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There is a wide variety of destinations not just in the Hanseatic city of Rostock itself but also in the surrounding areas – from breathtaking natural spaces and stunning historical buildings to adventurous experience, there is plenty to discover.
Nature in all its glory – this is perhaps the best way to describe the idyllic seaside resort of Nienhagen, located between Warnemünde and Heiligendamm. It’s rare for visitors to this part of the Baltic Sea coast in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to find such a harmonious mix of beaches, coastal cliffs, water and woodland.
THE GHOST WOOD
The Ghost Wood is famous even far beyond the borders of Germany. The reason why this wood is so unique is because of the “ghostly” shaped trees that have been naturally deformed by water and the wet, salty air. With its bizarrely-shaped trees, the Ghost Wood in Nienhagen resembles a magical, fairytale world and amazes visitors. The trees that make up the wood are mostly oak, beech, hornbeam and ash and some of them are thought to be up to 170 years old. The enchanting sunsets here give visitors the opportunity to let their imaginations run wild.
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.
EXTENSIVE RENOVATION WORK
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.
VIEW OVER ROSTOCK
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.
ABBEY OF THE HOLY CROSS
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 Bad Doberan Minster lies on the "European Route of Brick Gothic". The High Gothic church was built in the late 13th century and was part of the former Cistercian abbey. The abbey was founded in 1171 and was of great political and historical importance in the Middle Ages as it was the first abbey in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, and it was used as a burial site for local rulers. In addition, it was vital to the cultural and economic development of Mecklenburg and was a centre for Christianity in the region. The importance of abbey is reflected in the construction and features of the minster.
FEATURES OF THE DOBERAN MINSTER
For the most part, the stunning original features of the minster have escaped damage from wars, etc. There is no other Cistercian abbey church where the stunning High Middle Age features have remained intact. The high altar, the oldest winged alter in the history of art, the monumental rood screen altar of the Holy Cross and the grave monument of the Danish Queen Margaret of Sambiria are all particularly worth visiting. Even after the Reformation and the suppression of the monasteries in 1552, the church remained untouched and was used as a burial site and a parish church. Visitors can find out more about the special characteristics of the architecture and the interior features of the Doberan Minster by taking part in a guided tour.
A key historical feature of the region is the “Molli”, the oldest light railway on the Baltic Sea coast. The steam engine started operating regularly in 1886 and transported passengers to their destination along a stretch of track between Bad Doberan and Heiligendamm. From 1910, the train also travelled to and from Kühlungsborn, and today the line continues to connect the three Baltic Sea resorts. The „Molli“ covers the 15.4 kilometres from Bad Doberan to Kühlungsborn, or vice versa, in around 45 minutes and passengers can enjoy a picturesque view of the coast. The train chugs along merrily, transporting passengers to and from their destinations up to 11 times a day. In addition, visitors can enjoy a variety of different experiences such as moonlit train rides or trips to the train workshop, and the train even offers special event trips such as the “Great Train Robbery” which is particularly popular amongst younger passengers.
Swing from tree to tree like Tarzan and cross rickety bridges and overcome rope obstacles just like Indiana Jones – it’s all possible at the Hohe Düne Climbing Park! Located on the Markgrafenheide beach, visitors can look forward to 2.5 hours of fun, adventure and action.
Climbers can test their skills on over 130 different climbing obstacles ranging from net bridges and swinging planks, to the Tarzan rope swing. Visitors go from tree to tree, step by step, completing 9 courses of increasing difficulty.
The Hohe Düne Climbing Park is a unique activity that is suitable for almost everyone! Whether you’re visiting with family, a class of schoolchildren, your friends or colleagues – everyone should try this fun obstacle course right in the middle of a beautiful natural forest. Children need to be at least 5 years old to do the course which means that even our youngest visitors can discover the forest from a whole new perspective either independently or accompanied by their parents.
In the heart of the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park is the Kranorama on the Günz Lake. This is a particularly special destination for nature photographers and animal observers. The innovative crane oberservation centre is not just an observation platform, but also a information centre for these migratory birds.
Get up close and personal with the birds, which can grow up to 1.2m tall, through the live feeds and audiovisual media in the centre. Even walking along the “flyway” from the car park to the observation station is a unique experience. A series of panels provide details about the exciting lives of cranes and more information about the other inhabitants of the “Günzer Seewiesen” natural paradise.
Thanks to the barrier-free access to the platform, all visitors can enjoy this natural spectacle. At the Kranorama there are also seating areas where visitors can stay for a while and relax.
The feature that makes this observation platform special is the closed design which helps to limit the disturbances for the resting birds. In addition, it is located directly next to their feeding grounds. During feeding the birds are enticed to come very close to the platform. This also helps to protect the surrounding farmland ensuring a calm and pleasant cohabitation.
These graceful birds have been using this site as a resting place on their flying route for at least 150 years and have always fascinated the inhabitants of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern.
The Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park encompasses parts of the Baltic Sea and lagoon waters, as well as some land on the Darß-Zingst peninsula and the waters that lie to the west of the island of Rügen. The largest national park on the German Baltic Sea coast combines wild, raging seas and calm, quiet natural spaces. The unique lagoons of the Baltic Sea – known as boddens – and a coastline that is in constant motion are the area’s signature features.
In this area, the sea extracts sand from the West coast with unbridled energy. The current then moves the sand further eastwards over sandbanks in shallow water. The cargo is then deposited at the edges of the islands and peninsulas. Here large areas with windwatts and shallow water are created, which can sometimes dry up if there are strong winds blowing in a certain direction. Winter storms create barrier beaches that grow from sand spits in the sea. When the wind blows the dry sand, it creates a mosaic of sand dunes, lagoons and marshes.
Wind and water constantly reshape this unique island world.
Habitats in the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park
The habitats in the national park are incredibly varied and range from windwatt and sand dunes, to heaths, moorland and forests. Unusual plants and large and small animals, such as red deer or blue moor frogs, find exclusive habitats with plenty of space and are well protected here.
Thousands of feathered guests flock here every autumn and the crane migration is no longer a secret reserved for nature lovers. In winter, the small knots and sanderlings rush along the beach, but they are not the only winter guests from the Arctic. The shallow bodden waters in the national park are the perfect nursery for herrings, needlefish and other marine animals.
Wide reed belts mark the transition from water to land. These types of areas are the realms of marsh harriers, bitterns and grass snakes. Once the wood took root in the younger coastal land, extensive alder woods grew in the marshes and pine trees also germinate in the bare sand of the dunes and pave the way for rustic beech forests.
The varied natural environment of the Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park makes it the perfect place for long walks on the beach, through woodland and meadows, bike tours and carriage rides.
The German Amber Museum is located in Ribnitz Abbey. Here visitors can check out the permanent exhibition “Amber – The Gold of the North”. With a modern design in a historical location, the exhibition, with the help of 1600 exhibits, shows various different aspects of the natural and cultural history of amber in the Baltic Sea region. The many amber inclusions and valuable amber artworks from the 16th and 17th centuries, as well as contemporary works of art made from amber, are all particularly worth seeing.
Amber is a product of nature that has been almost 40 million years in the making. It is a tree resin that is hardened under specific conditions and has fascinated humans for thousands of years. In ancient times, amber was a coveted commodity and in the Middle Ages rosaries made from amber beads were all the rage. In the 16th and 17th centuries, wealthy and royal families often commissioned intricately carved showpieces made from amber and in the 19th century it was even used for medical and technical purposes.
Visitors can look forward to a varied and impressive exhibition area that tells them all about the colour variations and different sites in the region where amber has been found. A particular highlight of the exhibition is the unique range of inclusions (animal and plant inclusions in amber) on show. Gemstones are also brought into focus at this centre in the exhibition “The Colour of the Earth, from agate to zoisite”, which features around 2,000 exhibits from over 60 different countries. The exhibition also shows the diverse beauty of mussels and shells – whether they have a beautiful shape and surface or look slightly bizarre and shine as if they are made from porcelain or mother-of-pearl. Other parts of the exhibition focus on funghi, minerals, pearls, real natural specimens of birds and mammals, butterflies and fossils.
Nature lovers will also be in their element in the Paradise Garden, where they can see stunning rose and shrubbery blooms in a garden that is 3,500m² in size. In the museum shop you can purchase handmade opal jewellery, over 700 gemstones from over 60 different countries and gemstone and fossil jewellery. There is also a wide variety of gift ideas and decorative elements on sale here.
This open-air farming museum was founded in 1970. Since then, many more historical buildings from throughout Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have been carefully deconstructed, moved and then rebuilt in Klockenhagen for visitors to see. Today there are 20 different examples of North German architecture in a unique collection. The goal of the Klockenhagen open-air museum is to protect this type of architecture. Over the last few years, the focus has been on the revival of the farm. Visitors can experience traditional agricultural methods, including field cultivation and animal husbandry, traditional craftsmanship and lifestyles, customs and much more in an interactive way. In the six hectare museum grounds, visitors can discover how people used to live in the Mecklenburg region. A combination of green, park-like areas and reconstructions of historical villages provides the perfect backdrop for carefully designed exhibition areas and craftsmanship from days gone by. Timber-frame structures from 18 villages in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern have been brought together here and they feature showrooms, stables, and plenty of stories. Together with fields, garden, and animals that you would usually find in a farmstead, the Klockenhagen Open-Air Museum transports visitors through 300 years of regional history.
Spend some time with donkeys up close! The I-AAH Donkey Farm in Klockhagen, offers carriage or donkey rides and fun for all the family. If you are looking for an eventful day out, then pay a visit to the Donkey Farm located at the gateway to the Fischland-Darß-Zingst peninsula near Ribnitz-Damgarten. Whether you go on a carriage ride or donkey ride through the beautiful surroundings, it is sure to be an unforgettable day!
Here you can spend time with the 30 or so donkeys that live on the farm and take the reins as a carriage driver and visit the rest of the farm grounds. Smaller guests can also enjoy an exciting donkey ride. The team at I-AAH Donkey Farm are always on hand to help or answer any questions that you may have about donkeys.
The cuddly long-eared donkeys are not the only residents of the farm. Children that come to visit can also look forward to seeing alpacas, goats, guinea pigs and rabbits. There are also all kinds of feathered friends ready and waiting to welcome you to the farm!
Ahrenshoop Museum of Art is a new beacon in the museum landscape of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. With over 500 works of art from the Arenshoop artist’s colony and the subsequent 120 years of art history from Fischland/Darß and the surrounding area, visitors will be amazed by the extensive collection housed here. Famous – and forgotten – artists who have had an impact on modern German art are represented here. The Ahrenshoop Museum of Art represents the multi-faceted art scene of several generations with its varied collection.
Changing special exhibitions, a varied programme of events with lectures, concerts, art cinema, painting courses and a wide range of activities for children make the museum a creative meeting place. The museum, which was opened in August 2013, impresses visitors with its unique, multi award-winning architecture.
A visit here is an absolute must for anyone interested in 20th century art and modern architecture.
You can experience the ocean behind the walls of a former abbey in the German Oceanographic Museum in the old city of Straslund. The museum has been here, in the 760-year-old former Dominican St. Catherine’ Abbey, since 1951. The oceanographic exhibitions explore topics such as biological diversity, marine biology and fishing. The largest museum display case features an almost 5-metre high, colourful coral reef. Here, a fascinating sound and lights installation simulates what the reef would look like during the day and at night. Just next to the reef display, you can find the 15-metre long skeleton of a fin whale and the seven-metre long skeleton of a bottlenose whale. On you way around the museum you can also see specimens of polar bears, Japanese spider crabs, penguins and leatherback sea turtles. In the 36 tropical and Mediterranean aquariums, you can spot sharks, seahorses, colourful coral fish, rays and moray eels. The giant sea turtles are also very popular with visitors and you can see them in the largest pool in the museum which holds 350,000 litres of sea water.
Guided tours and public feeding times
At the 3000m2 German Oceanographic Museum, visitors can discover the underwater world of the planet’s oceans. It features, modern exhibitions and colourful, tropical aquariums that house giant sea turtles and the museum gives guests a chance to explore the world’s seas and oceans, learn more about their biodiversity, how we use them and the research that goes on in these habitats. Visitors can also opt to take part in one of the many guided tours offered by the museum during their visit, and the museum also organises public feeding times for the sea turtles and sharks for the visitors to watch. The museum also offers audioguides in German, Polish and English and a special audioguide for children.
Plunge into the depths of the ocean without getting wet by paying a visit to the Straslund Ozeaneum. This amazing attraction combines scientific exhibitions with spectacular aquariums. The Ozeaneum is home to the world’s largest whale exhibition which features life-size replicas of these ocean giants. The blue whale is by far the largest exhibit in the Ozeanuem and at over 30 metres long and weighing in at around 200 tons, it is the largest and heaviest known animal on the planet breaking all records in this giant collection. This also applies to how this model was created and how it made its way into the impressive exhibition hall. The incredibly realistic model is the result of a collaboration between scientists, craftsmen and artists who worked together to produce this almost 26 metre long and 9 ton blue whale replica.
In the five permanent exhibitions there is also an interactive exhibition for children and a penguin colony that lives on the roof of the building! The themed route through the North Sea is also a unique exhibition and it features 50 aquariums, some of which are huge. Through the 50m2 panoramic window of the largest pool, visitors might even be able to catch a glimpse of “Niki”, the 2.70m long female sand tiger shark, as well as a variety of different species of ray, two nurse sharks and silvery shoals of mackerel. In Europe’s largest Baltic Sea exhibition, visitors can discover the ocean habitat which is home to grey seals, white-tailed sea eagles and teeny tiny plankton.
Guided tours and public feeding times
A feeding of the Humboldt penguins, complete with a commentary from one of their keepers, takes place every day in the penguin enclosure on the roof terrace. There are also public feedings in the North and Baltic Sea aquariums and for many other of the Ozeaneum inhabitants. For anyone that is interested, the museum also offers guided tours where you can learn much more about the exhibits. Visitors can also discover the OZEANEUM on their own with an audioguide.
The city of Wismar is home to a tropical oasis which makes visitors feel like they are on holiday in some far-off island all year round. Wismar Indoor Water Park is one of the most modern and fun water and sports parks in Germany. It features 18 imaginative pools in a 15,000m2 complex and there is something for everyone, whether you fancy having some fun in the adventure wave pool, exploring the rocky cave under the palm trees, relaxing in the lazy river or taking a trip down one of the complex’s exhilarating slides. There is the Children’s turbo-charged slide or the Kamikaze and the Crazy River or Rafting Slide, both of which descend over 100 metres. These slides, as well as the many others, offer fun for old and young visitors alike. The wellness and health area is the perfect place to unwind. It offers saunas a wide variety of body care and massage packages a variety of relaxing pools.
Great facilities for sport enthusiasts in the Wismar Indoor Water Park
At the Wismar Indoor Water Park, sport enthusiasts can find first-class facilities, including 25m pools and a variety of aqua gym classes, as well as a highly-modern sport complex with a fitness centre, tennis and badminton courts and bowling alleys.
Amazement, experimentation, inventing and discovering – everything is possible at the Wismar phanTECHNIKUM. Spread over a 3,000 m² exhibition space, impressive exhibits and numerous experiments encourage visitors to take a look and get stuck in. “Approchable Technology”, is their motto.
Built on a former army barracks, the State Technical Museum welcomes visitors from near and far. The exhibitions appeal to visitors eyes and minds and combine imaginative ideas, education, technology and a world of experience all under one roof. An interactive exhibition with experiments and models that visitors can get involved in and use, as well as a fully functioning laboratory makes the museum a lively attraction. As well as taking a look back into history, the museum also shows visitors what is going on in the present: What inventions did people come up with in the past? What developments are being made today?
The elements “Fire”, “Water” and “Air” structure the different areas of the exhibition and combine a look back into history with a look towards the future. The visitors become discoverers as they journey through the “Tunnel of Fire” in the highly-explosive experimental laboratory, feel what it’s like to take flight with the propeller carousell and wrap themselves in a giant soap bubble in the water area. The exciting world of technological history with aircraft, ship engineering and inventors from Mecklenburg-Vorpommern all under one roof.