Rostock Sets Sail
Every summer, the Hanseatic city of Rostock welcomes more than a million visitors to one of the most popular maritime cultural festivals of the year - the Hanse Sail event held during the second weekend in August.
Enlarge image The "Standart" (Russia, left) and the "Dar Mlodziezy" (Poland, right) cross paths on August 8, 2010 on the Baltic Sea near Warnemünde. (© Maurizio Gambarini dpa/lno)
This year the 22nd international gathering of sailing ships is being staged from August 9 to 12, 2012. Between the city's main harbor and the mouth of the Warnow River, visitors can go aboard many traditional sailing vessels and museum ships and enjoy trips on the Baltic Sea.
The Hanse Sail Rostock will again be reaffirming its reputation as the world's largest meeting of traditional vessels with more than 200 sailing and steam ships taking part. The main attraction of 2012 is doubtless the four-mast barquentine Star Flyer. The 115-meter ship, sailing under the Maltese flag, will be entering Rostock for the first time.
Enlarge image (© Archiv Hanse Sail)
Hanse Sail's popularity can be attributed not only to the great diversity of ships; the Baltic Sea off Warnemünde is also one of the most attractive areas to join in a sailing experience. And about 30,000 visitors take this unusual opportunity to go out to sea. On land Hanse Sail offers a program with around 100 events, including conferences, stage shows and exhibitions, such as pictures by the Russian marine artist Andrej Tron in Rostock Town Hall. France is the partner country at this year's international market.
And a prominent guest will be attending this year's opening: on August 9, Federal President Joachim Gauck will be sounding a large ship's bell and signalling the start of the popular maritime cultural festival. Rostock is the president’s hometown, and during his visit the Hanseatic city will make him an honorary citizen.
Enlarge image Sailboats return to the harbor in Rostock. (© picture-alliance/dpa) Rostock and the Hanse Sail also attract many tourists who are spending their summer holidays on Germany's Baltic Coast. The coastal region is one of the country's most popular travel destinations. According to the Tourist Association of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania, in 2011 around seven million guests came to the region from Germany and abroad. Along the 1,900-kilometer coastline almost 30 resorts offer inviting surroundings for seaside breaks and holidays.
Some of the other places well worth visiting are the old towns of the two Hanseatic cities of Wismar and Stralsund, which are both UNESCO World Heritage sites, and the more than 2,000 lakes of the Mecklenburg Lake District.