Wismar's Harbour

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Wismar, Germany

Wismar's Harbour Reviews

Kathrin_E Kathrin_E
274 reviews
Wismar‘s Harbour Jun 27, 2009
The old harbour basin closest to the old town is still about the same size as in the middle ages. The harbour has extended, the outer parts are now a small but modern cargo port for wood, grain, chemicals and other goods. Then there are the shipyards. The economical crisis has hit Wismar’s harbour with full force. Wismar’s shipyards build medium-size container vessels. „Cynthia“ was their latest ‘baby’ in June 2009, almost ready to set out for the oceans. The huge pale-blue hall by the harbour serves as indoor dock. The company feels the economical crisis, rumours about them being bankrupt are around. Since they are an important employer in town, let’s hope best for them.

Baumhaus, the „tree house“, was the house of an important official in the harbour who was in charge of opening and closing the „tree“. The „tree“ was a long wooden beam which was attached to two poles to close the harbour basin at night and in danger to keep ship from entering and exiting.

The two poles in the harbour that held the „tree“ were decorated with two woodcarved Schwedenköpfe (Swedish heads). They resemble figures on old ships and are supposed to depict Hercules wearing the lion fur on his head - although these are VERY folkloristic images... They have become a popular symbol in Wismar. The original heads can be admired in the museum Schabbellhaus. Copies have been put up beside the portal of the Baumhaus in the harbour. New copies can also be found far out in the bay by the shipping lane into the harbour. Some pubs in town, including Alter Schwede, present copies of one or both heads.

Walk the promenade along the old harbour basin for views of the harbour, the bay and the old town skyline. If you are lucky the Wismaria is in.

She adds a lot to the harbour’s flair: the reconstructed Hansekogge „Wismaria“. This is what the sailing ships looked like that the Hansa’s wealth was based upon. These ships transported the merchants’ goods on the Baltic Sea and the North Sea. Imagine dozens of them in the old port basin in front of Wismar’s skyline with the three mighty gothic churches...

A club of fans is maintaining the ship and doing day cruises out into the bay of Wismar and the Baltic Sea for passengers. In the harbour in the evenings while the crew is still on board there is „open ship“ and you can board and look around for a small donation. Since she is all black, taking photos of her is difficult…

Harbour cruises depart from the old harbour basin near the Baumhaus. They last about an hour. The harbour of Wismar is, I admit, not as impressive as, for example, the one in Hamburg. On the other hand, the cruise takes you out into the bay and you get an impression of the coastlines and the islands Poel and Walfisch outside the bay.

The best is the view of old Wismar from the sea side. Storage halls and cranes of the harbour frame the old town silhouette which has not changed much for centuries. The three huge churches still dominate the skyline just as they did from the middle ages, only that the nave of St Marien is missing.
Baumhaus in the harbour
Hansa ship "Wismaria" returns to t…
Hansa ship "Wismaria" in the harbo…
Hansa ship "Wismaria" in the harbo…
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photo by: Kathrin_E