Lübeck

While in Hamburg (see this post and this second post) I decided to take the opportunity to venture out of the city for a half-day trip. One morning I took the train to Lübeck, a small city in the neighbouring federal state of Schleswig-Holstein only 45 minutes away from Hamburg.

I can’t quite remember whom I learnt about Lübeck’s existence from, but I was told that the city was known for having invented marzipan. (Upon further googling I discovered that quite a few cities have laid claim to this invention, which somehow didn’t surprise me.) Marzipan played least a partial role in my decision to visit the city, another partial reason being that it’d be my first time in Schleswig-Holstein and I wanted to say that I’d been there.

The first sight I encountered after exiting the train station was the Holstentor, a city gate built in the 15th century. According to Lübeck’s tourism board it’s even possible to go inside.

The Holstentor in Lübeck viewed from the front, with a pigeon flying out of the frame in the upper-right corner.
Holstentor

When it comes to marzipan, few companies are as well known in Germany as Niederegger. Well, to be frank, I hadn’t heard of it until the same person who told me about Lübeck told me about the company. But this person also assured me that Niederegger was quite famous, and indeed a German colleague who grew up in Bavaria told me that he’d seen their marzipan on sale in his state.

I made no photos of Niederegger’s stores, but there are two of them in the city centre. One is much bigger than the other and has a café and upstairs is a production facility for marzipan. I visited the smaller one and bought some items there. They even had marzipan ice cream and marzipan cake!

Before I bought my marzipan, though, I visited the Petrikirche (website in German). The church is at least 800 years old, and was bombed on the Palm Sunday of 1942. Its massive roof and spire were destroyed, and the church’s interior burnt down. The roof and spire were later restored in the 1960s.

Looking up at the exterior of the Petrikirche in Lübeck.
Exterior of the Petrikirche

Admission is free of charge, as with most churches and cathedrals in Europe, and upon entry the general lack of any ornery, embellishments or icons make it clear that the Petrikirche is Protestant in tradition. (Roman Catholic churches, like the Kölner Dom, look very different on the inside and are much more elaborately appointed.)

Pillars and vaulted ceiling of the Petrikirche.
Pillars and large vaulted ceiling

As I made my way to what I assumed was the front of the building, where the altar was, I saw white sheets hanging from the ceiling. Given that the church is named after Peter, one of the 12 Apostles of Jesus, I’m assuming that these allude to Peter’s vision in the Book of Acts, wherein he sees a white sheet being lowered from heaven with all manner of unclean things in it.

Sheets hanging from the ceiling of the Petrikirche, presumably alluding to Peter's vision the Book of Acts.
White sheets hanging off the ceiling

It’s also possible to ascend the church tower (for a small fee). On the top one gets a lovely view of Lübeck.

View of the Marienkirche from the tower of the Petrikirche.
The Marienkirche in the distance, with a large Peek & Cloppenburg store in the foreground (the building with the funky roof)

This is my personal favourite of all the images I made in Lübeck. The Holstentor and Salzspeicher (salt storehouses) are visible and the clouds add a nice touch of character to the scene.

View of the Holstentor and Salzspeicher from the tower of the Petrikirche in Lübeck.
The Holstentor and Salzspeicher are visible to the left of this image

After leaving the Petrikirche I had a very agreeable lunch at the Restaurant Yachtzimmer. The bouillabaisse was excellent and more filling than expected, and the pan-fried catch of the day was also good.

No longer hungry, I made my way down the main street to where the city hall and large Niederegger store were. I saw this very interesting and elaborate doorway while walking about. The architecture of the city hall is also noteworthy, but instead of spending a lot of time composing a shot (the building was long and I only had a prime lens with me, which made it slightly challenging to photograph) I decided to just appreciate it for what it was.

An elaborate doorway in the city centre of Lübeck, in the German federal state of Schleswig-Holstein.

In total I spent about half a day in Lübeck. I don’t think one needs more time than that to explore the city. If you’re in Hamburg and you happen to have quite some time on your hands, I think a visit to this city would be a nice addition to your trip. Personally I might visit Lübeck again when I’m in Hamburg later this year.

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