Built as part of the medieval defensive system, this grandiose tower has also been the private residence of notable city residents.
Burgtor (Castle Gate) is a magnificent introduction to the architectural heritage of Luebeck. It is a great place to start a walking tour of the well-preserved Gothic landmarks in the UNESCO-protected Luebeck Old Town. Admire the intimidating presence of Burgtor, discover its artistic features and browse exhibits that explain its historical importance.
The origins of the gateway date back to 1227 but the construction didn’t finish until 1444. Along with Holstentor, it is the only surviving tower of the medieval walls that protected the Luebeck’s castle. French troops succeeded in scaling the tower in 1806 and subsequently took control of the city. A commemorative plaque in the eastern passageway honors the event.
In the 1900s the gate took on a different role altogether. The German writer Ida Boy-Ed acquired the rights to live in the tower and she did so for 16 years up until her death in 1928. Art historian Carl Georg Heise then took up residence and it later became an embroidery and weaving workshop. Today, parts of the tower are home to a youth center.
Stand and appreciate the Gothic design, constructed mostly of red and black bricks. On the ground level are four archways and a square-shaped tower rises above them. Note the tower’s multiple levels of arched windows and its Baroque-style roof. Sections of the defensive wall are preserved on either side of the main tower. Look for a lion statue by the sculptor Fritz Behn. There’s also a scale model encased in a glass box, which shows the tower in its original form.
Situated at the northern edge of Luebeck Old Town, it’s easy to reach the landmark on foot and public transportation. Luebeck’s central train station is a 30-minute walk away. After visiting the tower, continue your exploration of the old town’s atmospheric streets. Or, cross the bridge and follow one of the waterfront trails.
You can visit Burgtor at any time of the day. Be sure to pass by at night when it is illuminated by bright floodlights.