Warnemunde and Rostock

As a cruise port, most people use Warnemunde as a gateway to Berlin, but if you’ve been to Berlin before or you think Berlin needs more than just eight hours of exploration, then you might find yourself exploring the little seaside towns of Rostock and Warnemunde instead. Which is what we decided to do today.

Rostock is the largest city in the northern German state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, located on the Warnow River.  It is a beautiful university town, with the University of Rostock at its centre having been founded in the early 1400s.

The Neuer Markt with its double gabled houses and vaulted cellars were built in 1270.

Directly opposite is the Rostock Town Hall, which is a large baroque fronted building with seven brickwork spires.Right next to this centre part of town is the St Marien Church.  With buildings across narrow streets right beside this church on every side, it is very difficult to stand back far enough to take a photo of the outside of the building – but it is a stunning and very significant church having been built in 1230 and it contains a unique medieval astronomical clock.Stained glass in the southern portal windows depicting “Christ as the Judge of the World”.  Tirolean stained glass painting. c.1904.  Wing of the Our Lady Altar, the painting depicting scenes from the passion of Christ.  (c1430-1440AD). The Prince’s Gallery and pipe organ were added in 1749-1751 for Duke Christian Ludwig II who reigned at this period.  The two-storey organ was Rostock local, Paul Schmidt, however from the outset, the instrument was deemed wheezy and it needed considerable restoration work as early as 1791.  The present organ dates from 1938 and was made in Frankfurt.  It is a 4-manual siding chest organ with electro-pneumatic action and 83 stops with 4 free combinations (which no doubt means something to someone, but very little to me).  It certainly is quite an impressive work of art. Both the organ, the Prince’s Gallery, and the pulpit which was added around the same time have been executed in a soft olive green with gilded accents to maintain a singular colour scheme with the main altar. The main altar was created by cabinet maker Kahlert and painters Hohenschildt, Marggraf and Bromann. Behind the main altar is the most extraordinary astronomical clock that was made in 1472, attributed to master clockmaker Hans Duringer.  Before this, Duringer made the Danzig Clock at St Mary’s in Danzig, which together with the Rostock Clock makes the ‘Baltic Clock Family’.  This clock in Rostock is the only one that still has its medieval clockworks, which are still in working order.  From 1641-1643, it was renovated and extended, figures were changed and a carillon was added.  The latest restoration occurred between 1974 and 1977.The clock consists of a calendarium and a clock face, figures of the apostles stand in niches at the top, and Christ is depicted in the middle.  At midday and midnight, one of the apolstlyst walks from right to left and the carillon plays at ever other hour. The field below shows the time of day, the zodiac with the appropriate month sign, the position of the sun, and the phases of the moon.   The calendarium is approximately 2m in diameter and revolves 360 degrees one every year.   Carved figures supporting the calendarium. In the northern portal is this spectacular triptych altar piece. Fountain in the Rostock University Square. The Kropelin Gate is a magnificent fortification gate built in 1280, one of 22 former city gates.  Now the ultra modern KTC shopping center sits incongruously right beside it! View from the top of the Kropelin Gate… below are part of the medieval walled fortress. Canon balls. Kropelin Gate. After wandering Rostock a little more and doing some shopping, the weather started to come in.  Normally when this happens, I head for a museum, and Rostock has an excellent museum – the Kulturhistorisches Museum of Rostock.  Unfortunately for us, it’s a Monday and that means, (in the habitually annoying habit of museums the world over), that all the museums in the town were unhappily closed today.  Instead, we decided to head back to Warnemunde to find a nice German pub to warm up and to find a couple of pints and maybe some schnitzel… as you do!

I honestly thought I was ordering a chicken fillet burger of some sort… the menu said: ‘hamburger chicken schnitzel) – turned out to be chicken schnitzel with potato and an egg on it!  Delicious still.
And… mulled wine!The canals of Warnemunde. A quaint little fountain I found in a back street… I could find no information on this and not being able to read the plaque that was situated beside it, it remains a mystery.  🙂  European lock habits strike again. As luck would have it we have arrived in the area in the middle of the summer strawberry festival – I have never seen so many strawberry based products before… strawberry soft drink, strawberry liquor, strawberry hand creams and beauty products, strawberry confectionery and strawberry homewares!

We had a lovely day in Rostock, my only lament was that the historical and cultural museum was shut.. but you have to be somewhere on a Monday when you’re traveling, and unfortunately we were here.

The port of Warnemunde is a very busy little place, and quite a nice stop for an easy day of cultural immersion instead of running all the way to Berlin and doing the headless chook thing.

I found this schedule of ships that were due in during the 2017 season – the Regal Princess is the biggest one that calls in here.