A Brief History of Stralsund
Stralsund received town rights in 1234 and in 1293 joined Lübeck, Wismar, Rostock, and Greifswald in forming the Hanseatic League. The town experienced three centuries of prosperity, with its greatest moment also that of the Hanseatic League – the Peace of Stralsund in 1370 by which the Danish Kingdom was forced to give up all rights in the eastern Baltic areas.
During the Thirty Years’ War, Stralsund was unsuccessfully besieged by the Imperial armies led by Wallenstein and, in the Peace of Westphalia, it was awarded to Sweden. It became Prussian in 1815. During the Communist era, the town gained importance due to the loss of competing harbors such as Stettin to Poland.
Despite neglect during Communist rule, it managed to preserve many historic buildings and, since the Wende, massive efforts have been made to restore buildings of historical value. Although Stralsund’s old town was added to the UNESCO World Cultural Heritage list in 2002, the general state of repair of many areas is still a far cry from the pristine condition of former West German cities such as Lübeck.
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