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Schleswig’s sights

Schleswig’s sights


Schleswig’s (hi)story

Schleswig, the friendly city of culture, invites you on a voyage of discovery. As a visitor, you must be sure to bring one item with you at least: curiosity about the countless sigths of this city, which is so rich in treasures of art and culture. And don’t forget to bring some time, because Schleswig offers pleasant squares, streets and paths for strolling and lingering as well as its fascinating cultural monuments and museums.

But first our voyage of discovery takes us back in time. After all, Schleswig is one of the oldest cities of the Baltic region, with the settlement of Sliesthorp being mentioned in Frankish imperial records as early as 804. The settlement on the Schlei, also known as Haithabu, became a flourishing commercial metropolis in the Viking era...


The Vikings

Craftsmen and warriors

The Vikings? Weren’t they the uncouth fellows who were always fighting wars, pillaging and dealing in slaves? The Haithabu Viking Museum shows that this is not the whole truth. Jewellery, toys, clothing, tools and even a reconstructed Viking ship are there for you to marvel at. In summer you can go to the Viking Museum on a boat which departs from the Stadthafen harbour at regular intervals.

Our tip: Viking fans should visit Schleswig’s Viking Festival, which has been held every other summer since 1986.

The legendary Haithabu was destroyed in a raid in 1066, but the new city of Schleswig grew up on the opposite bank of the Schlei. Schleswig carried on the role of Haithabu as a commericial metropolis and port until the 13th century.

The old town

In the shadow of the cathedral

The most impressive medieval building in the city is undoubtedly St. Peters Cathedral in the old town. When Waldemar III was crowned King of Denmark in the cathedral on 24 June 1218, everyone of rank and name in Northern Europe came to the city on the Schlei. But darker events also unfolded in the shadow of the cathedral. In 1134, for example, the members of one of Schleswig’s merchant guilds killed the Danish king Niels. Rightly in their opinion, because King Niels was among those responsible for the murder of Knud Laward, the popular governor of Schleswig.

Schleswig’s landmark not only provides the subject matter for stories, however, it also has a lot worth seeing. The highlight of any visit to the cathedral is the Bordesholmer Altar by Hans Brüggemann, a masterpiece of European wood carving.

Our tip: Climb the steps of the Neo-Gothic spire, 112 metres high. From there you will have a marvellous view of Schleswig’s old town.

Another eloquent witness of the importance of Schleswig in the Middle Ages is the former Grey Friary of the Franciscan monks, where employees of the city council now work. The classical Town Hall next door was built at the end of the 18th century.


An idyll with tradition

On Holm you will find the medieval St. Johns Convent, a religious institution for ladies of rank since the Reformation. The idyllic fishing village of Holm was originally an island which did not become joined to the mainland until 1933. Holm still follows ist own local traditions. There is for example the "Holmer Beliebung" festival and "Twiebakkken Regatta" at the end of August, when all the disused fishing boats race each other.

Our tip: If you want to know more about Holm and its people pay a visit to the Holm Museum and the City Museum.


The Museums

Schloss Gottorf’s princely splendour

A decisive turning point in the history of Schleswig was when it became the seat of the royal court in the middle of the 16th century. Schloss Gottorf was transformed from a modest moated castle into a magnificent palace, and became an intellectual and cultural centre with a sphere of influence which extended far beyond the borders of Schleswig-Holstein. Today the palace houses the state museums, with the main attractions including the Iron Age bog finds and a collection of expressionist art of international importance in the Kreuzstall. From 1996 the interesting Folklore Collection of the State Museum can viewed at Hesterberg in the vicinity of the palace island.

The splendour of the prince’s court also spread to the rest of the city, and grand buildings sprang up, an example being Der Günderothsche Hof, once a ducal guesthouse and now the City Museum.

Our tip: Children are not the only ones to enjoy the toy exhibiton or the Teddy Bär Haus (historical collection of teddy bears) in the City Museum.


Music and more

Schleswig tops the bill

Do you enjoy going to the theatre? Do you like music? The range of theatrical productions and concerts on offer in Schleswig is very varied, and the atmosphere at performances always has style. There are musical treats to enjoy all year round, including organ concerts in St. Peters Cathedral, symphony concerts in the Schleswig-Holstein State Theatre and the Schleswig-Holstein Music Festival. And from mid-July to mid-August open-air plays and symphony concerts are put on in the courtyard at Schloss Gottorf.

Fans of rock, folk, blues and jazz are well catered for in the city on the Schlei. There is the autumn jazz festival, for example, and Schleswig’s pubs offer live music all year round.

Our tip: Old-time jazz fans should go on a riverboat shuffle on the Schlei.


Out and about

A city for relaxation and activity

Anyone fancying some pleasant shopping followed by a bite to eat should take a stroll along Schleswig’s Stadtweg. When it comes to food, cosy pubs and tempting restaurants offer a wide variety of tasty cuisine. How about some fish, fresh from the Schlei? Or an authentic Schleswig beer, nicely chilled?

Then how about some activity? In summer sailing is very popular. The Schlei, the most beautiful fjord in Schleswig-Holstein, is a picturesque setting for all those who love water sports. And, with its quiet lagoons, the Schlei also offers anglers every opportunity to pursue their hobby. There is virtually no limit to sporting activities in Schleswig and the surrounding area. You can swim, ride, windsurf, canoe and play tennis, squash or crazy golf. The countryside is ideal for long cycle rides and rambles, while Denmark, the Baltic beaches, the west coast, the towns of Kappeln, Eckernförde, Husum and Flensburg and Kiel, the capital of Schleswig-Holstein, are always worth a visit.