Rostock is the largest city in the north German state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rostock is located on the Warnow river; the quarter of Warnemünde 12 km north of the city centre lies directly on the coast of the Baltic Sea.
One of the most picturesque places in Rostock is the Neuer Markt (New Market Square), with the Town Hall (originally built in the 13th century in Brick Gothic style, but extensively transformed in the 18th century, with the addition of a Baroque facade and a Banqueting Hall. The square also preserved six original, beautifully restored, gable houses from the 15th and 16th centuries. (The rest of the old houses in Hanseatic style that once bordered the square were destroyed in an Allied air-raid in 1942.) The 15th-century Kerkhofhaus (at Große Wasserstraße, behind the Town Hall) is considered the best preserved brick Gothic house in Rostock.
St. Mary`s Church Marienkirche, on Ziegenmarkt, is an imposing Brick Gothic church. Built in the 13th century, it was enlarged and modified at the end of the 14th century into the present cross-shaped basilica. The huge tower was not completed until the end of the 18th century. Inside there is an astronomical clock built in 1472 by Hans Düringer. The main pedestrian precinct is Kröpeliner Straße, that runs east from the Neuer Markt to the 14th-century Kröpeliner Tor, a former town gate. The main buildings of Rostock University lie at Universitätsplatz, near the middle of the street, in front of the lively fountain of zest for life (Brunnen der Lebensfreude).
The Kloster St Katharinen (Convent of St. Catherine), an old Franciscan monastery founded in 1243, and extended several times during the 14th and 15th centuries. Now used as the seat of the Academy of Music and Theatre (HMT-Rostock). The Brick Gothic Nikolaikirche (St. Nicholas Church), which is the oldest church in Rostock, built in mid-13th century. Heavily damaged during World War II and subsequently restored, the building is now used as an exhibition center and concert hall, due to its outstanding acoustics. Some parts of the medieval city wall, with four town gates, still remain.