There are plenty of things I don’t find particularly interesting about northern Germany. Coupled with the near-constant overcast and a prickly population whose mood seems to suffer from it, the often uniform and unimaginative architecture can be deceptively boring. Though early in the morning before the clouds have a chance to hide the sun and people are still stumbling home from parties the night before, the city tells a different tale.

The city of Lubeck, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, has had a fairly laissez-faire attitude with Germany for most of its existence. Once the most powerful member of the economic alliance the Hanseatic League during the 1300s, it has been a part of Denmark and France before finally being absorbed into Germany in 1937. Prior to that, Lubeck was independent of outside rule for 711 years. Below is the Holsten Gate (Holstentor) used for centuries to keep attackers out and now the sinking structure is the pride of Lubeck.

holstentor lubeck germany

There were originally 4 gates regulating entrance to city of which only two remain to the present day. One is of course the Holstentor above and this, the Burgtor below.

burgtor lubeck

Candles burning inside the St. Mary’s Church (St. Marien zu Lübeck).

inside st. marys church lubeck germany

A glimpse of the church from outside and what is also the highest point in the old part of Lubeck.

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outside st. marys church lubeck germany

The Fehmarnbelt Lightship (Feuerschiff Fehmarnbelt) which was used to guide ships to and from port between 1908 until the mid-1960s.

fehmarnbelt lightship

The Hospital of the Holy Spirit built in 1260 and also where you’ll find the Lubeck Christmas Market during November and December.

hospital of the holy spirit lubeck germany

Lubeck’s largest ethnic group, like the rest of Germany, is Turkish. In Lubeck, Turks comprise about 5% of the population; less than the national average of 18% who are of Turkish origin. With Turks, comes Turkish foods like doner, borek, lahmacun, and more which are very popular throughout Germany.

doner in lubeck germany

This is Lubeck’s train station (Hauptbahnhof) which is fairly small although there is free wireless at the McDonald’s there if you’re in a bind. Hamburg (and yes, its Reeperbahn) is about 15 Euros and 45 minutes away.

lubeck train station

The same station, from the other side.

lubeck train station

When you get up before sunrise to do anything in Germany, not much is open. Except for the bakeries who are waiting for you with hot bread.

lubeck bread bakery

The old city of Lubeck is actually an island, surrounded on all sides by the Trave River.

trave river lubeck

The Lubeck Town Hall, where the city’s senate still meets regularly. Various forms of the city’s political body have met here since the 13th century.

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lubeck town hall

A statue of the German poet Emanuel Geibel posed in a contemplative mood.

emanuel geibel statue lubeck

A few minutes later the sun rises; sober people make their way on to the streets while those with hangovers finally get to bed. Within moments the story shifts and shatters into a million different narratives from the singular one Lubeck tells just before dawn.