This area was an important trading spot. From here goods and the valuable salt was shipped. Because the depth of the Ilmenau was not very deep, shallow boats like the ‘Salzewer’ (salt cog) were used. You can see one example lying in the Old Harbour. From here the boats went down the Ilmenau until they met the Elbe river. The goods were traded to far away regions, especially to Lübeck and from here to partners of the Hanseatic League around the Baltic Sea and other partners elsewhere. On its way, the gopds were repacked to bigger ships. Of course the boats didnt't returned empty. They were filled with different wares and you can see the Old Crane which was used for unpacking the packages from the ships.
In former times, fish – such as the famous smelt, which gave the square its name - was traded on Stint Market. This small salmon fish has recently returned to the river Elbe. During smelt season, starting in March, it is offered in many restaurants in numerous variations. Fishermen used to dry their nets on the smelt terraces next to the Ilmenau river. Today you can enjoy a fine meal and a wonderful view of the historic harbour complex with the famous old crane while sitting on these terraces.
Thanks to the Ilmenau, which disembogues into the Elbe near Zollenspieker, salt could be transported on the safe waterway. A flat boat hauled from Lüneburg to the Elbe and the salt was then shipped from Lauenburg to Lübeck passing numerous sluices. Following downstream from Stint Market on the left side Lüneburg’s formerly largest salt storage facility, 'Visculehof', is located in 'Salzstraße', close to the water. It once belonged to the closed court complex of the wealthy patrician family Viscule. It was later used as a salt and grain storage building.
Stint Market, simply called 'Stint' by the locals, is Lüneburg’s pub district. See for yourself, it’s true: Lüneburg boasts the most pubs in Germany (scaled pub per head...), in Europe it is second only to Madrid. In the mood for a good cup of coffee, a sophisticated cocktail or simply a glass of cold beer? You’ve come to the right place! At the weekends night owls will surely find live music in one of the numerous bars.
The old crane is Lüneburg’s secret landmark. A crane on the Illmenau is mentioned for the first time in 1346. Two wooden carrying wheels – with which the crane once lightened heavy loads - are hidden inside this still fully functioning industrial memorial. When Lüneburg was connected to the railway network in 1846, the crane became redundant. Today this structurally engineered memorial is very close to the heart of Lüneburg’s inhabitants and lovingly tended.
For more than 2,500 years, heavy loads were being lifted with the help of carrying wheels. Lüneburg’s crane was re-built in 1797 according to medieval plans. Time and again it is said that the hard work inside the crane was conducted by convicts. But this demanding work was actually done by skilled workers who were employed as stevedores at the warehouse on the opposite side.
You can only get inside the crane when taking one of the guided tours of the city.
© Lüneburg Marketing GmbH
ST. NICHOLAS CHURCH
Lüneburg’s youngest Gothic church – the laying of the corner stone was in 1406 – is located in the Wasserviertel (water district) and dedicated to St. Nicholas. It was the religious centre of the skippers, fishermen and the salt barrel makers. On the outside, physical safeguarding measures became already necessary during the 19th century. The Neo-Gothic tower measures 96 meters and was installed on top of the old tower stump in 1896. The central nave of the basilica appears higher than it really is thanks to its unusual construction and captivates visitors with its arched starry roof, unique in Northern Germany.
Well worth seeing is the gothic altar, the so-called 'Bibel des kleinen Mannes' ('poor man’s bible'), with its marvellous carvings.
An interesting model of the city is located in the tower hall, which depicts Lüneburg around the year 1600. The city fortification, the saline, cloisters, churches and even the town hall with the original five towers will give you an idea of the historic Lüneburg. During the reformation, all Gothic church windows were removed, this is why the windows you can find here originate from the second half of the 19th century - apart from two modern meditation windows from 1987. When you walk around the sanctuary, you will find interesting altarpieces depicting the medieval Lüneburg.
St. Nicolai Kirche
Lüner Straße 15
The Department Store was firstly documented in 1302 as ‘Heringshaus’. Back then, the herring was the most important Lenten food, pickled in salt and stored in barrels. Back in the day, herring wasn’t the only thing stored and offered for sale at the department store. The historic stock and customs lists show that apart from fish and meat a whole range of goods was sold at ‘Heringhaus’, such as grain, hop, malt, wine, beer, drapery, wool, fur, wood, metal, glass and spices.
In 1742, a new Baroque façade was built for the department store – the only part of the house that was saved after the disastrous arson in 1959. The façade sports an onion dome, very unusual for a North German building. The golden weather vane shows a lighter, a riverboat of about 18 metres with very little draft. The people of Lüneburg wanted to have a real lighter in their historic harbour for a long time. If you are lucky, you might find the boat made from oak tied to the quay wall. The lighter was renovated by young adults, supported by craftsmen and social education workers, during the cooperation project “Salzwerkstatt”.
Today, the Department House is used as a Hotel.