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. Rostock is located nearly centrally on Mecklenburg-Vorpommern's Baltic Sea coast. The city is crossed by the Warnow. The seaside part of Rostock, Rostock-Warnemünde, is about 16km to the north of the historic city centre. The west and the south-east are the most densely populated parts of town, the overseas port is in the east of Rostock. Rostock stretches 21.6 kilometres from the Baltic Sea to the south and 19.4 km from east to west.

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 city is home to the annual Hanse Sail festival, during which many large sailing ships and museum vessels are brought out to sea, drawing over 1.5 million visitors.

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