Germany: Greifswald

Yet another beautiful Hanseatic town – Greifswald. The town itself dates back to the 11th century, as do many of its churches. During the nearly 300 years in 17-19th centuries this was the capital of the Swedish Pomerania under the Swedish control. Then it became Prussia and Germany, and DDR after the WWII. During the socialist times, many of the old buildings were neglected or outright destroyed (instead the Soviet Union built a nuclear reactor here). After 1989, the old town was fully restored and now the Marktplatz is one of the most beautiful in northern Germany. One of the biggest attractions here is the St-Marien-Kirche – built around 1250 – its walls are 4.5m/15ft thick at the ground level and the heavy square tower rises into the sky. It’s spectacular inside – with red brick columns under the domes ceiling and a part of the wall decorated in amazing medieval murals with religious scenes.