There’s lots to discover and experience in the Hanseatic and university city of Rostock. Here we have put together a selection of sights, destinations, and tips so that you can make the most of your stay.


St. Mary’s Church in Rostock is one of the most beautiful and important churches in the city. The first mention of a church building on this site was in 1232. In 1454, the construction of the church as you can see it today was completed. When the three districts of the city were unified between 1262 and 1265, St. Mary’s Church was made the main city church. The transept and nave of the cross-shaped basilica are the same length and accentuate the imposing presence of this Gothic masterpiece. Until 1988, the church was used as the university church. Some of the main features of St. Mary’s Church include its 86.32m steeple and its stunning decorations, such as the apostle-go-round, which dates from 1472, the bronze baptismal font, from 1290, and the astronomical clock.

The first version of the church’s astronomical clock was built by clock maker Nikolaus Düringer in 1379. It was replaced by a new clock made by Hans Düringer in 1472. Between 1641 and 1643, there were some external modifications made to the clock and the mechanics were subsequently restored in 1974. The fact that the technical masterpiece is still almost in its original state today and that the original clock mechanism from 1472 is still working makes this clock unique. The medieval clockwork is wound by hand every day.

The main clock in the upper part of the astronomical clock displays an entire hour with a rotation of 24 hours. With each hour display you can also see animal roundels and the labours of the months. Two discs, which move in an anti-clockwise direction, show the phases on the moon and sun. You can also see different calendar dates from the past and the future on the calendar disc.
As well as the astronomical clock, which is a technical work of art, St. Mary’s Church in Rostock is also home to several other interesting architectural treasures such as the pulpit, royal box, organ, steeple, bells, and side chapels.
While you’re in the area you can also pay a visit to Surya, the newest inhabitant of Rostock Zoo, and her 4,200 neighbours as the zoo is just 10 minutes from St. Mary’s Church.


St. Peter’s Church in Rostock is the oldest and tallest of the four city churches. It was first mentioned in official documents in 1252. The first church built on the site of St. Peter’s Church was significantly smaller and probably made from wood. The Gothic basilica with three transepts that you can see today was constructed in the mid-14th century. The tower of the St. Peter’s Church stands 117 m tall and can be seen far from the East of the city.


The steeple of St. Peter’s Church, which is located on the tread of the Warnow river, was built in around the year 1500 and has been used by seafarers and fishermen as a bearing for centuries and as such it is included as a landmark on almost all nautical charts. Over the years, the tower has been damaged several times by storms and bad weather, but it has always been repaired and rebuilt.
St. Peter’s Church was severely damaged during the British bombing of Rostock in 1942 during the Second World War. Luckily the 48m-high steeple shaft was not damaged but the steeple itself collapsed and destroyed many of the valuable objects within the church. Between 1992 and 1995, the Gothic spire was reconstructed and in 1995 the renovated weathercock was returned to its rightful place atop the steeple.


Visitors can climb the 196 steps of the spiral staircase, or take the more comfortable elevator, and visit the viewing platform of the St. Peter’s Church steeple. On days when the weather is particularly good, the platform on the 44m-high steeple offers visitors a wonderful view over the entire city of Rostock and its surroundings – right out to the village of Warnemünde and the Baltic Sea.

The former Cistercian convent was founded in 1270 by Queen Margaret of Denmark. According to legend, she donated the money for the convent as an atonement. The Abbey of the Holy Cross is named after its founding relic, a splinter from Jesus‘ cross. The widowed Queen Margaret spent the final years of her life in the convent, which was authorised by Pope Innocent V in 1276. After her death in 1282, she was buried at the Doberan Abbey and her role as the sole benefactress of the abbey was thrown into doubt. It is now widely believed that the citizens of Rostock also made significant contributions to the abbey.
The Church of the Abbey of the Holy Cross was built in around 1350/1360. The church is a three-transept basilica with a single transept chancel. The abbey church has a characteristic ridge turret however it does not have a steeple, in accordance with building regulations. Since the extensive restoration carried out by the German architect Gotthilf Ludwig Möckel in 1898 and 1899, the abbey church has been used as the university church.
Today, the Abbey of the Holy Cross houses the Rostock Cultural History Museum. The abbey complex with the church, cloisters and refectory has been preserved in its entirety.


The Rostock Cultural History Museum was founded in 1859. It is one of the oldest museums in Northern Germany and is also home to one of the largest and most important art-historical collections in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The collections range from paintings, drawings, and crafts, to coins, furniture, militaria, everyday culture, and archaeology. The Cultural History Museum is located in the former Cistercian Abbey of the Holy Cross, and the convent church and historical spaces provide a unique backdrop for the permanent and temporary exhibitions on show.
The exhibition in the cloisters of the former convent gives visitors a fascinating glimpse into the history of the Rostock convent. They can also learn about the everyday and festive culture of the former upper and middle classes of the city through the craft exhibition. The coin collection of the Cultural History Museum shows the coin history of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
You can also find a wide variety of paintings, drawings, and sculptures in the vast art collection. The exhibitions on Dutch art, modern art that was ostracized during the Second World War or art in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are all particularly worth a visit. The “Rostock on Art Works” exhibition, with help from numerous paintings and drawings, creates a panorama of the city from the 16th to the 20th century, giving visitors a real insight into just how much the city has changed over the last 500 years.
In an exhibition of historical toys, the Cultural History Museum gives visitors a glimpse in what children’s rooms would have been like in the past, particularly those of middle- and upper-class children.
Alongside the permanent exhibitions at the Abbey of the Holy Cross, there are also regular special exhibitions that focus on different aspects of culture, art, and the history of the city.



After the three former areas of the city were unified in 1265, construction started on the town fortifications. The fortifications surrounded Rostock from around the mid-13th century and included the city wall, gates, towers, guardhouses, and ramparts. When it was built, the city wall was 3 kilometres long and featured over 20 gates, in between which were numerous guardhouses. These guardhouses could be found every 50 to 80 metres along the length of wall and were later turned into towers at several important points. As Rostock grew beyond the city walls, the city was “defortified“ and the height of the city wall was reduced. Parts of the city wall were destroyed during the bombings in 1942 and then later removed. The Kuhtor (“Cow gate”), Steintor (“Stone gate”) and Kröpeliner Tor (“Kröpelin gate”) are the three last city gates that are still standing and the classical Mönchentor (“Monk’s gate”) is the only beach gate remaining. The Kuhtor is the oldest city gate in Mecklenburg and was first mentioned in documents dating from 1262. There are still some part of the city wall remaining over a length of 1.3 kilometres in total. The longest complete part of the wall that remains stretches from the Kröpeliner Tor to Schwaanschen Straße and is around 450m long.


Today, the Kröpeliner Tor houses a permanent exhibition on the history of the Rostock fortifications from the Middle Ages to today – “Dem Bürger zur Ehr – dem Feind zur Wehr" (“Citizens to victory – Enemies to the Defence”) . It is also a meeting centre for people interest in the history of the city and is run by the Rostock Historical Workshop.


The 7.8 hectare Botanical Gardens of Rostock University, located close to the city centre and the port, were first opened in 1939. Since then it has been placed under monument protection because of its landscaping and largely original collections of plants. The arboretum has grown a wide variety of bushes and trees which now form a picturesque backdrop for the many facilities here. The natural relief and favourable location creates small individual landscapes in the gardens.
In the western side of the Botanical Gardens in an orchid-rich bog meadow, the Kayenmühlengraben brook springs and flows through the natural stream course of the garden and three fish-filled ponds. There are many different meadow habitats, including a large sandy dry grassland, whose abundance of flowers show the biodiversity of meadows with moraine sandy subsoils, which were common in Germany in the past. Above it, you can find the Alpinium which was designed in the 1930’s and houses rocks from the Alps and plants from mountain ranges all over the world. From the highest point in the gardens, visitors have an excellent view of the Japanese Garden, with its listed thatched-roof house, and the beech, alder carr and dune habitats. The medicinal and herbal, morphological and systematics plants sections are home to many plants that have been gathered from warmer regions of the planet, and which usually only grow and bloom during summer.


Visitors can marvel at plants from warmer climates in the Loki Schmidt greenhouse. It houses collections of plants from tropical rainforests and sub-tropical varieties of plants from deserts and semi-deserts all around the world. There are special areas that focus on tropical useful plants, water plants, carnivorous plants and epiphytes. The crowning jewels of the collection are tropical trees and lots of bromeliad, orchids, cacti and ferns. The collection mainly consists of plants from Africa, Madagascar and the Canary Islands.


The Rostock Art Hall was opened in 1969 and is located on the swan pond in the Reutershagen district of the city. The hall shows exhibitions of contemporary art as well as modern classics. The listed building, which dates from the 1960’s, houses a collection of graphic prints, paintings and sculptures with some pieces of local and East German artwork. One very important piece in the Hall’s collection is the donation made by the artist Otto Niemeyer-Holstein.


When it opened, the Rostock Art Hall was the first modern exhibition hall for contemporary art in the former GDR. Even today, it is the only exhibition centre for contemporary art in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The port and the continuously developing shipping industry in Rostock led to a boom in the population of the city. Many young families, etc., who were the target group of the Art Hall, moved to the city. Today the Art Hall acts as a museum and exhibition centre that shows contemporary art including works from important artists from the region, as well as from throughout Germany and abroad.



With its flowers, streams, ancient trees, unique willow cathedral and beautiful beach, the spacious IGA Park on the banks on the Warnow is the perfect place for a family adventure. The park’s rose garden alone is unique to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern simply because of its size and the variety of plants that it contains. Over 10,000 roses in 400 varieties bloom in a field that is over 6,000m2 in size. Rose-lovers can spend all summer here in their element, enjoying the blaze of colours and the enchanting scent of the roses. The international gardens, such as the Chinese and Japanese gardens are a fun attraction for all the family and children can run riot at the exciting playgrounds.
Perennial flowerbeds, heather gardens and the newly designed rhododendren grove give the IGA Park an face that changes in time with the seasons.


Alongside the more traditional topics for school classes and preschools, the environment education project has a wide range of activities on offer, with presentations, excursions for young and old, and even guided tours, all just waiting to be discovered! Exhibitions, open air festivals, concerts, folk festivals, craft festivals and the preservation of the region’s cultural heritage round off the varied events and activities on offer. The IGA Park really shows off the variety of the regions culture as it also has a miniature world with original models created around the theme of “Castles and mansions of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern” in the rose garden and a fitness trail. A barefoot trail leads to a narrow path through a woodland and meadows and a natural, unspoilt area. Along the reed belt, through boggy areas, across maintained lawns and more established paths to the sandy beach – a total of 25 different surface layers and subsoils can be found here. The IGA Park Rostock and the Maritime Museum offer a year-round program full of events and excitement.


On board Germany’s largest floating museum, visitors can experience the world of shipbuilding and seafaring thanks to a collection of over 12,000 exhibits. The former freighter DRESDEN was built at the Warnow shipyard in Warnemünde and put to sea in 1958. Under the flag of the German Shipping Company in Rostock, the ship was used as a liner service and travelled to Asia, Africa and Latin America. Since 1970, the former freighter has been anchored in the lower Warnow under the name Frieden (in German “Traditionsschiff Typ Frieden”) and on the 13th of June of the same year the shipbuilding museum was opened onboard.


On board the 10,000-ton listed deep-sea freighter in the IGA Park, visitors can experience the history of shipbuilding on the Baltic Sea. The exhibition in the Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum covers commercial shipping in the GDR, seaplane construction and the use of renewable energy through offshore wind turbine plants. The preserved “Memorial Rooms” make it possible for visitors of all ages to experience the exhibition. This includes the machine room, rudder machine room, the bridges, the radio station, the ship hospital and various different cabins.
A particular highlight of the Shipbuilding and Maritime Museum is the new historic boat builder’s yard. With its show demonstrations, it gives visitors an insight into wooden ship building processes from years gone by. The traditional ship, the museum fleet with Langen Heinrich (a floating crane), the concrete ship, the lifting ship and the museum’s outside facilities offer visitors a wide variety of experiences. Through presentations, story-telling sessions and museum tours, visitors can learn lots of interesting information about seafaring.