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the history of the hanseatic city of rostock
1,400 years ago, Slavic tribes occupied the region. It had been uninhabited for decades, left by the Germanic tribes who were there previously. As there was no city yet, the Slavic tribes created a settlement on the eastern shore of the Warnow river and a fort to protect it against enemies. This hamlet was called ‘roztoc’, which meant ‘river flowing in all directions’. During the
Slavic crusades, this settlement went up in flames when an army of the Danish king Waldemar I. overthrew the Slavic tribes in Mecklenburg and Pomerania. This happened in 1161, as written in the timeline of Danish historian Saxo Grammaticus. A few years later, German merchants and artisans began to populate the area near today’s Petrikirche church.
So began the colourful history of the later Hanseatic city, the oldest university city in Northern Europe and the seaside and harbour city. Prosperous times, such as the wealth of the Hanseatic era and successes during the time of early industrial development, also came with worse periods, such as the Thirty Years’ War and the Second World War.
This chequered history is what makes the city by the Warnow River so interesting. Rostock is a member city of ‘Historic Highlights of Germany’, an association of twelve medium-sized German cities with histories that are interesting and worth experiencing. As well as the Hanseatic towns of Lübeck and Bremen, the other cities in the list are Potsdam, Münster, Bonn, Trier, Heidelberg, Augsburg, Freiburg, Regensburg and Würzburg.