…Inspiration for my Favorite Video Game and more!
When you first see the six simple, yet stately gabled buildings on the bank of the Upper Trave river in Lubeck, Germany, you probably wouldn’t guess their original purpose. Built in the 16th through 18th centuries, these buildings were originally warehouses built to store salt, the key to the Hanseatic League’s power and wealth.
I have been known to take some time out from travel, work, and blogging to play computer games. I know, shock all around! But since most of my gaming is related in one way or another to work or travel, I don’t feel too guilty. In fact, one of my favorite games of all is “Patrician.” In this simulation game, the player assumes the role of a young trader during the height of the Hanseatic League’s power in the Baltic and North Sea. The trader travels from town to town along the coast selling and buying the different commodities the towns may specialize in. As far as simulations go, it is fairly accurate for the period and draws heavily on political and economic issues of the time. It has been exciting for me to visit in real life some of these towns where I have traded tons of salt, beer, fur, and wool as a character in the game.
One of the places I’ve enjoyed the most is Lübeck, once the capital of the Hanseatic League, now a bustling major sea-port in northern Germany. We stopped in for a short visit during our travels to Denmark and Norway and were impressed with the renovated brick Gothic buildings from the Hanseatic period. The city has done a fabulous job restoring and repurposing the gabled, salt warehouses along the canal and the Holstentor, though no longer the entrance to the city as it was long ago, stands again in all of its proud glory, a reminder of the riches and wealth that used to flow abundantly from this northern port. The ornate decorations and construction of the simple warehouses denotes the importance the salt trade had for the Hanseatic League. It was the wealth from salt that helped make Lübeck the Queen of the Hanseatic League.