The Lübecker Salzspeicher are six historical buildings, wholly made of brick, that used to function as salt storehouses from 1579 on. Salt was mined around Lüneburg and brought to Lübeck over the Stecknitz Canal.
From there, it was shipped around the Baltic region. This trade was one of the reasons why Lübeck was so influential in the Hanseatic League.
The first thing that crosses my mind when I think about Lübeck is these buildings. I don’t remember how I learned about them, but I know it had something to do with the movie Nosferatu, the one from 1922, directed by F. W. Murnau.
Since I moved to Berlin, I wanted to find an excuse to go to Lübeck, and I found one in November 2018. Then I spent a couple of days walking around the city with a friend and a camera, taking pictures of everything I found interesting.
And, of course, one of these places was the Lübecker Salzspeicher.
The History of Lübecker Salzspeicher
Salt was always an essential part of the trade in Lübeck, and it seems like, as early as the 1200s, there were salt storage houses on the left bank of the Trave River. Salt made Lübeck powerful in the Hanseatic League, and they had to store it somewhere before it was placed into ships and sold around the Baltic Sea.
The salt from Lüneburg, another Hanseatic town between Hamburg and Lübeck, came to town with carts over the Old Salt Road and the Stecknitz Canal. Then, the salt was stored and shipped around Scandinavia, where it was used to preserve fish and enable the herring trade. Salt was mainly needed in Norway and the Scania region in Sweden.
From there, it allowed herring to trade inland, and it was the primary source of wealth for Lübeck for a long time.
Through time, salt became less important for the city, and the buildings were used to store different products. From cloth to grain and wood, a lot went through these buildings. During the Third Reich, one of them was even used as a Hitler Youth center.
Nowadays, the structures are used by clothing shops, and it seems like they have been there since the Second World War.
Finding the Lübecker Salzspeicher is really simple. If you arrive in Lübeck by train, you must enter the city via the Holstentor, the west city gate. After the city gate, you will see the salt storage buildings on your right side and the Holstenbrücke in front of you.
This bridge is the historical connection, from the Middle Ages, between the seaport and the inland port in the city. Also, it’s the oldest fixed bridge over the Trave River.
Wallstraße 1, 23560
Lübeck – Germany