Museum harbor – Holidays in Greifswald
  • Tel: +49 (0) 3834 85361380
  • Tel: +49 (0) 3834 85361380
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Museum harbor & museum shipyard

Tjalke, Ewer, Ketsch & Schooner in the largest museum harbor in Germany

With more than 50 ships, the Greifswald museum harbor is the largest museum harbor in Germany. Historic schooners, tugboats and launches line the Ryck River on both sides and are reminiscent of the heyday of sailing in the mid-19th century. Information boards in front of the ships provide information about the type of ship, year of construction and history. Some of the ships are still sailing and take guests on board for a sailing trip, others have been converted into restaurant ships. When the weather is nice, the harbor is a popular hot spot and the perfect place for a delicious meal, a leisurely stroll or to watch the sunset.

The port of Greifswald in the times of the Hanseatic League

Since 1310, Greifswald has belonged to the alliance of Hanseatic cities, which came together between the 13th and 15th centuries to promote long-distance trade in the North and Baltic Sea regions. With its city port, Greifswald was a popular transshipment point for trade with Scandinavia and the north-west of the Russian Empire. But trade relations with Flanders and England are also documented. The activities of the German Hanseatic League continued until the middle of the 17th century. Only in 1644, in the wake of the Peace of Westphalia, did the Pomeranian Hanseatic cities break away from the Hanseatic League.

The last flowering of sailing shipping

Shipping in Greifswald suffered greatly under Swedish rule and was only able to recover towards the end of the 18th century. In the middle of the 19th century, Greifswald experienced an economic boom that led to the last heyday of sailing and shipbuilding in the city. The fairway of the Ryck was dredged and thus widened. As the city wall on the southern side of the port was demolished, more space was available for the handling and storage of goods for the shipping trade. At that time, the Greifswald merchant fleet owned around 50 seagoing vessels, which went to the Black Sea, America, the East Indies and China, among other places.

Guest shipping and spa operations

Before 1870, passengers who wanted to go from the old town of Greifswald to Eldena or Wieck were still transported with so-called “trek barges”. These were flat-bottomed ships drawn by horses. From 1870, however, these were replaced by small steamers. The flourishing of spas in the 19th century also boosted passenger shipping in Greifswald. Excursion and saloon steamers brought the numerous bathers to Wieck and Eldena, to the Greifswalder Bodden, to Lubmin and to the seaside resorts on the southeast coast of Rügen. Guests who came by train from Berlin could take a harbor train directly to the steamer landing stage. In the last 40 years of the 19th century, the Kesselersche Maschinenfabrik in Mühlenvorstadt built more than 30 river and coastal steamers for the Greifswald and other shipping companies.

From the Hanseatic seaport to the historic museum port

At the end of the 19th century, Greifswald was no longer economically strong and conditions such as the shallow fairway meant that the port of Greifswald could no longer keep up with international trade. This is how the change to an inland port took place - mainly for smaller cargo ships with coastal traffic. When Rostock's overseas port was put into operation in 1960, the port of Greifswald had the important task of transhipping goods that came from Rostock by rail onto inland vessels and transporting them further. When the industrial port was relocated to Ladebow after the fall of the Wall in 1991, the city of Greifswald handed over its port to the museum association.

Historical wooden shipbuilding in the museum shipyard

The last historic shipyard in Greifswald is somewhat hidden on the northern side of the Ryck and was founded in 2001 as a self-help shipyard for owners of historic ships. She was the only one to survive the decline of sailing shipping. The wooden boatyard of boat builder Richard Buchholz has existed since 1911. After the Second World War, it benefited in particular from the rebuilding of the German fishing industry. Until the fall of the Berlin Wall, it was mainly fishing boats that were repaired here. Since 2, the association has been taking care of the preservation of this cultural and historical monument and has expanded the shipyard into a museum and culture shipyard. The old shipyard halls and sheds are a popular meeting place for passionate boat builders and sailors. Visitors can follow the small tour of the site and get an insight into the work of the wooden boat builders.

Towing – then and now

Since the westerly winds presented unfavorable conditions for ships leaving the port, it was not possible to sail with your own power and due to the flat fairway, the freight could usually only be loaded in the fishing village of Wieck. Therefore, a path was laid out on the south side of the Ryck, which was intended to be used for "trekking" or "towing" the ships. From this path the ships were pulled by horse or human power. This method was still practiced into the 20th century, since the motorization of shipping in Greifswald had not progressed far enough. Even towing had its own laws and police ordinances.

Even today there is an annual maritime season opener in April the "Antreideln" takes place. Numerous onlookers admire the hustle and bustle, in which the "White Dune" is pulled by human power the almost five kilometer long way to Wieck.

Header photo: Museum Harbor & Museum Shipyard © Wally Pruß