Sunday, 25 October 2015

Swedish Pomerania

Swedish Pomerania

A Swedish dominion from 1630 to 1815
in today's Vorpommern, Northern Germany,
including Stralsund and e.g. the island of Rugen.

As a result of warfare in the 17th century Sweden came to control extensive territories on the southern Baltic coast. The Thirty Years' war ended with the Treaty of Westfalen when Pomerania was annexed with Sweden. Before that king Gustav II Adolf had sent troops (600 soldiers from Norrland) to victoriously defend Stralsund. He signed an "eternal" union with the Pomeranians in 1630 thus becoming the effective ruler over the territory. This victorious day, 24th July, is still celebrated annually.

As late as 1815 Swedish Pomerania was traded for Norway and Denmark was to govern over Pomerania for a short period before handing it over to Prussia. By 1873 Stralsund held no bastion any more, experienced restless times after the first world war before the nationalists took the power in 1933 and the read army formed a military base in May 1945. During the East German period the old city of Stralsund suffered severely but was swiftly renovated when Germany was united. The old city and part of the Rugen island has been declared a world heritage site by UNESCO.

Stralsund harbor area from the sea.


Skyline of Stralsund from the sea.

Stralsund was founded by Prins Wizlan I (of Rugen) in 1234. In 1278 it became a dominant town, second to Lubeck, in the Hansa League. It had a Swedish governor between 1720 - 1815 and carries many Swedish memories. This year a Swedish week was organized in the autumn to commemorate the period under Swedish rule.


The island of Rugen is the largest island in Germany. It had become a leading tourist resort in northern Germany due to the national park Jasmund with its old beech tree forests and the numerous sea resort on the eastern cost. Kap Arkona, the northernmost tip, is also worth visiting due to the sights and the picturesque village near the tall lighthouse.

Jasmund national park and its cliffs. 

Jasmund visitor centre

Jasmund National Park. The lighthouse at Kap Arkona is further north from here.

Jasmund National Park is surrounded by a blue sea and white chalk cliffs on one side and green (beech) forests on the other. The main attraction is Königsstulh - this mightiest of the chalk cliffs (pictures above). Poets and printers throughout the times have been inspired by these cliffs that where created 67 million years ago in an ancient sea of the Cretaceous period. 

The visitor centre at Jasmund is very welcoming and offer much to do also on rainy days like the one I experienced. Parking is organized at a small distance from the visitors center but there is a shuttle bus to take visitors all the way through.

The most inspiring moment was at the 180 degree projected cinema on 4 screens that talked about the specific biotop in beech forests living its own life and leaving little space for other vegetation. This area has an old protected beech area with trees "sky scraping" leaving the roads underneath dark even at daylight. 

Slide show mirrored at the visitor centre of Jasmund.

Read the fun part

The first day at Rugen was long involving also minor "accidents". It is perfectly understandable that reading maps while driving is not recommended - especially in slow speed urban areas. While checking my route a "traffic warden" in the form of a camera post lit up my car and took a picture - which I presume will be sent to me with a request of a small fee to be paid for the administrators.

A little later this same day the nice restaurant that I was guided to in Lohme looked very surprised when I offered my VISA for payment after the lunch. Eurocard and Diners did not sound much better to them. When I was apologizing and ready to offer to do the dishes I was kindly proposed an invoice. My dish of duck and some suitable white whine :-) tasted excellent and I can certainly recommend as a very welcoming restaurant with excellent local fish dishes, too.

These happenings made my day smile :-)

Last but not least on this day was a visit to the lighthouse at Kap Arkona.  You remember it was raining! The walk was about 2 km's (you can take the small train there, too) and towards the end of the main road a crossing proposed a distance of  800 meters either way. I choose the left route - soon to enter a muddy path! Turning back and taking the other (paved) road grew the distance to minimum 2,5 km's but the above picture from Kap Arkona had to be taken! The last stretch back home included a ferry crossing. Was it going to operate late evenings? It did and I reached the hotel in no time.

Sea resorts

Sea resorts include e.g. Binz, Sellin, Baabe, Göhren.

If anyone is in for sea resort life then there is a plenty to choose from. Binz is the largest 4-season resort with everything to offer. But you could also opt for Sellin - the pearl of Rugen with seaside resort architecture. Or Göhren with white sandy beaches. A small train travels the coastal line for some 24 km's at a speed of 30 km/h maximum. It runs through beautiful forests on a narrow track making a stop in several towns and the below mentioned hunting castle, too. 

Granitz Hunting Castle

Rugen has many tree lined boulevards. One of them is leading to this magnificent hunting castle built by Prince Wilhelm Malte I in 1846. The surroundings where abundant in (big) game and the local landlords fascinated by hunting. During 1783 - 1854 they held important offices at the Danish and Swedish courts. The tall current raises 38 meters high and has a remarkable view over the island. This popular attraction draws 300.000 visitors annually.

Painted detail on the walls of the Jasmund visitor centre.

The seal of Pomerania

Hope you have enjoyed this photographic tour to Pomerania, Germany. It is close to Hamburg, Berlin, Stettin and Rostock. Driving from Copenhagen would take about 5 hours 30 minutes including the Puttgarden ferry (45 minutes) - A47 south and then A20 east.

If you are looking for a hotel the HanseDom spa hotel has very good service, nice rooms and a fantastic gym, huge sauna department (you will be surprised) and a large swimming area, too.

Together with the fabulous island of Rugen Pomerania has so much to offer.

Take Care! And have a wonderful working week!