The royal seat
It was not until the ducal court came to Schwerin in 1358 Mecklenburg Castle that the city’s economic and cultural influence increased. Schwerin became the seat of the duchy or the Grand Duchy (from 1815) Mecklenburg-Schwerin, royal seat .
The medieval castle was expanded into a palace in the 16th and 17th centuries. The current castle on Castle Island, a pentagonal building decorated with many towers and turrets, shows stylistic elements from the Gothic, Baroque and Renaissance periods. The current shape of the castle dates back to the years 1843 to 1857. It was rebuilt according to plans by DEMMLER using ideas from GOTTFRIED SEMPER (1803–1879). The building, which was created as a result of the radical redesign in the middle of the 19th century, is one of the most interesting creations of historicism in Germany. A special increase is achieved through the integration into the excellent scenic situation. The castle garden is a park on the castle island according to the design plans of LENNÈS (1789–1866) with valuable trees and an impressive view from the orangery of Lake Schwerin.
Today the castle is the seat of the state parliament of Mecklenburg-Vorprommern and its museum part is also open to the public.
The castle garden on the mainland, adjoining the castle island to the south, with its baroque park with the Kreuzkanal, the garden sculptures PERMOSER (1651–1732) and its terraced cascades dates from the 18th century and was expanded in the 19th century at the suggestion of LENNÈ.
The castle bay is bounded by the Marstall peninsula. The Marstall with its riding arena was also built according to DEMMLER’s plans and today houses the state ministries and the state technical museum.
Large representative buildings shape the image of the city center, which extends northwest of the castle island. The decisive factor was the Grand Duke’s wish for representation. At great expense, great buildings were built within a few years that decisively changed the face of the city. The collegiate building in Schlossstrasse (today the state government), the facade of the town hall on the market and the new building of the court theater come from DEMMLERS Feder. His merit is also the edging of the Pfaffenteich and the construction of the arsenal.
The focal point for the cityscape is the old garden, which is located opposite the castle island and was once a courtly kitchen garden and parade ground. Significant representative buildings rise from it. Mecklenburgisches Staatstheater – a new building from 1882 to 1886 – State Museum, the high Victory Column and the Old Palace make the Old Garden one of the most beautiful places in Northern Germany.
According to computerminus, the current state government buildings in Schlossstrasse used to be government buildings and representative buildings of the Grand Duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. They emerged after 1830 with classical forms and were initially strongly influenced by DEMMLER’s teacher KARL FRIEDRICH SCHINKEL (1781–1841).
The old town is represented by the architecturally interesting building ensemble on the market. In addition to beautiful gabled houses, this includes the old town baroque town hall with a passage to the Schlachtermarkt behind it, the classical columned building and the old cathedral courtyard.
The old town hall, destroyed several times by fires, was covered in 1835 by a facade in the Tudor style, an architectural style named after the English Tudor dynasty. From the tower of the cathedral it is visible that several original gabled houses are “hidden” behind this facade. The graceful column building, the so-called New Building,on the market is a building between late baroque and classicism. It was originally built as a market hall and now serves as an exhibition building. In 1995, in the 800th year of the death of the cathedral and city founder, HEINRICH DER LÖWE, a cast of the Braunschweig lion was placed in front of the new building.
The cathedral rises behind the north side of the market emerged. The Gothic cathedral is one of the most magnificent buildings in North German brick Gothic and one of the few surviving witnesses of medieval architecture in Schwerin. The first cathedral was opened as early as 1171 in the presence of HEINRICH THE LION. In 1228 a new Romanesque brick church was consecrated. The current cathedral has been built gradually since 1270. After its Romanesque predecessor, the 100 m long Gothic building was erected as a basilica with a three-aisled transept until 1416. The main tower, a mighty neo-Gothic tower, was not completed until 1892. Inside the cathedral, a Gothic cross altar (around 1440), bronze tombstones (late 14th century) and Gothic baptismal fonts are particularly valuable. In good weather, you have an impressive panoramic view of Schwerin and its surroundings from the tower of the cathedral.
The old town is also shaped to a large extent by Mecklenburgstraße, which is partly part of the pedestrian zone. It is a shopping center in the city center and invites you to linger with many restaurants. Mecklenburgstraße leads north to Pfaffenteich. This is where the arsenal building is located, which was built in the Tudor Gothic style and which now houses the Ministry of the Interior. The Pfaffenteich separates the Schelfstadt in the east from the Paulsstadt in the west.
The construction of the Schelfstadt began in 1705. Its building stock hardly goes back to the 17th century. The Schelfstadt is characterized by its countless half-timbered houses, some of which have been extensively restored. The Schelfkirche on the Schelfmarkt was built from 1710. It is the earliest and most important baroque town church in Mecklenburg. It has been preserved in its baroque complex.
After the construction of the Schelfstadt, years of stagnation followed. In the middle of the 18th century, the dukes moved their court to Ludwigslust for 80 years. In 1837 it was relocated and only then did the urban expansion begin. The new construction of the Paulsstadt began in 1838. The Paulskirche was built in it around 1865 as a neo-Gothic brick building.
Despite the construction of Schelfstadt and Paulsstadt, the city only grew slowly beyond its old borders. A growth impulse for the city arose with the opening of the rail connection to Hagenow-Land in 1847, which made it possible to connect to the existing Hamburg-Berlin railway line. However, there was no direct connection to other large cities during the following decades. In contrast, the direct road connection in the direction of Güstrow / Rostock created in 1842 with the construction of Paulsdamm through the Schweriner See was of great advantage for the city.
In the middle of the 19th century, the first smaller industrial companies emerged and typical tenement districts developed. The population grew steadily, and in 1919 the city had 43,000 residents.