Inspect the mishmash of architectural styles of this town hall and join a guided tour to visit some of its elegantly decorated halls.
The Rathaus (Town Hall) is the historic seat of the Hanseatic League and a present-day administrative headquarters. Visit this medieval landmark to admire the extravagance of its exterior, wander between its rooms and visit fairs held on its marketplace. The Rathaus originated around 1230, when three gabled houses were erected on the square. It was remodeled regularly up until the 19th century, destroyed by bombings in 1942 and rebuilt in the 1950s.
The gabled house are superb representations of their original 13th-century likeness. Their Gothic-style façades and arcade face the square and provide an artistic front to the now main building. An additional arcade extends from the houses, which was used by Hanseatic merchants for trading goods. Among other notable aspects is a Renaissance staircase, a group of church-like spires and a series of gilded shields.
Access to the interior is by guided tour only. Find huge paintings, which portray events in the city’s history such as the inaugural Luebeck Council and the building of the cathedral by Henry the Lion. Peek inside the Bürgerschaftssaal, a working meeting room once frequented by merchants. In the Roter Saal is a painting of the 1564 Battle of Gotland, a conflict fought by the Danes and Luebeck against the Swedes.
Arguably the finest room is the former courtroom, the Audienzsaal. It has a blend of Renaissance and Rococo ornamentation. Pay attention to the varying heights of the doors. Innocent defendants had to depart through the tall door while guilty defendants were ushered out via the short door.
Find the Rathaus on Town Hall Square, in the heart of Luebeck Old Town. The square serves as a location for regular art exhibitions, craft fairs and farmers markets. Cafés in the square have outdoor seating areas. Get here by walking for about 5 minutes from the Holstentor gate.
Guided tours of the Rathaus are available for a fee and take place three times a day from Monday to Friday. There’s one tour on Saturday.