STRALSUND’s fate is to be en route to one of Germany’s favourite holiday destinations. Most people slow to marvel at its silhouette defined by its mighty churches then whiz on to Rügen. Nor do industrial suburbs suggest you do otherwise. However, within lies a cobbled kernel Altstadt which is as evocative of a Hanseatic past as more acclaimed members of the medieval league. During its fourteenth-century golden age, Stralsund ranked second only to Lübeck. Indeed, it was chosen as a venue in which to broker the 1370 “Peace of Stralsund” deal between the league and Denmark that represented the league’s high-water mark. The legacy is a UNESCO-listed gabled streetscape where Gothic showpieces are interspersed with Baroque monuments from two centuries as property of the Swedish Crown. Ringed by water, without the crowds of nearby Rügen, the most westerly town of western Pomerania ticks over at sleepy pace, with only a commercial port to ensure it’s no museum piece.

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