Roman Remains

Atuatuca Tungrorum / Tongeren
Roman Remains in the Town



Luxembourg City
A Tour of the Town

City Trips

St.Petersburg (Russia)
Impressions from the Neva River

Strasbourg (France)
A Tour of the Town

Hiking Tours and Cruises


Baltic Sea Coast
Flensburg Firth
Rugia: Jasmund Peninsula and Kap Arkona
Rugia: Photo Impressions
Rugia: The Pier of Sellin
A Tour on the Wakenitz River

Lüneburg Heath
Hiking Tours in the Lüneburg Heath

Harz National Park
Arboretum (Bad Grund)
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
Devil's Wall
Ilse Valley and Ilse's Rock
Oderteich Reservoir
Rappbode Reservoir
Views from Harz mountains

Nature Park Meissner-Kaufunger Wald
Bruchteiche / Bad Sooden Allendorf
Hessian Switzerland

Nature Park Solling-Vogler
The Forest Pasture Project
Raised Bog Mecklenbruch

Nature Park Reinhardswald
Old Forest at the Sababurg

Thuringian Forests
Oberderdorla and Hainich National Park

Rivers and Lakes
The Danube in Spring
Edersee Reservoir
A Rainy Rhine Cruise
Vineyards at Saale and Unstrut
Weser River Ferry
Weser Skywalk

Harz Falcon Park
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The Baltic Sea Life
Ozeaneum Stralsund: The North Sea Life
Red squirrels

Spring Impressions from Göttingen
Spring in the Hardenberg Castle Gardens
Spring in the Meissner
Memories of Summer
Summer Hiking Tours 2016
Autumn in the Meissner
Autumn at Werra and Weser
Winter at the 'Kiessee' Lake

United Kingdom

The East Coast
By Ferry to Newcastle
Highland Mountains: Inverness to John o'Groats
Impressions from the East Coast

Scottish Sea Shores
Crossing to Mull
Mull: Craignure to Fionnphort
Dunollie and Kilchurn: Photo Impressions
Pentland Firth
Summer in Oban

Scotland by Train
West Highland Railway

Views of Snowdownia

Sea Gulls


Coast of Norway: Hurtigruten-Tour
A Voyage into Winter
Along the Coast of Norway - Light and Darkness
Along the Coast of Norway - North of the Polar Circle

Norway by Train
From Oslo to Bergen
From Trondheim to Oslo

Bearded Seals
Dog Sledding With Huskies
Eagles and Gulls in the Trollfjord

The Baltic Sea

A Baltic Sea Cruise

The Curonian Spit in Lithuania
Beaches at the Curonian Spit
Geology of the Curonian Spit

Mediaeval History

General Essays

by Country
- Germany
- England
- Scotland
- Wales
- Denmark
- Norway
- Sweden
- Livonia
- Lithuania
- Poland
- Bohemia
- Luxembourg
- Flanders

Roman History

The Romans at War
Famous Romans
Roman Life and Religion

Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age
Post-Mediaeval History
History and Literature

Mediaeval History

General Essays

Mediaeval Warfare


Late Mediaeval Swords

Mediaeval Art and Craft

Mediaeval Art
The Choir Screen in the Cathedral of Mainz
The Gospels of Heinrich the Lion
The Hunting Frieze in Königslutter Cathedral
Mediaeval Monster Carvings
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Medical Instruments


The History of Feudalism
The Beginnings
Feudalism in the 10th Century

Special Cases
The privilege of the deditio

The Hanseatic League

The History of the Hanseatic League
Introduction and Beginnings

Hanseatic Architecture
Examples of Brick Architecture
Hall Houses (Dielenhäuser)

Goods and Trade
Stockfish Trade

Towns of the Hanseatic League
Tallinn / Reval

The Order of the Teutonic Knights

Wars and Battles
The Conquest of Danzig
The Siege of Vilnius 1390

The Vikings

Viking Material Culture
The Viking Treasure of Hiddensee

Viking Ships
The Nydam Ship

Essays by Country



List of Mediaeval German Emperors
Anglo-German Marriage Connections

Kings and Emperors

The Salian Dynasty
King Heinrich IV

Staufen against Welfen
Emperor Otto IV

Princes and Lords

House Welfen
Heinrich the Lion's Ancestors
The Dukes of Braunschweig-Grubenhagen
Otto the Quarrelsome of Braunschweig-Göttingen

The Landgraves of Thuringia
The Ludowing Landgraves of Thuringia
Albrecht II and Friedrich I of Thuringia

Dukes and Princes of other Families
Duke Otto of Northeim
Prince Wilhelm Malte of Putbus

Counts and Local Lords
The Marshals of Ebersburg
The Counts of Everstein
The Counts of Hohnstein
The Lords of Plesse
The Counts of Reichenbach
The Counts of Winzenburg

Feuds and Rebellions

Royal Troubles
Otto IV and Bishop Adalbert II of Magdeburg

Local Feuds
The Lüneburg Succession War
The Thuringian Succession War
The Star Wars


Kings of England

House Plantagenet
Richard Lionheart in Speyer
King Henry IV's Lithuanian Crusade

Normans, Britons, Angevins

Great Noble Houses
The Dukes of Brittany
The Earls of Richmond

Contested Borders

King Stephen's Troubles with King David of Scots


Kings of Scots

House Dunkeld
Malcolm III and Northumbria
Struggle for the Throne: Malcolm III to David I
King David and the Civil War, Part 1
King David and the Civil War, Part 2

Houses Bruce and Stewart
The Early Stewart Kings

Local Troubles

Clan Feuds
MacLeans and MacDonalds
A Scottish Wedding

Scotland and England

The Wars of Independence
Alexander of Argyll
The Fight for Stirling Castle


Welsh Princes

The Princes of Gwynedd
The Rise of House Aberffraw

Wales and England

A History of Rebellion
Llywellyn ap Gruffudd to Owain Glyn Dŵr


Kings of Denmark

House of Knýtlinga
Harald Bluetooth's Flight to Pomerania

Danish Rule in the Baltic Sea

The Duchy of Estonia
Danish Kings and German Sword Brothers


Kings of Norway

Foreign Relations
King Eirik's Scottish Marriages
King Håkon V's Swedish Politics
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

Feuds and Rebellions

Alv Erlingsson of Tønsberg


Troubles and Alliances

Scandinavian Unity
Beginnings of the Kalmar Union

(Latvia and Estonia)

Contested Territories

Livonian Towns
The History of Mediaeval Riga
The History of Mediaeval Tallinn


Lithuanian Princes

The Geminid Dynasty
Troublesome Cousins - Jogaila and Vytautas

The Northern Crusades

The Wars in Lithuania
The Siege of Vilnius 1390


Royal Dynasties

The Jagiełłonian Kings
Władysław Jagiełło and the Polish-Lithuanian Union

The Northern Crusades

The Conquest of Pomerania / Prussia
The Conquest of Danzig


Royal Dynasties

The Bohemian Kings of House Luxembourg
King Sigismund and the Hussite Wars


House Luxembourg
King Sigismund


More to come

Roman History

The Romans at War

Forts and Fortifications

The German Limes
The Cavalry Fort Aalen
Limes Fort Osterburken
Limes Fort Saalburg

The Hadrian's Wall
The Fort at Segedunum / Wallsend

Border Life
Exercise Halls
Mile Castles and Watch Towers
Soldiers' Living Quarters
Cavalry Barracks

Campaigns and Battles

The Romans in Germania

The Pre-Varus Invasion in Germania
Roman Camp Hedemünden
New Finds in 2008

The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Museum Park at Kalkriese

The Battle at the Harzhorn

The Batavian Rebellion
A Short Introduction

Roman Militaria

Early Imperial Helmets
Late Roman Helmets
The Negau B Helmet

Weapon Finds at Hedemünden
The pilum

Other Equipment
Roman Saddles

Famous Romans

The Late Empire

The Legend of Alaric's Burial

Roman Life and Religion

Religion and Public Life

Curse Tablets and Good Luck Charms
Isis Worship
Memorial Stones
The Mithras Cult

Public Life
Roman Transport: Barges
Roman Transport: Amphorae and Barrels
Roman Water Supply

Roman Public Baths

Domestic Life

Roman villae
Villa Urbana Longuich
Villa Rustica Wachenheim

Everyday Life
Bathing Habits
Children's Toys
Face Pots

Other Times

Neolithicum to Iron Age


Development of Civilisation
European Bread Museum, Ebergötzen
The Hutewald Project in the Solling
Open Air Museum Oerlinghausen

Neolithic Remains
Stone Burials of the Funnelbeaker Culture
The Necropolis of Oldendorf

Bronze Age / Iron Age
The Nydam Ship


Neolithic Orkney
The Neolithic Landscape of Orkney
Ring of Brodgar
Skara Brae
Life in Skara Brae

Bronze Age / Iron Age
Clava Cairns
The Brochs of Gurness and Midhowe - Their Function in Iron Age Society


Bronze / Iron Age
The Ship Setting of Gnisvärd / Gotland

Post-Mediaeval History

Explorers and Discoveries

Fram Expedition to the North Pole
Fram Expedition to the South Pole

Otto von Guericke and the Magdeburg Hemispheres
Raising a Wreck, Now and Then (Vasa Museum in Stockholm)

History and Literature


The Weimar Classicism


Geological Landscapes: Germany

Baltic Sea Coast
Chalk Cliffs on Rugia
Flint Fields on Rugia

Harz Mountains
Bode Valley and Rosstrappe Cliff
The 'Hübichenstein' Rock
Karst Formations in Southern Harz
The Lonau Falls
The Rhume Springs
Sandstone Formations: Daneil's Cave
Sandstone Formations: Devil's Wall
Sandstone Formations: The Klus Rock

Meissner / Kaufunger Wald
Blue Dome near Eschwege
Diabase and Basalt Formations
Karst Formations
Salt Springs at the Werra

Raised Bog Mecklenbruch
Hannover Cliffs

Geological Landscapes: Great Britain

The Shores of Scotland

Geological Landscapes: Baltic Sea

Geology of the Curonian Spit

Fossils and Other Odd Rocks

Fossilized Ammonites
The Loket Meteorite (Czechia)

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