During the eigth-fourteenth centuries Rostock was regarded ass one of the most important cities in the Hanseatic League, competing with major ports of Lithuania, Poland, Estonia, Denmark and Sweden. The strategic location and wealth of the city soon provoked envy of the Scandinavians. This resulted in its occupation during the Thirty Years' War and from 1700 to 1720. For over a decade Rostock has been occupied by the French under Napoleon. During World War II, a number of historic buildings and monuments in Rostock have been destroyed. Some of them were restored, however, at great expense.
Some of the most historic buildings in Rostock can be found on Neuer Platz, known also as Ernst-Thalmann Platz. Among the most outstanding is the Rathaus incorporating seven towers and three eighth century buildings into a structure that is linked by the arcaded gallery. From here stretches the most photographed street in Rostock, Krupelinger Strasse lined with restored buildings and shops. It ends at the most recognizable feature of the town, the Krupeliner Tor, whose interior is home to a small museum dedicated to the culture and history of Rostock. Among other buildings which have managed to survive damage of war is the St Marien Kirche, located on a narrow side street off Lange Strasse. Regarded as one of the largest and finest ecclesiastical structures in the Baltic world, it began in the thirteenth century as a Romanesque Hallenkirche, and was enlarged in the late fourteenth century. However, the huge tower was not completed until the early eighteenth century. Inside the Marien Kirche are an astronomical clock built in the 1400s and an organ dating back to 1770. The church is open Monday to Saturday.
Among other churches worth a visit is the Heilig Kreuz, constructed in the XIV century. Associated with the church is the Cistercian Convent, home to the medieval religious paintings. It is open Tuesday to Sunday.
One of the most beautiful places in Rostock, the Neuer Markt was built in the XIII century in Gothic style and transformed in the eighteenth century with the addition of the Banqueting Hall and a Baroque facade. It also preserves six original gable houses dating back to the fifteenth and sixteenth centuries. Located behind the Town Hall is another prominent attraction, the Kerkhofhaus, regarded as the best preserved brick house in Rostock.
Among those worth attention is also the Kloster St Katharinen, an old Franciscan monastery established in the mid-thirteenth century and extended several times since then. Today it is used as the seat of the Academy of Music and Theater. The oldest church in the city is the Nikolaikirche constructed in the thirteenth century and heavily damaged during the World War II. It is now used as the concert hall and exhibition center due to fantastic acoustics.
To its guests the city offers a variety of lodging and dining options designed to suit each taste and budget. Some of the best Rostock hotels include the Courtyard by Marriott, Hotel Verdi and Steigenberger Hotel zur Sonne among others. Inviting taverns, cozy pubs and cafes offer cultivated hospitality.