Güstrow (German pronunciation: [ˈɡʏstʁo]) is a town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany the capital of the district of Güstrow. It has a population of 30,500 (2008) and is the seventh largest town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Since 2006 Güstrow has the official suffix Barlachstadt.
The town of Güstrow is located 45 km south of Rostock at the Nebel, a sidearm of the Warnow. The Bützow-Güstrow-Kanal (Channel) is a navigable connection to the Warnow and used by water tourists. There are 5 lakes (Inselsee, Sumpfsee, Parumer See, Grundloser See and Gliner See (See=lake)) and several forests around Güstrow.
The name Güstrow comes from the Oldpolabian Guščerov and means lizard place.
In 1219 the wendish castle Güstrowe was built at the place, the renaissance castle stands nowadays. Güstrow is said to be founded by Heinrich Borwin II. a grandson of Henry the Lion in the time from 1219 to 1226 and was first mentioned in 1228 in the deed of city rights of Schwerin, confirmed by the sons of Heinrich Borwin II., who donate the cathedral as collegiate church in 1226. Güstrow was a residence of the dukes of Werle from 1229 until 1436. In 1441 the first privileged shooting society of Güstrow was found. The host desecration-trial of 1330 ended with the burning of 23 Jews and the destruction of the synagogue. In place of synagogue the Kapelle des heiligen Bluts (chapel of the holy blood) was built. 1503, 1508 and 1512 cityfires destroyed the town and 1556 the castle burned down.
After the division of Mecklenburg (1621) it became the capital of the small duchy of Mecklenburg-Güstrow. (Albrecht von Wallenstein, the imperial general in the Thirty Years' War, was a duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow.)
In 1695 the last duke of Mecklenburg-Güstrow died, and the duchy ceased to exist. Güstrow became a part of the duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin.
The famous sculptor Ernst Barlach lived in Güstrow from 1910 to his death in 1938.
There are several notable sights in Güstrow:
- The Schloss (German for Castle), built in 1589 in Renaissance style, as a residence for the dukes of Mecklenburg. Between 1963 and 1981 major restoration work was carried out, and a Renaissance garden was added, modelled after descriptions appearing in old engravings.
- The Cathedral, a Brick Gothic cathedral built between 1226 and 1335. Noteworthy are a late Gothic high altar (c. 1500), the tombs of Duke Ulrich III and his two wives (16th century), and the celebrated Schwebende Engel ("Hovering Angel"), the most famous work of the expressionist sculptor Ernst Barlach, created in 1926 as a tribute to the victims of World War I.
- St. Mary church - a Brick Gothic church, rebuilt in the 19-th century
- Ernst Barlach's Atelierhaus (studio), that exhibits a large collection of his works.
- The Townhall, original built in the 13th century and rebuilt c. 1800 at the marketplace.
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