Once upon a time on the Baltic Sea... from the defensive fortress to the carefree summer holiday destination - chronicle of an eventful past.
“Lübeck's most beautiful daughter” is Travemünde's affectionate nickname -
yet the “Lütte” was an indispensable support from the start:
The Queen of the Hanseatic League would never have been able to take the throne
without her. The rich trading city was dependent on free access
to the sea and the Lübeck councillors were well aware of this:
In 1329, they bought the fishing village with its two dozen houses and some 250 inhabitants on the northern bank of the Trave for 1,060 marks. On the Priwall Peninsula, in contrast, the red/white flag flew much earlier – Lübeck had defeated the forces of Mecklenburg in 1226, and the Danes had also been driven out of the
port entrance after long periods of conflict.
Travemünde was founded in 1187 by Count Adolf III of Holstein (known as
“the Holsteiner”) – he fortified the Stülper Huk, a hill on the lower stretch of the Trave to control shipping.
Craftsmen and fishermen later settled within the protection of the small castle, and a church is mentioned for the first time in 1235.
The St. Lorenz church owes its later construction to a catastrophe: in 1522, a fleet was prepared once again to fight the Kingdom of Denmark, and the breweries in Travemünde produced vast quantities of beer for the ships' stores. However, the fire under the brewing coppers raged out of control and the whole settlement was burnt to the ground.
No wonder then that in 1557 the people of Travemünde dedicated their new church to Saint Lawrence (Lorenz in German), the patron saint of fire. Regardless of whether the town faced disaster because of overzealous brewers or enemy soldiers – Travemünde was never abandoned, but always quickly rebuilt; Lübeck's outpost was too important.
Battles had to be fought again and again over this access to the sea. A mighty sea fortress with bastions, cannon and a blockhouse, which was permanently
manned, were all erected over the centuries.
The stronghold was only given a more peaceful role in the 19th century with the discovery of "healing powers".
Tourism came to the picturesque fishing port thanks to sea bathing.
Bathers wore costumes that covered the whole body and were shielded from curious onlookers in wooden bathing machines, which servants pushed into the sea. Some of these vehicles remained in the water throughout the summer and bathers were conveyed to them – strictly according to a waiting list – by carriage.
As the demand was much higher than the number of places, people had to wait on the beach for hours in the sun until a bathing machine was free.
This state of affairs prevailed until 1879 when the public swimming facility was constructed, while the prototype of a spa had emerged by the turn of the century: the Warmbadehaus enabled people to enjoy heated sea water in so-called “bathing boxes” (Badezellen) away from the prying gaze of curious onlookers – and they could even get a massage next door.
March - Dezember, daily: 11.00 am – 5.00 pm (closed on Mondays)
For further information, please check: www.heimatverein-travemuende.de