Wismar

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De Wismar Stadtteile.png

Wismar (German pronunciation: [ˈvɪsmaʁ]) is a small port and Hanseatic League town in northern Germany on the Baltic Sea, in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, about 45 km due east of Lübeck, and 30 km due north of Schwerin. Its natural harbour, located in the Bay of Wismar is well-protected by a promontory. The population was 45,414 in March 2005, more than doubled from 21,902 in 1905.

Representative of Hanseatic League city brick construction as well as the German brick churches, the city has been included in the UNESCO list of World Heritage Sites since 2002.

The town was the setting of the 1922 vampire movie Nosferatu (in the film however, the town is named "Wisborg").

Contents

History

Wismar is said to have received civic rights in 1229, and came into the possession of Mecklenburg in 1301. In 1259 it had entered a pact with Lübeck and Rostock, intended to defend against the numerous Baltic sea pirates, which developed into the Hanseatic League. During the 13th and 14th centuries it was a flourishing Hanseatic town, with important woollen factories. Though a plague carried off 10,000 of the inhabitants in 1376, the town seems to have remained tolerably prosperous until the 16th century.

Under Swedish rule

By the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 Wismar passed to Sweden, with a lordship to which it gives its name. Through Wismar and the other dominions in the Holy Roman Empire, the Swedish monarchs in their roles as princes, or Reichsfürsten, took part in the Imperial Diets. From 1653 it was the seat of the highest court for that part of Sweden. In 1803 Sweden pledged both town and lordship to Mecklenburg for 1,258,000 Riksdaler, reserving, however, the right of redemption after 100 years. In view of this contingent right of Sweden, Wismar was not represented in the diet of Mecklenburg until 1897. In 1903 Sweden finally renounced its claims. Wismar still retains a few relics of its old liberties, including the right to fly its own flag.

Modern times

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