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Contact: Elliot Gillies, (212) 724-7783,



                Augsburg, Germany, October 2009 -- The history of the Hanseatic League, a powerful alliance of trading cities that maintained a strong monopoly over wide swaths of Europe in the Middle Ages, is linked indelibly to the Continent’s history.  Today, travelers visiting Münster, Osnabrück and Rostock can explore a  host of  historical and cultural landmarks  that bear testament to the League’s once mighty stronghold.  And a Dream Route, laid out by Historic Highlights of Germany and aptly named "Historic Cities of the Hanseatic League," makes it easy for independent travelers to make plans .  The Dream Route, detailed in a six-page brochure that is downloadable at, offers sightseeing suggestions and historical information.  For those who prefer to work with a tour company, HHOG offers a link to "To Europe" -- -- a firm that offers a seven-day itinerary with train transport, hotels and a day-by-day sightseeing suggestions - rates start at €599 ($881*).

Travelers start in Münster, where prime examples of Hanseatic architecture can be found in Prinzipalmarkt, with its tall narrow houses built by wealthy merchant investors.  The city’s Old Town Hall, or Hall of Peace, dating back to the 14th century, is where the Westphalia Peace Treaty ended the Eighty Years’ War between Spain and the Dutch, as well as the German phase of the Thirty Years’ War.  Other notable sites include the 850-year-old St. Lamberti Church, where the dead bodies of the leaders of the Anabaptist movement were hung on display in three cages, which are still attached to the structure; the 13th-century St. Paul’s Cathedral with its astronomical clock; and the structures of the renowned Baroque master builder Johann Conrad Schlaun, whose masterpiece is a castle that once served as the residence of the Prince Bishop and is now part of the city’s university.

On to Osnabrück -- a member of the Hanseatic League beginning in 1412, as well as a member of the Westphalian Federation of Cities.  Travelers can explore the remains of the old city wall and its watch towers, and a well-preserved Old Town with winding alleys and medieval half-timbered houses.  Known throughout Germany as “The City of Peace,” every October hundreds of school children converge upon the steps of Town Hall, receiving pretzels form the Lord Mayor in celebration of the Peace Treaty of Westphalia.  The Hall of Peace, situated in the city’s Town Hall, features a fascinating display of the rulers who were involved in the Treaty negotiations. Osnabrück’s marketplace offers a stunning array of medieval architecture, and is adjacent to St. Mary’s Church, circa 1300.  Another magnificent structure worth exploring is the 8th-century St. Peter's Cathedral, founded by Charlemagne.

Rostock dates back to 1218 and was one of the earliest members of the Hanseatic League -- and as such the city’s ambiance continues to be reflected in its medieval architecture.  Within two centuries, it had become a formidable seaport with more than 12,000 inhabitants.  A glimpse into life during the Hanseatic period is offered along Wokrenter Strasse, lined with the gabled houses of the League’s wealthy classes.  A series of old warehouses, imposing gates, fortifications and churches provides further evidence of the period, as does the city’s Old Town, where the Hausbaumhaus, one the port’s  few remaining wooden buildings, still stands.  Other attractions include the  15th-century St. Marien Church, and St. Petri Church, with its 355-foot steeple.

Additional information on each city’s offerings and highlights may be found at  Historic Highlights of Germany is a tourism consortium consisting of Augsburg, Erfurt, Freiburg, Heidelberg, Koblenz, Mainz, Münster, Osnabrück, Potsdam, Regensburg, Rostock, Trier, Wiesbaden and Würzburg - cities rich in history and cultural.  Contact Historic Highlights of Germany at

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