Alter Hafen - Old Port

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Stade, Germany

Alter Hafen - Old Port Stade Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
371 reviews
Alter Hafen - Old Port Feb 12, 2017
The old port in the middle of the old town is Stade's top attraction. Surrounded by historical houses from various eras, its setting is as beautiful and romantic as can be. Several restaurants, cafes, pubs have outdoor seating on the quay, so you can spend some enjoyable time there...

The port has been the cause for Stade's wealth and status since the middle ages. The first port on the river Schwinge was probably built around 900 when the castle on Spiegelberg hill was erected. In the 13th century the present basin was dug, its quays were first protected by wooden palisades, since 1870 by brick walls. The dimensions and curved shape of the old port still are those of the middle ages.

The most prominent building is certainly the Old Crane. A crane has been known to be in the port since the 14th century. Two years after the big fire of 1659 a new one was built. Being considered useless, it was demolished in the late 19th century. So the original crane is gone for good. The present one is a reconstruction which was built in the 1970s. It is just the empty shell without the machinery, though. Nevertheless it adds a lot to the flair of the old port. Inside there is an information centre and small exhibition about the history of the port.

The old port is surrounded by historical buildings. Many of them were the residential houses as well as shops and offices of wealthy merchants.

The most splendid facade around the port is the one of B├╝rgermeister-Hintze-Haus, the house of a mayor of the town and wealthy merchant. Originally it was a late gothic house but it received the new ornated facade in the renaissance style of the Weser region in 1621. The facade, however, is the only preserved part of the house. In the 1930 the house was heavily damaged due to bad foundations, had to be taken down and rebuilt in smaller size. Only the facade was saved. Behind it there is a new building.

The large building by the exit of the old port was erected around 1700 during the Swedish occupation, hence the name. It served as storage for supplies of the Swedish garrison. Nowadays the Schwedenspeicher hosts the historical museum of the town (see separate tip).

The small half-timbered house on the opposite quay used to be the seat of the port master who controlled the trade and the incoming and outgoing ships. The "tree" was a large wooden beam which closed the port entrance and had to be pulled up for ships entering or leaving. Unwanted vessels could be kept out this way. The monument next to it recalls the history of the sailboats that were used for all kinds of transport in former times.

One of these boats is still there. "Willi" is a historical sailboat built in 1926. This type of sailboat is named Ewer. They were used in the 19th and early 20th century for freight transport on rivers and close to the coasts. A typical Ewer is about 16 metres long and has one or two masts. Originally they were only run by windpower in the sails but in the 20th century most of them, like "Willi", were equipped with an additional diesel engine. I found "Willi" moored next to Schwedenspeicher but the ship seems to change its location in the port now and then. The sign with the explanations can be found next to the old crane.

A sculpture by the port depicts a woman selling fish. She proudly presents the largest catch of the day to all passers-by and potential customers. Note the cat who is clearly interested in stealing from the contents of her basket... The stature (1986) had a real model, a woman nicknamed "Mutter Flint mit dem Stint" who used to sell fish by the port before and after World War II.

Fischmarkt is the old market square by the port, where not only fish was traded but most goods which were unloaded from the ships here. The half-timbered building in the middle of the square is the scale where all arriving goods were weighed, controlled and taxed before merchants got the okay to put them on sale.

Nowadays there are several restaurants and cafes with outdoor seating around Fischmarkt and around the port - weather permitting, a nice spot for a lunch, coffee or dinner break.
Old Crane and port
Old port
Old port basin
Old crane and Fischmarkt square
1 / 1 TravBuddies found this review helpful/trustworthy
wabat says:
Great review.
Posted on: Feb 11, 2017
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Alter Hafen - Old Port Map
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photo by: FK27