Excursion to Lunenburg

This time our excursion leads to another very old town. Lunenburg is located about 50 km (31 mi) southeast of another Hanseatic city, Hamburg. Its population is around 72,000 people on 70,38 sqkm. Lunenburg is also called the “Salt Town”, a reminder of the days when it was the center of a major salt industry. There was a saline in a park some years ago. Lunenburg lies on the river Ilmenau, about 30 kilometres (19 mi) from its confluence with the Elbe. The river flows through the town; it was formerly traversed by cogs taking salt from the town to the other, larger, ports of the Hanseatic League nearby.
The old town of Lunenburg lies above a salt dome which is the town’s original source of prosperity. However, the constant mining of the salt deposits over which the town stands has also resulted in the sometimes gradual, sometimes dramatically pronounced, sinking of various areas of the town. (A lot of houses are askew- as you can see on my photos).
Lunenburg was first mentioned in medieval records in a deed signed on 13 August, 956 AD, in which Otto I, Holy Roman Emperor granted “the tax from Lunenburg to the monastery built there in honour of Saint Michael”. (Wikipedia)
One of the most outstanding buildings of Northern Germany is the historic Lunenburg town hall. They began to build it in the year 1230 and continued during centuries to extend it. It’s the largest medieval town hall in Northern Germany.
The historic city center of Lunenburg was fortunately not destroyed during WWII. Therefore you can still see 3 very old churches, St. John (start of construction 1289, completed 1470), St. Michael, in which Johann Sebastian Bach was choirboy from 1700 – 1702 and St. Nicolai which was built from 1407 onwards.
The old round wooden crane at the river Ilmenau is from medieval times, too.
A lot of the old houses have been built out of bakestone in a beautiful dark reddish-brown color and the stones sometimes look like ropes which is very extraordinary.
On my photos you can see the water tower, the smeltmarket, Lueneburg harbor, chamber of commerce, town hall, a city tour by horse, old houses, etc.
One of the reasons that I love Lunenburg so much is very personal. My grandaunt Gertrud was living there many years and we visited her very often. She was the nicest person I have ever met in my life, always kind, helpful and loving to everybody. We could “order” the food we liked best of all and she would cook it, she sewed a lot of dresses for me, even made caps from fur by hand, baked cakes for me etc. etc. When we walked around in Lueneburg together she would give a coin to every beggar she saw. She never forgot that she was a refugee from Pomerania in WWII and had gone through very hard times in poverty and hunger. Even though she was mistreated by Russian soldiers in the war, she never said a bad word about Russians afterwards. She was my angel and has accompanied my life some years in such a wonderful loving and caring way for which I’m still thankful.

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57 thoughts on “Excursion to Lunenburg

  1. A very interesting story, with such lovely photos of the buildings. Your tribute to your Aunt Gertrud made me tear up and spill over onto my keyboard. ;-> Your excursion always teach me something. Thank you for sharing your trip with us.

    Virtual hugs,

    Judie

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    • I’m sorry, Judi, that I made you sad. I didn’t really want to write the whole story because it’s more sad. She replaced a mother to me.
      Europe has a lot of beautiful old places and history to learn from. I’m glad you liked it.

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  2. From a very interesting report on the city of Lunenburg to a very touching story of your kind aunt from Pomerania you made us all aware that you have the heart in your writing. My wife’s name is Gertrud and so was her grandmother’s. In the Klopp family ancestry I found at least half a dozen persons of the same name. Unfortunately, the name is not so popular anymore. But like Emma, one day it will see a great revival. Thank you for a very interesting post, Mitza!

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    • I know it would be interesting for you, specially the part from Perania, Peter. The name Gertrud is very oldfashioned here like Gisela etc. Nobody would give such a name to child nowadays. I found the meaning of this name: Gertrud, auch: Gertrudis, Gertraud, Gertraut, Gertraude. Aus dem Althochdeutschen. Bedeutung: ger = „Speer“ und trud = „Kraft; Stärke“.
      Regards Mitza

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  3. I wish I had such a loving person in my life to replace my mother, not that I blame my mother for how she was. Hers was a difficult and unfulfilling life. How I envy your little dresses and oh, a fur hat! I enjoyed your photos of the town; very inviting.

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    • that’s a really nice story, too. My heart is warm from her love but sad that she doesn’t live anymore. We say here: the best ones have to go first. Thanks for commenting, have a nice day, regards Mitza

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  4. What a beautiful post Mitza! Always so lovely to take a stroll with you down in history and in reality with your beautiful photographs and I always enjoy that you add that personal story as well which makes it so very special. Wonderful, charming city and the images are very sharp, detailed and unbelievably charming. That city has a wonderful old vibe filled with beautiful structures of one of a kind in a typical German style. Feels very Cinderella like to me.
    I can relate to your story, my granny was like that, we were very close, spend a lot of time together and she was indeed just like your auntie the nicest person ever! Thank you for sharing this lovely jewel of city with us is always a pleasure to travel with you throughout your camera! Much love and hugs to you my dear friend! ~ Eva

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    • Thank you so much, dear Eva. This post unfortunately made me sad because I miss my aunt so much. But it feels good that so many people like to see the old towns I have visited. Yes, it’s somehow typical German, but Northern German. Houses look very different in the South, but very cozy, too. I learn a lot myself when I create my posts because I look-up a lot of things in Wikipedia etc. and have to translate the words into English. One day I will be very intelligent due to wordpress, hehe.
      Hope you have sun, much love and hugs to you, too, dear Eva, Mitza

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  5. fantastic post, Mitza! I love how you have provided the historical background highlights, and glimpses of more modern times. As well as making it more personal. Your photos, capture the imagination and take me back into time!! cheers, Debi 🙂

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  6. The architecture is so different to anything in my country. What beautiful and interesting buildings. Thank you so much for sharing the history and also a personal story about the place. I enjoyed your words and pictures very much. 🙂

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    • Thank you so much, Jane. I’m sure we had a lot more beautiful old buildings without WWII. But we still have some very beautiful old towns and I’m so used to this kind of history and buildings that I couldn’t live without it. Where do you live? Would be interesting to see how towns look in your country. Have a nice day, regards Mitza

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      • Hi Mitza, I live on the outskirts of Brisbane in Queensland, Australia. Most of our buildings are housing developments less than 50 years old, but there are some “old” buildings that are about 100 years old. We are only a young country in terms of white settlement, but Aboriginal people have lived here for 1000s of years. I may do a blog post one day about the architecture in my area. 🙂

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      • Europe, America and Australia have very different histories, but all of them are interesting. So I’m looking forward to your post about architecture in your area. Have a nice day, regards Mitza

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  7. I love these report form European cities ! your blog is always interesting Mitza.
    PS: there is a Lunenburg in Nova Scotia. But Lüneburg, this town in the German state of Lower Saxony, is also called Lunenburg in English.

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    • You are completely right: we call this town Lüneburg in Germany and as I translated it I looked-up that it’s Lunenburg in English and it’s in Lower Saxony. You find a lot of towns with European names in America or Canada because the founders of these towns might have come from Hamburg or Lunenburg. I’m happy you love these reports from European cities and that I can show interesting things in my blog. Thanks for commenting and have a nice day, regards Mitza

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  8. Dear Mitza, what a lovingly researched and written post about a town built on salt. And a place where some one so special and treasured, your dear Gertrud lived. She sounds so special. I think she saved you in a way, didn’t she? I am so glad that you had her to care for your tender soul. She sounds so kind x x x

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    • thank you, dear Karen for your kind words. Without her my life would have been very sad. She was sent from heaven and probably had invisible wings 🙂 Hope you could recover a bit from all the work and enjoy some quiet days with dear Josef before the next cosy cake club starts. Hope this will be the beginning of a new career and income for you. xxx Mitza

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      • Thank you Mitza. She really was a guardian angel for you who made sure that you did not fall and disappear without trace.I am so glad of that.
        Josef is nearly 15 and has had to have all kinds of tests. But they came back clear and now he is behaving like a teenager! Up all night jumping around and sleeping all day! He is such a lovely boy and I have bought him a new red collar with polka dots. 🙂 But I also have been feeding a stray cat who is very hungry. It is all black apart from a tiny, tiny white bit under his chin. He is starving and yesterday had three lots of food. I have looked after many strays. It worries me so, as I know it does you. He or she has tiny paws and very poorly ear with no fur on them. You can be sure that whatever needs doing for the puss will be done. I saw it the other day eating cake from my bird table. If he trusts me, he will return for me to help. Today he let me sit by him as he ate. It is a privilege to be allowed to be so close. I know that you understand what I am saying x x

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      • great news from Josef, dear Karen. I’m so happy he behaves like a teenager. That’s what we call 2nd spring if a man in best age (60) suddenly starts to behave like 20, hehe. I’m happy you take care of that stray. I know exactly what you mean regarding trust. It’s really moving to see that an animals trusts you. I have a very good sense for cats. They trust me easily and I love it. Will post some more cats and dogs from Greece soon. xxx

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  9. What a beautiful story dear Mitza! 🙂 Thank you for sharing it with us! I’m in love with these marvelous buildings and architectural details! Would love to visit this place sometime! 😀

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    • I hope very much to see you sometime, dear Alex. Northern Germany, the area around Hamburg has a lot of beautiful and very old little towns which are worth visiting. :))

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