Marzipan & Wine: Lubeck Old Town Guided Walking Tour
- The Holstentor: When Lubeck was the Gate to the Baltic, this was the actual gate. Traders of every description passed through this red-brick, twin-towered colossus. Note the slight sag; after 550 years, it's entitled.
- Marienkirche: In the City of Seven Spires, the bell towers of St. Mary's stand tallest. Germany's third-largest church has the world's largest brick-vaulted roof, and is a medieval Gothic masterpiece on a hill.
- Town Hall: We pause at Market Square for a glimpse into a storybook brick beauty festooned with eight centuries' worth of architectural flourishes – arcades, towers, gabled windows, and coats of arms.
- Rotspon and marzipan: Lubeck's take on tea and scones is sweeter and stronger. Fermented in France and aged here, Rotspan is a refined Bordeaux that perfectly accents the fabled finger food made from almonds and sugar or honey.
About this Lubeck Tour
The great cities of Europe proclaimed their pride with great churches. Yet inside, fervent pastors proclaimed pride a deadly sin.
About halfway through the 12th century, the newly founded river port called Liubice ("Lovely") was beginning to prosper. The ambitious merchants climbing the hill from the brick wharf warehouses (still there, by the Holstentor) thought it wise to build a kirche where they could thank the Lord for His material blessings. A simple wooden chapel went up at the top of the hill, near the market square. In 1174, a Romanesque brick cathedral took its place. But by the turn of the century, that too was found wanting: too humble for the upright, upwardly mobile men of the burgeoning bourgeoisie. So they commissioned the highest vaulted brick basilica in the world; it would be augmented and expanded over many generations as a proud citizenry sought a suitably splendid civic symbol.
They succeeded. St. Mary's was the great church a great city deserved.
But pride goeth before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall, as some Marienkirche pastor surely warned. In the 20th century, when German pride boiled over into aggression, Lubeck was the first city to see destruction fall from the bellies of British bombers. The firestorms unleashed by 400 tons of incendiaries torched much of Old Town, melting St. Mary's bells and sending them crashing into the bottom of the south tower.
It took the humbled citizens of Lubeck 12 years to rebuild Old Town and the church, restoring what they could, replacing the rest, and earning UNESCO designation as a World Heritage Site. The new bells St. Mary's have rung for decades now. But the shattered fragments of the old ones remain embedded in the floor, an eternal reminder that pride can be deadly.
The high price of sugar – only apothecaries could dispense it – left marzipan a luxury reserved for royalty and the rich until the 1800s, when Johann George Niederegger made Lubeck (and his own name, as you'll see in Old Town) synonymous with the sticky concoction. But it wasn't invented here, no matter what Lubeckers say. Returning Crusaders brought it back from the East after a Persian physician claimed almonds had healing powers.
Please make your own way to Holstentor. Please look for our GoBe Representative with the displayed logo sign.
Bring small local coins for the bathroom. Take a rain coat and/or umbrella in case of rain. Don't miss out on tasting the original Lubecker Marzipan. Lubeck is famous for its local shops but you can also find a lot of global brands (shopping is possible before/after tour and not during the tour). The minimum age to drink wine is 16 years in Germany.
Travelers must be able to walk approximately 1.24 miles (roughly 2 hours) over paved surfaces, steps and inclines with several photo stops along the route.
Cultural, Family Friendly, Walking Tour, Cultural, Private Tour
English, French, Italian, Spanish, Russian
Tour Participation Requirements
This experience is rated mild. To participate fully, you may be required to walk over primarily even surfaces at a leisurely pace. You may encounter a limited number of steps, cobblestones, or uneven surfaces, and you may have to stand for extended periods of time.
Suitable for travelers 16 years of age and older.
Special Medical Restriction
We can accommodate you if your mobility is limited and you use a folding wheelchair with at least 7 days advanced notice, providing you are not travelling solo and have someone along to assist you. Not all venues may be accessible.
Participants must be in good health, disclose their physical fitness and advise any conditions that might impact their participation in the tour.
Full refunds issued for cancellations made 7 full days prior to the date and time of requested services. Cancellations made within the 7-day and 72-hour window will receive a 50% refund of purchase total. Purchases are non-refundable inside of 72 hours.
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