A Rakvere Stamp by sarah
8 January 2009, 18:53
Filed under: estonia | Tags:

Rakvere, EEA 4.40 krooni Estonian stamp, issued in 2002 to commemorate the 700th anniversary of the granting of Lübeck Law to Rakvere; the Law was effectively a municipal constitution that gave power to a council (Rat) of merchants.  The following is from the Estonian Philately site:

On 12 June 1302, King Eric Menved of Denmark granted the Lübeck Charter to the town of Rakvere (German: Wesenberg) in lands then under Danish rule in northern Estonia, giving it the right to independently regulate important aspects of community life.

The stamp features the old aurochs-head coat-of-arms of Rakvere on the background of a 15th century certificate issued by the municipality, with the present coat-of arms shown in the upper right-hand corner.

Many, but evidently not all, cities with Lübeck rights joined the Hansa; there seems to be some discrepancy with regard to Rakvere (or Wesenberg, as it was then known).  It clearly had links with the Hansa, but was it a member?  Information welcome.  Thanks to Trishka for the stamp.


More from Lüneburg by sarah
2 January 2009, 23:19
Filed under: germany | Tags:





Panorama at the Wasserviertel. See also the other Lüneburg cards.

Salz- und Hansestadt Lüneburg by sarah
2 January 2009, 23:11
Filed under: germany | Tags:

Lüneburg lies on the Ilmenau River, a tributary of the Elbe, and in an area rich in salt deposts.  Henry the Lion granted city status in 1189 and with it the monopoly for the extraction of salt in northern Germany.  The salt was in demand for preserving Baltic fish, and Lüneburg prospered, becoming an early member of the Hansa.  The Salzstraße was originally an overland route but the Stecknitz Canal was opened in 1398, allowing transport by Kogge.





Tartu by sarah
2 January 2009, 22:36
Filed under: estonia | Tags:

Tartu in southern Estonia was settled from the 5th century.  The crusading Livonian Knights took the town finally in 1224, establishing a bishopric, and, by the time of an attack by Dmitri of Novgorod (son of Alexander Nevsky) in 1262, a settlement of German merchants and artisans had developed.  Tartu (or Dorpat at the time) joined the Hanseatic League in the 1280s.

Webcam (town hall square)


Der Bremer Roland by sarah
1 January 2009, 22:38
Filed under: germany | Tags:

The Rathaus (1405) and the figure of Roland in Bremen were awarded Unesco WHS status in 2004.  Roland was a figure of chivalric literature in mediæval Europe and in Germany became a defiant symbol of the independence of the growing cities and their prosperity through trade.

An earlier wooden Roland existed in Bremen but was burnt in 1366; the stone figure (5.5m tall) was erected in 1404.  Roland is made of limestone, and in his younger days he was more colourfully painted; and his head is now a replica, with the original reposing in the Focke Museum.

Bremen also has a few odd customs.

Der Bremer Roland

Marktplatz von Bremen mit Rolandstatue

Schnoorgasse, Wasserturm, Marktplatz mit St Petri Dom und Stadtmusikanten

Freie Hansestadt Bremen by sarah
1 January 2009, 22:16
Filed under: germany | Tags:

Bremen, a port city on the Weser, was a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire with long-standing trade links with Norway, England and the Netherlands.  Bremen had a long but uneasy relationship with the Hansa, with four separate periods of membership (1260 to 1285, 1358 to 1427, 1438 to 1563 and 1576 to 1669) and many points of conflict with the other members.

Koggen (cog ships, the workhorses of the Hansa) were built at Bremen, though the Weser was not always navigable for Koggen and cargoes sometimes had to be unloaded to other vessels.  In  1560 the Bremen fleet comprised some 65 vessels.  A well-preserved Bremen Kogge from 1380 was found in 1962 and joined the collection of the Deutsches Schiffahrtsmuseum in Bremerhaven.

See also Der Bremer Roland.  Thanks again to Claus for these splendid cards.

The Town Hall (1405) and Roland (1404)


The Bremen Town Musicians

Evangelische Kirche Unser Lieben Frauen, Bremen

Wrocław/Breslau by sarah
1 January 2009, 20:50
Filed under: poland | Tags:

Ancient Wrocław was founded on an island in the Odra/Oder, at the intersection of two trade routes:  the Amber Road (Bernsteinstraße/Jantarowy Szlak) linking the Baltic to the Adriatic, and the east-west Via Regia linking the Rhine with Silesia.  It flourished as a trade town and by the 14th century, markets were held on Thursday and Saturdays and there were three annual trade fairs, on St John’s Day, St Elizabeth’s Day and in October.  Merchants came from the Baltic, the Netherlands, Germany and Italy, and furs and hemp from the east were traded for finished textiles and luxuries from the west.

Wrocław was a member of the Hanseatic League from 1387 to 1515, although the city did not derive much benefit from the association and its active participation ended in 1474 as the Hansa’s influence declined and independent trade circles were formed, with connections to Leipzig, Nuremberg and Augsburg (none of which had been in the Hansa.)

St Elizabeth's Church, Wrocław (14th c)