Stralsund is a small city of 57000 inhabitants in the region of Western Pomerania on Germany's Baltic sea coast, opposite the island of Rügen, 200km north of Berlin and 220km northeast of Hamburg. It's a beautiful city whose historic core is surrounded along the south and west by a large moat, the Knieperteich and on its northern side by the Strelasund sound. The centre of the historic core is the Alter Markt square, which contains a number of brick gothic buildings, such as for instance the St Nicholas church and the town hall. In 1293 Stralsund became a member of the Hanseatic League and subsequently prospered from the commerce in the Baltic sea, with 300 ships under its flag. After the 30 years war Stralsund became part of Sweden for almost 200 years, returning to Germany at the beginning of the 19th century. During World War II Stralsund was partly destroyed by British and American bombing raids. Following the German reunification, since the 1990s a large number of historic buildings, which had been neglected during the Communist period, were restored. The historic core of Stralsund has been a UNESCO world heritage site since 2002.
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