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Town Hall (red)
Town Hall (red)
Coat of arms of Greifswald
Greifswald is located in Germany
Coordinates 54°5′0″N 13°23′0″E / 54.083333°N 13.383333°E / 54.083333; 13.383333
Country Germany
State Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
District Urban district
Town subdivisions 16 boroughs
Lord Mayor Dr. Arthur König (CDU)
Basic statistics
Area 50.50 km2 (19.50 sq mi)
Elevation 5 m  (16 ft)
Population  53,434  (31 December 2006)[1]
 - Density 1,058 /km2 (2,740 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate HGW
Postal codes 17489-17493
Area code 03834

Greifswald (German pronunciation: [ˈɡʁaɪ̯fsvalt]) is a town in northeastern Germany. It is situated in the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, at an equal distance of about 250 km (ca. 150 miles) to Germany's two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg. The town borders the Baltic Sea, and is crossed by a small river, the Ryck. It is also located near Germany's two largest islands, Rügen and Usedom as well as near three of the country's 14 national parks.

The population is about 55,000, including 12,500 students and 5,000 employees of the University of Greifswald. Greifswald is internationally known due to the university and the Nord Stream gas pipeline project.



Bay of Greifswald

Greifswald is located in the Northeast of Germany, approximately at equal distance to Germany's two largest islands: Rügen and Usedom. The town is situated at the south end of the Bay of Greifswald, the historic centre being about 5 kilometers (3 mi) up the river Ryck that crosses the town. The area around Greifswald is mainly flat, and hardly reaches more than 20 metres above sea level. Two islands, Koos and Riems, are also part of Greifswald. Three of Germany's fourteen national parks can be reached by car in one hour or less from Greifswald.

Greifswald is at an equal distance to Germany's to largest cities, Berlin (240 kilometers (149 mi)) and Hamburg (260 kilometers (162 mi)). The nearest larger towns are Stralsund and Rostock.

The coastal part of Greifswald at the mouth of the Ryck, named Greifswald-Wieck, evolved from a fishing village. Today it provides a small beach, a marina and the main port for Greifswald.



Middle Ages and Reformation

Eldena Abbey was founded in 1199. Today only its ruins remain.
The University of Greifswald was founded at Greifswald Cathedral in 1456.
The eastern side of the historic city centre (seen from the cathedral tower)
Greifswald as a typical Ostsiedlung town in medieval Pomerania. Locators set up rectangular blocs in an area resembling an oval with a central market, and organized the settlement.

In medieval times, the site of Greifswald was an unsettled woodland which marked the border between the Danish Principality of Rügen and the Pomeranian County of Gützkow, which at that time was also under Danish control. In 1199, the Rugian Prince Jaromar I allowed Danish Cistercian monks to build Hilda Abbey, now Eldena Abbey, at the mouth of the River Ryck. Among the lands granted the monks was a natural salt evaporation pond a short way up the river, a site also crossed by the important via regia trade route. This site was named Gryp(he)swold(e), which is the Low German precursor of the city's modern name. However, legend says the monks were shown the best site for settlement by a mighty griffin, living in a tree that was supposed to have grown on Greifswald's oldest street, the Schuhagen. The town's construction followed a scheme of rectangular streets, with church and market sites reserved in central positions. It was settled primarily with Germans in the course of the Ostsiedlung, but settlers from other nations and Wends from nearby were attracted, too.

The salt trade helped Eldena Abbey to become a hugely influential religious centre, and Greifswald became a well-known market. When the Danes had to surrender the Pomeranian lands south of the Ryck after losing the Battle of Bornhöved in 1227, the town became of particular interest to the Pomeranian dukes. In 1241, the Rugian prince Wizlaw I and the Pomeranian duke Wartislaw III both granted Greifswald market rights. In 1250, the latter granted the town Lübeck law, after he had been permitted to acquire the town site as a fief from Eldena Abbey in 1248.

When Jazco of Salzwedel from Gützkow founded a Franciscan friary within the walls of Greifswald, the Cistercians at Eldena lost much of their influence on the city's further development. Just beyond Greifswald's western limits, a town-like suburb (Neustadt) arose, separated from Greifswald by a ditch. In 1264, Neustadt was incorporated and the ditch was filled in.

Eldena Abbey and the major buildings of Greifswald were erected in Brick Gothic style.

Enjoying a steady population increase, Greifswald became at the end of the 13th century one of the earliest members of the Hanseatic League, which further increased its trade and wealth. After 1296, Greifswald's citizens no longer needed to serve in the Pomeranian army, and Pomeranian dukes would not reside in the city.

In 1456, Greifswald's mayor Heinrich Rubenow laid the foundations of one of the oldest universities in the world, the University of Greifswald, which was one of the first in Germany, and was, periodically, the single oldest in Sweden and Prussia respectively.

In the course of Reformation, Eldena Abbey ceased to function as a monastery. Its possessions fell to the Pomeranian dukes; the bricks of its Gothic buildings were used by the locals for other construction. Eldena lost its separate status and was later absorbed into the town of Greifswald. The religious houses within the town walls, the priories of the Blackfriars (Dominicans) in the northwest and the Greyfriars (Franciscans) in the southeast, were secularized. The buildings of the Dominicans (the "black monastery") were turned over to the university; the site is still used as part of the medical campus. The Franciscan friary ("the "grey monastery") and its succeeding buildings are now the Pomeranian State Museum.

During the Thirty Years' War, Greifswald was occupied by imperial forces from 1627 to 1631,[2] and thereafter by Swedish forces.[3]

1631/48—1815: Sweden

Greifswald in 1652
Greifswald's lively market square (Marktplatz)

When Swedish forces had entered the Duchy of Pomerania in 1630 and subsequently cleared her of imperial troops, Greifswald became the last imperial stronghold in Pomerania.[4] It was besieged by Sweden since 12 June 1631.[4] When imperial commander Perusi was shot during a ride, the imperial garrison surrendered on 16 June.[4] Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden even returned from Brandenburg to supervise the siege, and upon his arrival received the university's homage for the liberation.[4] After the Thirty Years' War (1618-1648), Greifswald and the region surrounding it officially became part of the Kingdom of Sweden as a result of the Thirty Years' War. Swedish Pomerania, as it was then called, remained part of the Swedish kingdom until 1815, when it became part of Prussia as the Province of Pomerania.

The Thirty Years' War caused much starvation all over Germany, and by 1630, Greifswald's population had shrunk by two thirds. Many buildings were left vacant and fell into decay. Soon other wars followed: the Swedish-Polish War and the Swedish-Brandenburg War both involved the then Swedish town of Greifswald. In 1659 and 1678, Brandenburg troops bombarded the town. The first bombardment hit principally the northeast of the town, where 16 houses burned down. The second bombardment levelled 30 houses and damaged hundreds more all over the town. Cannon balls of this second bombardment can still be seen in the walls of St Mary's Church today.

During the Great Northern War (1700-1721, with the town involved 1711-1713), Greifswald had to house soldiers, who vandalized several homes. In 1713, the town hall and the stables burned down. In 1736, an even greater fire destroyed 26 houses and damaged several others. In 1669 and 1689, the Swedish government issued decrees (Freiheitspatente) absolving anyone of taxes who built or rebuilt a house. These decrees were in force, though frequently modified, until 1824.[5]

In 1763, Greifswald Botanic Garden was founded.

1815—today: Germany

The central market square (Marktplatz)
The painter Caspar David Friedrich (1774-1840) immortalised his home town in several of his paintings („Wiesen bei Greifswald“, 1820).

About 1900, the city - for the first time since the Middle Ages -expanded significantly beyond the old city walls. Also, a major railway connected Greifswald to Stralsund and Berlin; a local railway line further connected Greifswald to Wolgast.

The city survived World War II without much destruction, even though it housed a large army garrison. In April 1945, Oberst Rudolf Petershagen surrendered the city to the Red Army without a fight.

From 1949 to 1989, Greifswald was part of the German Democratic Republic. During this time, most historical buildings in the medieval parts of the city were neglected and a number of old buildings were pulled down. The population increased significantly, because of the construction of a power plant in Lubmin, which was closed in the early 1990s. New suburbs were erected in the monolithic industrial socialist style (see Plattenbau). They still house most of the city's population. These new suburbs were placed east and southeast of central Greifswald, shifting the former town center to the northwestern edge of the modern city.

Reconstruction of the old town began in the late 1980s. Nearly all has now been restored. Before that almost all of the old northern town adjacent to the port was demolished and subsequently rebuilt. The historic marketplace is especially worth mentioning, and is one of the most beautiful in northern Germany. The city attracts many tourists, due to its proximity to the Baltic Sea.

Greifswald's greatest population was reached in 1988, with about 68,000 inhabitants, but it decreased afterwards to 55,000, where it has now stabilised. Reasons for this included migration to western cities as well as suburbanisation. However, the number of students quadrupled from 3,000 in 1990 to more than 11,000 in 2007 and the university employs 5,000 people; nearly one in three people in Greifswald are linked in some way to higher education.

Despite its relatively small population, Greifswald retains a supra-regional relevance linked to its intellectual role as a university town and to the taking of the central functions of the former Prussian Province of Pomerania after World War II, such as the seat of the bishop of the Pomeranian Evangelical Church, the state archives (Landesarchiv) and the Pomeranian Museum (Pommersches Landesmuseum). Three courts of the state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern are also based at Greifswald:

  • the Supreme Administrative Court (Oberverwaltungsgericht);
  • the Supreme Constitutional Court (Landesverfassungsgericht); and
  • the Financial Court (Finanzgericht)

Administrative division

Amalgamation Size
Innenstadt 87,0 3.883
Steinbeckervorstadt 349,6 163
Fleischervorstadt 52,7 2.911
Nördliche Mühlenvorstadt 173,8 4.097
Südliche Mühlenvorstadt,
108,1 4.650
657,3 2.853
Industriegebiet 634,7 583
„Schönwalde I
und Südstadt“
Schönwalde I,
132,1 12.583
„Schönwalde II“ Schönwalde II 88,0 9.994
Groß Schönwalde 1974 580,8 749
„Ostseeviertel“ Ostseeviertel 219,7 8.577
„Wieck“ Ladebow 1939 544,4 499
Wieck 1939 44,2 395
„Eldena“ Eldena 1939 675,5 1.994
„Friedrichshagen“ Friedrichshagen 1960 436,5 196
„Riems“ Riems,
Insel Koos
233,6 814
(Size and population data as of 2002)


The energy sector is important to the city's economy. Even the church in Greifswald's area Wieck has solar panels on its roof.
Shops on the High Street (or Main Street): Greifswald is a shopping destination for the entire region.

Greifswald and Stralsund are the largest cities in the Vorpommern part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Of great importance to the city's economy is the local university with its 12,000 students and nearly 5,000 employees in addition to many people employed at independent research facilities such as the Friedrich Loeffler Institute and spin-off firms.

Greifswald is also the seat of the bishopry of the Pomeranian Evangelical Church as well as the seat of the state's chief constitutional court, and chief financial court.

Tourism plays a vital role as Greifswald is situated between the islands of Rügen and Usedom on the popular German Baltic coast, which brings in many tourists.

One of Europe's largest producers of photovoltaic modules, Berlin-based Solon SE, has a production site in Greifswald. The world's third largest producer of yachts worldwide, Hanse Yachts, is based in Greifswald. In the energy sector, a transnational gas pipeline from Russia to Germany will stop in Lubmin (near Greifswald). Riemser Arzeimittel is a pharmaceutical company based on the island of Riems, which is part of the city of Greifswald. Siemens Communications F & E produces goods here as well.

In a 2008 study [6], Greifswald was declared Germany's most dynamic city. According to another 2008 study, Greifswald is the "youngest city" in Germany having the highest percentage of heads of household under 30 years of age.[7]


City Council

Flag of Greifswald

Politics in Greifswald, as in most of Western Pomerania, is traditionally dominated by the conservative CDU. The city council is elected for five year terms. Since the last election on 13 June 2004, the 42 city council seats are allocated as follows:

  • CDU (conservatives) - 16 seats
  • Left Party (socialists) - 9 seats
  • SPD (social democrats) - 8 seats
  • Greens - 3 seats
  • FDP (liberals) - 2 seats
  • others - 4 seats




The public library.

Founded in 1456, the University of Greifswald is one of the oldest universities in both Germany and Europe. Currently, about 11,000 students study at with five faculties: theology, law/economics, medicine, philosophy, and mathematics/natural sciences.

The university co-operates with many research facilities, such as:

Secondary Schools


Theater Vorpommern

Greifswald has a number of museums and exhibitions, most notably the Pomeranian State Museum (German: Pommersches Landesmuseum): history of Pomerania and arts, including works by Caspar David Friedrich, a native of Greifswald. The University of Greifswald also has a large number of collections, some of which are on display for the public.

Bearing in mind the population of only 55,000 people, Greifswald offers a wide range of events, for instance:

  • Theater Vorpommern: theatre, orchestra and opera
  • Stadthalle Greifswald: medium-sized convention centre
  • Festspiele Mecklenburg-Vorpommern: Greifswald is one of several sites of the state's classical music festival
  • Nordischer Klang is the largest festival of Nordic culture outside of the Nordic countries themselves
  • Bach festival
  • Eldena Jazz Evenings
  • Gaffelrigg summer fair
  • Museumshafen: historic ships in the "museum port"
  • regular literary events in the Koeppenhaus
  • St. Spiritus cultural centre
  • Greifswald International Students Festival (GrIStuF e. V.)
  • Radio 98eins (open radio)
  • Greifswald Night of Music (Greifswalder Musiknacht)
  • Greifswald long-ship festival (Greifswalder Drachenbootfest)


Greifswald is crossed by the Ryck river that mouths into the Bay of Greifswald.

According to a 2009 study, 44% of all people in Greifswald use their bicycle for daily transport within the town, which is the highest such rate in Germany.[8] There are also public local and regional bus operators.

Greifswald is situated at an equal distance of about 250 km (ca. 150 miles) to Germany's two largest cities, Berlin and Hamburg, which can be reached via the Autobahn 20 by car in about two hours. There are also train connections to and from Hamburg (via Stralsund and Rostock), and Berlin. The popular summer tourist destinations Usedom and Rügen can be reached both by car and by train.

Greifswald has a port on the Baltic Sea as well as several marinas. The historic city centre is about 3 km off the shore, and can be reached by yachts and small boats on the river Ryck. The Bay of Greifswald is a popular place for sailing and surfing, with Germany's two largest islands, Rügen and Usedom, just off the coast.

Notable people

Caspar David Friedrich (portrayed by Gerhard von Kügelgen, c. 1810–20)
See also: List of University of Greifswald people

See also

External links


  1. ^ Population source
  2. ^ Langer, Herbert (2003). "Die Anfänge des Garnisionswesens in Pommern". in Asmus, Ivo; Droste, Heiko; Olesen, Jens E. (in German). Gemeinsame Bekannte: Schweden und Deutschland in der Frühen Neuzeit. Berlin-Hamburg-Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 403. ISBN 3825871509.  
  3. ^ Langer, Herbert (2003). "Die Anfänge des Garnisionswesens in Pommern". in Asmus, Ivo; Droste, Heiko; Olesen, Jens E. (in German). Gemeinsame Bekannte: Schweden und Deutschland in der Frühen Neuzeit. Berlin-Hamburg-Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 397. ISBN 3825871509.  
  4. ^ a b c d Langer, Herbert (2003). "Die Anfänge des Garnisionswesens in Pommern". in Asmus, Ivo; Droste, Heiko; Olesen, Jens E. (in German). Gemeinsame Bekannte: Schweden und Deutschland in der Frühen Neuzeit. Berlin-Hamburg-Münster: LIT Verlag. p. 403. ISBN 3825871509.  
  5. ^ Felix Schönrock's studies in: Frank Braun, Stefan Kroll, Städtesystem und Urbanisierung im Ostseeraum in der frühen Neuzeit: Wirtschaft, Baukultur und historische Informationssysteme: Beiträge des wissenschaftlichen Kolloquiums in Wismar vom 4. Und 5. September 2003,2004, pp.184ff, ISBN 382587396X, 9783825873967, [1]
  6. ^ Siehe Handelsblatt:
  7. ^ Study shows: Greifswald is Germany's 'youngest city'
  8. ^ Greifswald ist Fahrradhauptstadt Deutschlands, press release 2009-10-20

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

The market place
The market place

Greifswald [1] is a town in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in Germany. Greifswald is a very old town and gained city rights as early as 1240. In 1278, Greifswald became a part of the Hanseatic network and in 1456, the university was founded.

From 1648 to 1815, Greifswald was a part of Sweden's northern german territories. Following the second world war, the town became a part of the soviet occupation zone. The town faired rather well during and after the war, but during the soviet and east german reign, the economy and infrastructure declined. Following the reunion of the two german states, huge sums of money has been pumped into the area to help improve the situation and to lower the unemployment rates.

Map of Greifswald town centre
Map of Greifswald town centre
  • Fettenvorstadt
  • Fleischenvorstadt
  • Koitenhagen
  • Nördliche Mühlenvorstadt
  • Obstbausiedlung
  • Ostseeviertel (Ryckseite)
  • Ostseeviertel (Parkseite)
  • Schönwalde I
  • Schönwalde II
  • Stadtrandsiedlung
  • Südliche Mühlenvorstadt
  • Südstadt

Get in

The easiest way to get to Greifswald is probably by car, but there are other options.

By air

From May 1, 2010 to the end of October, Air Berlin [2] flies to Flughafen Heringsdorf [3] on the island of Usedom from Dortmund, Düsseldorf, Nürnberg and Stuttgart. If you want to use this service, you have to get to any of the four cities to catch a flight. Flights on saturdays only. The only way of getting to and from the airport is by cab.

By train

Die Bahn [4], operates trains to and from Greifswald. The journey from Berlin takes about 2 h 45 min and the ticket is ca €32. A ticket from Stralsund is about €9 and takes roughly 20 minutes. Tickets may be purchased on board (Note: only on inter-city trains, additional fees apply) at railway stations, in ticket machines, through the web page of Die Bahn or through their call center, phone: +491805996633

  • From north: Road 251 from Stralsund. This is a ring road around Greifswald, so to get into the town, turn off into road B96/B109.
  • From east: L26
  • From south: E251. Trun off into B96/B109 and B109 leads to the town center
  • From west: L26, L261.

By boat

The nearest harbour is Sassnitz on the island of Rügen. Three major ship-owners operates ferries to and from Sassnitz:

Get around

The town center is small and the streets are narrow, which makes it better to park the car on the outskirts and walk.

By bus

Stadtwerke Greifswald [8] runs the six (1, 4, 5, 6, 7 och 20) bus lines in Greifswald. All lines, except nr 5, leave from and/or pass the bus station (ZOB, Zentraler Omnibus-Bahnhof) in the western part of the town centre. Note that the lines may take different routes depending on time and day.

  • Line 1: ZOB - Bahnhof Süd (Greifswalds southern railway station) - Galgenkampwiesen (Neuer Friedhof, The New Cemetary)
  • Line 4: ZOB - Schönwalde - ZOB.
  • Line 5: Wieck-Ostseeviertel - Schönwalde I/II - EKZ, Elisen Park – Bahnhof Süd - Schillerplatz-Galgenkampwiesen.
  • Line 6: ZOB - Dompassage - Wieck/Brücke
  • Line 7: ZOB - Bahnhofstrasse - OEZ-Wieck/Brücke
  • Line 20: ZOB-Ostseeviertel-Schönwalde-Neuer Friedhof
  • Best Western Hotel Greifswald, Hans-Beimler-Strasse 1-3, 03834-80 10, [9]. checkin: 1500; checkout: 1100. Four star business hotel situated in the outskirts of the town center, with approximately 10 minutes walk to the market place. This hotel has a restaurant, a bar, conference facilities and a sauna. All rooms are equipped with cable TV, telephone, hair dryer, trouser press and wireless internet. Pets allowed (extra fees), but with restrictions. €85.  edit
  • Hôtel Galerie, Mühlenstrasse 10, 03834-773 78 30, [10]. Small hotel in the city center. Eight double rooms and three single rooms, all with WC and shower/bath, mini bar, telephone, TV and radio. No restaurant, only breakfast is served. €78-98.  edit
  • Das Sofa, Brüggstraße 29, 03834-773 79 41 or 81 09 44, [11]. A nice little hotel with 8 rooms: 4 double and 4 single rooms, all equipped with WC and shower or bath and a TV. The restaurant is focused on the turkish and mediterranean kitchens. €45-75.  edit
Dorfstrasse in Wieck
Dorfstrasse in Wieck
  • The fishing village Wieck, today more or less a part of Greifswald, lies only a few kilometres east of the city center. This is a nice little village, featuring an old village center and the ruin of the monastery of Eldena, destroyed by swedish forces in the 1600's.
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

GREIFSWALD, a town of Germany, in the Prussian province of Pomerania, on the navigable Ryk, 3 m. from its mouth on the Baltic at the little port of Wyk, and 20 m. S.E. from Stralsund by rail. Pop. (1875) 18,022, (1905) 23,750. It has wide and regular streets, flanked by numerous gabled houses, and is surrounded by pleasant promenades on the site of its old ramparts. The three Gothic Protestant churches, the Marienkirche, the Nikolaikirche and the Jakobikirche, and the town-hall (Rathaus) are the principal edifices, and these with their lofty spires are very picturesque. There is a statue of the emperor Frederick III. and a war memoriwl in the town. The industries mainly consist in shipbuilding, fish-curing, and the manufacture of machinery (particularly for agriculture), and the commerce in the export of corn, wood and fish. There is a theatre, an orphanage and a municipal library. Greifswald is, however, best known to fame by reason of its university. This, founded in 1456, is well endowed and is largely frequented by students of medicine. Connected with it are a library of 150,000 volumes and Boo MSS., a chemical laboratory, a zoological museum, a gynaecological institute, an ophthalmological school, a botanical garden and at Eldena (a seaside resort on the Baltic) an agricultural school. In front of the university, which had 775 students and about Ioo teachers in 1904, stands a monument commemorating its four hundredth anniversary.

Greifswald was founded about 1240 by traders from the Netherlands. In 1250 it received a town constitution and Lubeck rights from Duke Wratislaw of Pomerania. In 1270 it joined the Hanse towns, Stralsund, Rostock, Wismar and Lubeck, and took part in the wars which they carried on against the kings of Denmark and Norway. During the Thirty Years' War it was formed into a fortress by the imperialists, but they vacated it in 1631 to the Swedes, in whose possession it remained after the peace of Westphalia. In 1678 it was captured by the elector of Brandenburg, but was restored to the Swedes in the following year; in 1713 it was desolated by the Russians; in 1715 it came into the possession of Denmark; and in 1721 it was again restored to Sweden, under whose protection it remained till 1815, when, along with the whole of Swedish Pomerania, it came into the possession of Prussia.

See J. G. L. Kosegarten, Geschichte der Universitdt Greifswald (1856); C. Gesterding, Beitrag zur Geschichte der Stadt Greifswald (3 vols., 1827-1829); and I. Ziegler, Geschichte der Stadt Greifswald (Greifswald, 1897).

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

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