One of the oldest parts of Bremen is the medieval district of Schnoor, which is clustered with historic houses that were once inhabited by merchants and fishermen. Today it’s renowned for its handicraft shops and cafes, making it a popular spot to stroll in the city and discover its rich and storied history.

In the Hanseatic city of Bremen, rich merchants tended to settle in the Obernstraße (Upper Street) while poorer merchants and fishermen settled in Schnoor. During the 10th century, thatched cottages were established on the island between the Weser and Balge rivers, with the district highly susceptible to flooding. An old wall and round tower dating to the 13th century are still visible today, together with the Gothic-style St. John’s Church, which was constructed on top of a Franciscan abbey established around the same period.

The historic district of Schnoor came under official heritage conservation in 1973 and has since emerged as one of Bremen’s most atmospheric destinations. Many of the houses that are visible today date to the 17th and 18th centuries, although the oldest were built as far back as the 15th century.

Of particular note is the Schifferhaus in the street of Stavendamm, which has remained largely preserved in its original condition both inside and out. Another prominent building is the Landherrnamt that dates back to 1856 and was designed in a neo-Romanesque style by Alexander Schröder. Its natural-colored sandstone exterior once housed the state government before being transformed into classrooms for a local Catholic school.