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Rostock ( , from Polabian Roz toc, literally "to flow apart") is the largest city in the north Germanmarker state Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker. Rostock is located on the Warnowmarker river; the quarter of Warnem├╝ndemarker 12 km north of the city centre lies directly on the coast of the Baltic Seamarker.


Rostock is located nearly centrally on Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker's Baltic Seamarker coast. The city is crossed by the Warnowmarker.

The seaside part of Rostock, Rostock-Warnem├╝ndemarker, is about 16 km to the north of the historic city centre. The west and the south-east are the most densely populated parts of town, the overseas port is in the east of Rostock. Rostock stretches 21.6 kilometres from the Baltic Seamarker to the south and 19.4 km from east to west.


Early history

In the 11th century Polabian Slavs founded a settlement at the Warnow river called Roztoc (which means broadening of a river); the name Rostock is derived from that designation. The Danishmarker king Valdemar I set the town aflame in 1161.

Afterwards the place was settled by German traders. At the beginning there were three separate cities:

  1. Altstadt (Old Town) around the Alter Markt (Old Market) with St. Petrimarker (St. Peter's Church),
  2. Mittelstadt (Middle Town) around the Neuer Markt (New Market) with St. Marien (St. Mary's Church) and
  3. Neustadt (New Town) around the Hopfenmarkt (Hops Market, now University Square) with St. Jakobi (St. James's Church, now demolished).

Hanseatic League

The rise of the city began with its membership in the Hanseatic League. In the 14th century it was a powerful seaport town with 12,000 inhabitants and the biggest city of Mecklenburg. Ships for cruising the Baltic Sea were constructed in Rostock. In 1419 one of the oldest universities in Northern Europe, the University of Rostock, was founded.

15th to 18th century

Rostock 1780-90
At the end of the 15th century the dukes of Mecklenburg succeeded in enforcing their rule over the town of Rostock, which had until then been only nominally subject to their rule and essentially independent. They took advantage of a riot known as Domfehde, a failed uprising of the impoverished population. Subsequent quarrels with the dukes and persistent plundering led ultimately to a loss of economic and political power.

The strategic location of Rostock provoked the envy of its rivals. Danes and Swedes occupied the city twice, first during the Thirty Years' War (1618-48) and again from 1700 to 1721. Later, the French, under Napoleon, occupied the town for about a decade until 1813. It was here that Bl├╝cher, who was actually born in Rostock and who was one of few generals to fight on after the battle of Jena, surrendered to the French in 1806. This was only after furious street fighting in which he led some of the cavalry charges himself; the exhausted Prussians had, by the time of the surrender, neither food nor ammunition.

19th century

In the first half of the 19th century Rostock regained much of its economic importance, at first due to the wheat trade, and, from the 1850s, to industry, especially to its shipyards. The first propeller-driven steamers in Germany were constructed here.

The city grew in size and population, with new quarters emerging in the south and west of the ancient borders of the city. Two notable developments were added to house the increasing population at around 1900:
  1. Steintor-Vorstadt in the south, stretching from the old city wall to the facilities of the new Lloydbahnhof Railway Station (now Hauptbahnhof). It was designed as a living quarter and consists mostly of large single houses, once inhabited by wealthy citizens.
  2. Kr├Âpeliner-Tor-Vorstadt in the west, designed to house the working population as well as smaller and larger industrial facilities such as Mahn & Ohlerich's Brewery (now Hanseatische Brauerei Rostock). The main shipyard, Neptun was just nearby at the shore of the river.

20th century

Rostock 1910
In the 20th century, important airplane manufacturing facilities were situated in the city, such as the Arado Flugzeugwerke in Warnem├╝ndemarker and the Heinkel Works with facilities at various places. It was at their facilities in Rostock-Marienehe where the world's pioneering jet plane made its test flights. Aeroplane construction ceased at the end of the Second World War.

Large parts of the central city were destroyed in World War II by Allied bombing in 1942 and 1945. Through reconstruction and subsequent extension, the city became a major industrial centre of the German Democratic Republicmarker with the port being developed as the primary gate to the world.
The destroyed city in 1942
Following the reunification of Germany in 1989/1990, Rostock lost its prior privileged position as the principal overseas port of the former GDRmarker and became one of several German ports, now located in one of the least industrialised regions of reunited Germany. Despite large infrastructure investments, the city's economy declined in the 1990s but is now growing again.

Rostock's population dropped from nearly 260,000 in 1989 to about 200,000 today, primarily due to suburbanisation but also due to emigration to more prosperous western regions of Germany.



Coat of Arms

In Rostock's long history, the city carried three different coat of arms known as the Signum, Secretum and Sigillum. The Signum, which can be traced back to 1367, was developed last and is to this modern day the coat of arms of the city.

The flag depicts a golden griffin on blue background as well as the colours of the Hanseatic League, silver and red.

The coat of arms can not only be seen on flags, houses and bus stops, but also on bridges, gullies, fences, ships and restaurants.


Since the 13th century, the governing body of the city is the city council (Rat), first consisting of ten, later of 24 aldermen (Ratsherren). The chairman of the city council was the city mayor. In the 19th century there were even three mayors. Since 1925, the head of the city bears the title Lord Mayor. Having been elected for centuries by the city council, he is now elected directly by the citizens of Rostock, after a reform in 2002.

City Hall
The city parliament (B├╝rgerschaft) represents the citizens. Representative are elected for five years. The number of representatives is currently 53.

The city parliament is presided by the Pr├Ąsident der B├╝rgerschaft. He heads and prepares the sessions and, together with the Lord Mayor, represents the city.

Roland Methling (Independent), was elected Lord Mayor of Rostock in the first round by 58,2% of the voters on 27 February 2005.

Partner cities

Rostock has signed partnership agreements with the following cities:
Szczecinmarker, Poland, since 1957 Bergenmarker, Norway, since 1965
Turkumarker, Finland, since 1959 Varnamarker, Bulgaria, since 1966
Dunkirkmarker, France, since 1960 Rijekamarker, Croatia, since 1966
Rigamarker, Latvia, since 1961 Bremenmarker, Germany since 1987
Antwerpenmarker, Belgium, since 1963 Dalian, People's Republic of China since 1988
├ůrhusmarker, Denmark, since 1964 Raleighmarker, USAmarker, since 2001
Gothenburgmarker, Sweden, since 1965

Moreover, Rostock is a member of the international network New Hanse.

Main sights


Heiligengeisthof (Holy Spirit Courtyard).
One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the Neuer Markt (New Market Square), with the Town Hall (originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style, but extensively transformed in the 18th century, with the addition of a Baroque facade and a Banqueting Hall. The square also preserved six original, beautifully restored, gable houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. (The rest of the old houses in Hanseatic style that once bordered the square were destroyed in an Allied air-raid in 1942.)

The 15th-century Kerkhofhaus (at Gro├če Wasserstra├če, behind the Town Hall) is considered the best preserved brick Gothic house in Rostock.

St. Mary`s Churchmarker Marienkirche, on Ziegenmarkt, is an imposing Brick Gothic church. Built in the 13th century, it was enlarged and modified at the end of the 14th century into the present cross-shaped basilica. The huge tower was not completed until the end of the 18th century. Inside there is an astronomical clock built in 1472 by Hans D├╝ringer.

Kr├Âpeliner Stra├če - the main shopping street.
The main pedestrian precinct is Kr├Âpeliner Stra├če, that runs east from the Neuer Markt to the 14th-century Kr├Âpeliner Tor, a former town gate. The main buildings of Rostock University lie at Universit├Ątsplatz, near the middle of the street, in front of the lively fountain of zest for life (Brunnen der Lebensfreude).

The Kloster St Katharinen (Convent of St. Catherine), an old Franciscan monastery founded in 1243, and extended several times during the 14th and 15th centuries. Now used as the seat of the Academy of Music and Theatre (HMT-Rostock).

The Brick Gothic Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church), which is the oldest church in Rostock, built in mid-13th century. Heavily damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, the building is now used as an exhibition center and concert hall, due to its outstanding acoustics.

Some parts of the medieval city wall, with four town gates, still remain.


Alexandrinenstra├če in Warnem├╝nde.
Speicher (office buildings) at night.
Warnem├╝ndemarker is the seaside part of Rostock and a major attraction of the city. Locals and tourists alike enjoy the maritime flair of old houses, a large beach, a lighthouse and the old fisherman port.


The economy is strongly influenced by tourism, the University of Rostock and maritime industries (especially shipbuilding) and the service sector. Major companies include:

Furthermore, Rostock is the seventh-largest port of the Baltic Sea, and among the largest in Germany.


University of Rostock.
Rostock is home to one of the oldest universities in the world. Founded in 1419, the University of Rostock is the third oldest university in Germany in continuous operation, the second oldest in Northern Europe (after St Andrewsmarker) and the oldest university in continental northern Europe. It offers graduate and postgraduate programmes in evangelical theology, philosophy and arts, natural sciences and mathematics, law, engineering and naval architecture, agriculture and environmental science, medicine, state, and political and social science, and also maintains a botanical garden (the Botanischer Garten Universit├Ąt Rostockmarker).

The Academy of Music and Theatre, Hochschule f├╝r Musik und Theater, offers graduate degrees in artistic fields. Founded in 1994, the institution combined the former drama school Ernst Busch and the outpost school of the Hanns Eisler Music School Berlinmarker. Today, the school is a member of the Association of Baltic Academies of Music (ABAM), a union of 17 music conservatories at the Baltic Sea and Israel. Unique in Europe is the postgraduate degree in piano duo performance. The school possesses a large opera stage (Katharinensaal) and two chamber music halls. There are concerts every day through the whole year.

Rostock hosts also the Max Planck Institute for Demographic Researchmarker, the Leibniz Institute for Catalysis as well as two branches of Fraunhofer Institutes, one for Computer Graphic and one for Large Structures in Production Technology.


Theater im Stadthafen


The city is home to the annual Hanse Sail festival, during which many large sailing ships and museum vessels are brought out to sea, drawing over 1.5 million visitors.

There is an annual Jazz festival taking place in June called Ostsee-Jazz.

Further events include:
  • Kurfilmfestival FiSh
  • Rostocker Kulturwoche
  • Sommer der Kulturen
  • Rostocker Hafenfest
  • Boulevardfest
  • Warnem├╝nder Woche

Museums and Zoo

  • Kunsthalle Rostock (art gallery)
  • Kulturhistorisches Museum
  • Dokumentations- und Gedenkst├Ątte der Bundesbeauftragten f├╝r die Unterlagen des Staatssicherheitsdienstes der ehemaligen Deutschen Demokratischen Republik
  • Heimatmuseum Warnem├╝nde
  • Schiffbau- und Schifffahrtsmuseum
  • Rostocker Zoo
  • Walter-Kempowski-Archiv

Music and theatre

  • Volkstheater Rostock
    • Norddeutsche Philharmonie
    • Rostocker Singakademie
  • Niederdeutsche B├╝hne Rostock
  • Compagnie de Com├ędie
  • Kleine Kom├Âdie Warnem├╝nde
  • Mechaje
  • B├╝hne 602
  • Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
  • Ostsee Big Band (Jazz)


Club Sport Founded League Venue Head Coach
F.C. Hansa Rostock Football 1965 2. Bundesliga DKB-Arenamarker Andreas Zachhuber
HC Empor Rostock Team handball 1954 2. Bundesliga Rostocker Stadthalle Maik Handschke
Rostocker EC - Piranhas Ice hockey 1990 Oberliga (3rd division) Eishalle Rostock Henry Thom


Rostock Hauptbahnhof (Central Station)


Rostock can be reached by motorway (Autobahn) A 1 from Hamburgmarker via L├╝beckmarker on A 20 and by A 19 from Berlinmarker and A 20 from Stettin in Poland.

Public transport

Rostock Hauptbahnhofmarker (Rostock Central Station) offers fast track train connections to Hamburgmarker and Berlinmarker and from there to almost any other European city.

Within the city a wide network of trams, buses and ferries is available. The first privately financed tunnel in Germany crosses the Warnowmarker river and thus connects the eastern part of Rostock with the western part.

Ferry / Ship

Rostock harbour at sunset
Rostock's port is Germany's largest Baltic port. Rostock is also home to a large ferry port. It is a main base for ferry operators Scandlines and TT-Line, which both connect Rostock with major Scandinavian destinations. Furthermore, Rostock receives the highest numbers of cruise tourists in Germany per year.

The city is served by major ferry companies such as Scandlines or Tallinkmarker. Ferries leave for


The nearest international airports are in Hamburgmarker and Berlinmarker. There are connecting flights via Munichmarker to Rostock Laage Airportmarker. There are also a number of airfields for smaller aircraft, e.g. Purkshof.

Notable people

This is a, naturally, incomplete list of notable people that were born, lived or contributed to the welfare of the City of Rostock:


External links

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