Germany: Luneburg

Luneburg dates back to 950AD but it reached its height and grandeur during the times of Hanseatic League starting in 1158 (when the League was formed in Lubeck) and for the next 600 years. Together with Lubeck, Bergen (present day Norway) and Visby (present day Swedish island of Gotland), Luneburg was among the top four strongest and richest cities in the Hanseatic League. The reason for it – salt! Luneburg had the monopoly on the salt production for the entire Northern Europe, a gold like commodity at the time that was transported through Lubeck to Bergen and Visby for salting the Baltic Sea herring, which was the only food source allowed during monthlong fasting periods. The salt wealth in Luneburg translate in spectacular Hansa-style architecture with rows of ornate houses. Luneburg was not destroyed during WWII and the old town is fully intact with historic medieval buildings and spiky churches. The town is absolutely amazing and it’s incomprehensible how it’s not a UNESCO World Heritage site.