Moored, negotiated, immortalised: 800 years of history

Rostock´s history began long before it grew strong enough to be granted municipal rights. Slavic tribes, active in the 7th century, named their settlement “Roztoc” which means “River that widens”. A solid name that stood the test of time.

Traces of the Hanseatic League & great personalities

Traders and craftsmen later inhabited the area around St Peter’s church were the Slavic tribes used to live. On 24 June 1218, Rostock’s town privileges (town charter of Lübeck) were acknowledged. It soon became too crowded, and two more settlements were formed next to Old Town. Middle and New Town, which consolidated shortly afterwards. Rostock became one of the most important cities of the Hanseatic League - a medieval heyday! Evidence thereof is still visible today in the typical merchant houses. A city lives on its biographies. Heinrich Schliemmann, who discovered Troy, received his doctorate from Rostock in absentia. The brilliant Albert Einstein. He became an honorary doctor in Rostock. Regional poet Fritz Reuter, who experienced his Period of Storm and Stress as a student in Rostock. Stephan Jantzen, the sea rescuer honoured by the King. Famed rapper Marteria, who performed his first rhymes here. Vicke Schorler from Rostock who between 1578 and 1586, immortalised his favourite city on drawing more than 18 metres wide. Get to know some of the sights that still remain from Vicke-Schorler’s dayson the following pages, or better yet, on your holiday!

Chronicle of an eventful history

600 AD

Slavic settlement
The Slavs, who lived in patriarchic clans, form the largest ethnic group in Europe and settled at the Warnow river.

1160 & 1161

Destruction of Roztoc castle
Built on the Western shore of the Warnow on sand and swamp, the fortress served as protection for the important port and and site of trade.


Rostock’s town charter
On 24 June 1218 Prince Heinrich Borwin I confirmed Rostock’s town privileges This was the starting shot for the development of a large and advanced metropolis in the Baltics.

Mid-13th century

Rostock joins the Hanseatic League
The privilege to trade herring and a monopoly position in trading with Norway helped the economy grow. Trade relations with other cities in the Baltic Rim as well as the North Sea flourished. In the mid-13th century, the merchants organised the powerful Hanseatic League to secure their interests and passages. Like Lübeck and other cities, Rostock played a leading role: up to 370 ships sailed under the municipal flag.
Valuable merchandise: Rostock beer and fish products - success stories to this day!


Acquisition of Warnemünde
For strategic reasons, the village of Warnemünde was acquired by the city of Rostock. Access to the Baltic Sea has always been crucial for trade.


Foundation of the University of Rostock
Over 100 degree courses are an exciting success story. Founded in 1419, the oldest university in the Baltic Sea region celebrates its 600th anniversary in 2019. Tru to its motto “Traditio et Innovatio” it continues toshape the life of the city. Take the Neo-Renaissance building at Uniplatz or the University’s impact as a cultural-economic think tank. Writer Erich Kästner, Troy’s discoverer Heinrich Schliemann, former Federal President Joachim Gauck, astronomer Tycho Brahe - they all studied here.


Astronomical Clock - In Tune with Time
Since 1472, the astronomical clock in St. Mary’s church has impressed visitors with its beauty and unique clockwork. It is in fact the only one in the world that still functions in its original form. A masterpiece of Art and technology! On 1 January 2018, something exciting happened: its constructors only forsaw the year 2017. So after 133 years, the famous Astronomical Clock received a new calendar sheet to include upcoming years.


Reformation in Rostock
Martin Luther’s new Theology that was more accessible to the common people, was declared binding in all the main parish churches. Leading reformer and pioneer was Rostock’s preacher Joachim Slüter.


Warnemünde becomes a seaside resort
After being used as a port and fishing stronghold, in 1821 Warnemünde started a new career as a beach resort. After Mecklenburg's Duke Friedrich Franz I swore to the healing effects of the sea climate and sea water, it is no wonder that the demand for the revitalizing treatments increased enormously.
Thanks to the request of a young lady taking taking treatments in Warnemünde, the “Strandkorb” beach chair was invented in 1882. It provides comfortable and healthy seating while taking in the sea air and now enjoys a world-wide reputation.


Warnemünde becomes a cruise port
What began with three arriving cruise liners is now the largest German cruise port, welcoming around 190 cruises each year. Particularly impressive: multiple dockings.


The city´s 800th birthday
The anniversary year was celebrated together with the 38th International Hanseatic Day, the 13th Day of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, as well as many concerts, parties and special exhibitions across the whole city.


The 600th anniversary of the foundation of the University
Rostock’s "Port of Sciences" held various celebrations, including the exhibitions "Experiment: Future " and "Intertwining History", a summer party and the Academic Festival Week.

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