Half Tower – Lübeck, Germany - Atlas Obscura

Half Tower

A tilted half-timbered house from 1672 is built into a salvaged segment of a medieval wall. 


Lübeck, Germany, is known for its medieval and brick Gothic architecture. Bits of the city’s medieval heritage are still scattered throughout the city. Even remnants of its former 13th-century wall still remain intact after centuries of neglect and even a major demolition effort.

In 1672, a clever architect took advantage of one particular slice of the derelict, unused fortification and built a half-timbered house within one of its hollow towers. The wall curves around the back of the house, grasping it in a brick embrace. The combination of the house and medieval tower make an usual, but oddly coherent, whole. Though the red and white house is tilted at a wonky angle, it’s still standing today.

The tower that encases the back of the house is a half tower, meaning the structure was hollow. It was designed without a back wall to make it difficult for assailants to climb over, since those who tried would be forced to balance atop its narrow rim.

The house is located on a street called An der Mauer, which translates to “on the wall.” The medieval wall stretched along the street, located along the southeastern edge of the Old Town, until most of it was finally torn down in 1884.

Know Before You Go

The house is about a mile from the train station.

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