Situated between the Strela Sound and a number of lakes dammed up in the 13th century, the Baltic town of Stralsund has a unique island character that emphasises the medieval charm of its historic centre. As a member of the Hanseatic League, Stralsund played an important role in the rise of religious architecture and the Gothic brick-built style.
The architectural heritage in the old town is typical of an established Hanseatic town during the trading alliance's 14th century heyday. Its medieval layout remains unaltered and illustrates how maritime trading towns were arranged under Lübeck law.
Medieval Wismar, a member of the Hanseatic League, is the only town of its size on the southern Baltic that remains virtually intact. Back in the 14th and 15th century, it was an important Hanseatic coastal trading post. The historical old harbour, the man-made "Grube" stream, the surviving layout of streets and squares, the impressive red-brick ecclesiastic architecture and the medieval warehouses and town houses are authentic reminders of Wismar's importance in Hanseatic times.
The architectural heritage of the market square, the three monumental Gothic churches and other impressive monuments contribute to the World Heritage site's inimitable appeal. These historic centres have been a UNESCO-World Heritage site since 2002.