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Town walk in Stubbekøbing
- Read about this before your walk
Hist hvor sundet slår en bugt ligger der en by så smukt (Where the sound winds there is a town so beautiful). In a beautiful area, in one of the southern sounds of Denmark, only 5 km from the Baltic Sea one of the eldest towns in Denmark is situated.
-The town is called Stubbekøbing.
The town is build on a tongue of land or stump, which has limited the former southern nature harbor. The oldest history of the town is not known, but the area and the nature harbor are described several times in the Denmark chronicle of Saxo.
The former nature harbor at Tyreholmen is mentioned as “The Falster harbor” and it is the place where Svend Tveskæg probably was caught of the Wends. The town was at that time a trading center and the nature harbor had a function as fishing town with probably smaller buildings.
About 1160 the present limestone church was build. The church can hold about 500 people, and thus it is a certain proof that already at that time there were many people in the area. The church is the only historic evidence of the medieval grandness of the town and with its position on the highest place of the stump, it became a central rendezvous through the history.
In the old quarter there are 2 parallel streets connected with transverse streets. The two streets are build so that they follow the old coast lines towards south and north. Behind the church towards east Møllegade, Grønnegade, Ringgårdsstræde, Farverstræde, Klokkerplads lie, which must be described as the oldest streets, whereas Søndergade, Vestergade, Havnegade, Bagergade and Apotekerstræde, which lie towards west of the church are build later on. Together the mentioned streets form the center of the town.
The eastern part of the town has been limited by water to all sides, and the later build watermill dam made it possible to move towards east on the soil. A big part of the town is today dammed fjord, which is filled with soil through times. The old watermill dam lies in continuation of Møllegade, from Møllestræde and to the small river Fribrødreå, which runs past the last one of the watermills of the town.
If you want a walk through the town independently, you have to start on the market place in front of the church. It is possible to walk around the church and see the different extensions, which the church through times has experienced. The oldest part are the limestone buildings from about the year 1160 and the red extensions of large bricks have subsequent been build in the Middle Ages.
The church inside is also worth a visit. The church is build in roman style as a roman basilica building with high nave and 2 side aisles. The church is decorated with frescos from the 15th century. The pulpit, altarpiece etc. of the church appear as unique woodcarver works and have to be seen. The Greenland missionary Hans Egede was attatched to the town and the church, where his son in law was priest. There is a memorial plate in the church about Hans Egede behind the pulpit.
At the market place there are more for the town impressing buildings. Towards north the town hall which is build according to the drawings of the famous architect Wilhelm Tvede in 1859-1860. The town hall is beautifully situated at Havnegade, and at the time of the construction there was a magnificent view to Grønsund. The brick details of the building are unique and do not only mark the building, but gives the market place look of a certain quality.
The market place and the vicarage
On the market place you also find the vicarage which is build in 1862 and the post office which is build in 1850 as the school of that time. The post office differs from the other big buildings in the market place as it is plastered and painted. When the post office was build it was the biggest building on the market place, and the style was adapted to the town milieu of that time with the limewashed houses.
There are not many timber frame buildings left in the town. However there are some nice preserved timber frame buildings in Vestergade. The oldest house in the town dates back to the year 1700 and has an impressive interior with big paneled doors with casings which are well worth a castle. The doors do possibly also originate from the in the 18th century demolished Nykøbing Castle.
The town has like most of the market towns in Denmark been devastated by wars and town fires in the last 100 years, but the last big fire of the town was in 1771. Many houses were registered after the fire, and many others were rebuild, and it is not known with garanty, if there are more older houses in the town center, which are before the big fire in the year of 1771. Unfortunately for the town the timber frame, which consists of oak tree, has a lifetime of usually about 200 years. The timber frame buildings which are preserved date back to about the year of 1800. In the many backyards of the town there is timber frame though in a very poor state.
Town walk in the old town
A town walk through the old town quarter must lead through Grønnegade, Klokkerplads, down through Møllegade, down through Møllegade to Tyreholmen, where the old harbor was situated in the Viking period.
Follow the road past Tyreholmen to Ringgårdsstræde which was the old Havnegade up through Ringgårdsstræde where the upper part probably is the oldest street in the town. The street is probably build as a building place road from the harbor to the churchyard. Here the limestones to the church were transported from the harbor an up to the building place in about 1160. If you follow the road through Møllegade you come back to the market place.
The streets form “Town rooms”. Town milieus where the houses, which encircle “the Rooms” of the town, have very variable heights.
There is no doubt that most people feel well in the “Town rooms” which are formed with the lowest houses.
In the small towns the small houses give a good emotional effect with fresh air, good acoustics and a pleasant light. The houses do not seem to have a heavy effect on the streets, and there are many sunshine hours, where the sun heats the facades of the houses and the street paving. It gives a heat accumulation which lasts for a long time and pleases those who want a walk in the evening.
If you should doubt where you are just remember that the church is situated highest in the center of the town. If you are in the eastern part of the town, just go up, and you will return to the church.
Grønnegade and Møllegade have several nice restored town houses. You do not have to walk pretty far before you come to a building with gate entrance, a so-called gatehouse. These remind you of former trades, where the gates were the entrance to the behind lying yards with back houses.
These buildings were town farms, which housed trades such as grocer’s shop, horse and cattle sellers, butcher, brewery, potter, pipemaker, handicraft etc. Unfortunately all of these old firms are no part of the town picture today.
There have been experiments with cultivation of tobacco in 1713 on the south slope down to the old harbor. Here was light and heat and a reflecting sun from the water in the milldam. The tobacco was praised and should have been just as good as foreign tobacco.
The town did earlier have more storehouses for corn and other merchandise, but these are unfortunately torn down or built into buildings. Some of these can still be found in Møllegade, Skibshandlerstræde, which is a side street to Grønnegade, and one of them can be seen on the parking lot behind Netto.
Besides “the gate houses” you find the small one family houses. Most of them have been standing with timber frame towards the street, but these are restored and the timber frame facades are replaced by brick build facades.
You may not forget that Stubbekøbing is a fishing town, and that the fishing and trade have been the trade basis of the town for more than 1000 years. A walk down to the harbor must be necessary if you rightly can say that you have visited the town.
The harbor lies with a big harbor square with paving stones. The pavement is laid in a nice curved pattern. At the harbor there is a harbor environment, where corn storehouses, silos, stones which together with the ships which call at the harbor build a cozy environment.
The ferry to Bogø sails during summer for the sake of the tourists and gives together with the many yachts the harbor in the town a cozy atmosphere.
There are good parking lots in the center and Stubbekøbing is a good tourist goal for young and old, who want to experience a cozy old market town, surrounded by green areas with an active trade and yacht harbor.
By: Bjørn Nielsen