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Stralsund is a city in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, Germany. It is situated at the southern coast of the Strelasund (a sound of the Baltic Sea separating the island of Rügen from the mainland). A bridge (the Rügendamm) and several ferry services connect Stralsund with the ports of Rügen. Population: 63,000 (1997).

The town was founded in the 13th century by Slavic settlers from Rügen. Traders from Germany arrived in the following years. The town began to rise. This challenged the powerful city of Lübeck, which burnt Stralsund down in 1249. Afterwards the town was rebuilt with a massive city wall having 11 town gates and 30 watchtowers.

In 1293 Stralsund became a member of the Hanseatic League, hence an allied of Lübeck. 300 ships flying the flag of Stralsund cruised the Baltic Sea in the 14th century. The rivalry between the Hanseatic League and the kingdom of Denmark lead to open war, which was ended in the Treaty of Stralsund (1370).

In the 17th century Stralsund became a theatre in the Thirty Years' War. General Albrecht von Wallenstein besieged the city in 1628, until Swedish troops came to Stralsund's assistance and forced the general to retreat. After the war the Peace of Westphalia (1648) handed Western Pomerania and the city of Stralsund to Sweden. Stralsund remained Swedish until 1815, when it became a part of Prussia.

Sights in Stralsund:

  • Nikolaikirche (Saint Nikolai, 1276, oldest church of Stralsund)
  • Marienkirche (Saint Mary, 1416, largest church of Stralsund)
  • Jakobikirche (Saint Jacob, 1303, destroyed several times, e.g. by Wallenstein and in World War II
  • Katharinenkloster (Monastery of Saint Catherine, 13th century, today an oceanographic museum
  • Town hall (13th century)

The historic centre is a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

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