Eight questions for...

Beatrice Busjan, curator of the Municipal Historical Museum of the Hanseatic town of Wismar

When I visit the World Heritage Site of Wismar, what should I definitely not miss?

The market place with its "Wasserkunst" pavilion, the town hall and the "Alter Schwede", the restaurant in a Gothic warehouse. Also the port - with its arches, water-gate, storage buildings, and "Baumhaus" gallery. St. Nicholas Church with its beautiful decor, St. Mary's Church with its exhibition - including a 3D presentation - on the Gothic brick construction. St. George's Church, whose rebuilding, completed in 1990, has become known as the "Miracle of Wismar." Then there's the Fürstenhof, the armory, the Church of the Holy Spirit, the "Frische Grube" street as well as the Krämerstrasse and Scheuerstrasse streets.

What do you particularly like here?

The sudden change from big to small, from close to wide open; narrow alleys lead you from the grand market place to the medieval docks where the town suddenly opens up to the Wismar Bay on the Baltic, with its impressive trade houses and cramped living quarters.

Do you have an insider tip?

To take a break while exploring the town, you should head for the courtyard of the Church of the Holy Spirit. More athletic people could take a tour of the St. Nicholas Church's vaults or the spire of St. Mary's - both of which offer very unusual views. Romantics should definitely experience Wismar at night, at which time the Fürstenhof - which used to be the wedding palace of the Mecklenburg dukes - has a very special charm.

What impressed you most during your first visit here?

The old town quarter around St. Nicholas Church with the Lindenallee on the south side and the "Frische Grube" with its imposing Schabbelhaus really impressed me when I first visited Wismar.

What's the nicest time of year to visit?

Just come when you have enough time. Because every time of year has its attractions and festivities. In spring there are the "Wismar Herring Days." In summer life moves outdoors to the streets and squares. In the fall, on "Open Heritage Day," many inhabitants open their homes and gardens to visitors. And in the winter St. Nicholas arrives in Wismar by boat from the Baltic Sea.

What else should I see here?

In Wendorf, a district to the west of the old town you can enjoy a kind of seaside resort atmosphere. From the "Seebrücke" (sea bridge) you have a beautiful view of Wismar Bay and the old town. The old park-like graveyard of Wismar, south of the old town with its old trees and chapels is also well worth a visit. And in fall 2012, the "Phantechnikum" science museum will open its doors with an innovative exhibition on the technical history of Mecklenburg.

Visiting World Heritage Sites means working up an appetite. What regional specialty should I try?

Fish, bought fresh at the harbor. Sekt sparkling wine from Wismar Hanseatic winery.

And which World Heritage Site would you like to see one day?

In Germany, the Garden Kingdom of Dessau-Görlitz. In Europe I would like to go back to Carcassonne in France and to Sabbioneta in Italy. And if I were to chose a worldwide destination: I've never seen it, but I would be very interested to see historical Kyoto in Japan.

Beatrice Busjan

was born and grew up in Münster in North Rhine-Westphalia.

In 1991, the art historian moved to Mecklenburg-Vorpommern to work for the state's cultural heritage department in Schwerin. She has been living and working in Wismar since 1994. She is the curator of the Hanseatic town's historical museum.


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