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SCHWERIN, two towns of Germany:

(1) in the Prussian province of Posen, at the confluence of the Obra and the Warthe, 28 m. by rail E. of Custrin. Pop. (1005) 6768. Its principal manufactures are cigars, furniture, bricks and starch. By river a brisk trade is carried on in agricultural produce.

(2) the capital of the grand duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin, prettily situated at the S.W. corner of the lake of Schwerm (14 m. long and 3! m. broad), 129 m. by rail N.W. of Berlin, and 20 m. S. of the Baltic. Pop. (1905) 41,638. The town is closely surrounded and hemmed in by a number of lakelets, with high and well-wooded banks, and the hilly environs are occupied by meadows, woods and pretty villas. The old and new towns of Schwerin were only united as one city in 1832; and since that date the suburb of St Paul and another outer suburb, known as the Vorstadt, have grown up. Though Schwerin is the oldest town in Mecklenburg, its aspect is comparatively modern, a fact due to destructive fires, which have swept away most of the ancient houses. The most conspicuous of the many fine buildings is the ducal palace, a huge irregularly pentagonal structure with numerous towers, built in 1844-1857 in the French Renaissance style. It stands on a small round island between Castle Lake and the lake of Schwerin, formerly the site of a Wendish fortress and of a later medieval castle, portions of which have been skilfully incorporated with the present building. The older and much simpler palace; the opera house, rebuilt after a fire in 1882; the government buildings, erected in 1825-1834 and restored in 1865 after a fire; and the museum, in the Greek style, finished in 1882, comprising a fine collection of paintings of the 17th century Dutch school; all stand in the " old garden," an open space at the end of the bridge leading to the new palace. Among the other secular buildings are the palace of the heir-apparent, built in 1779 and restored in 1878, the large arsenal, the ducal mews, the ducal library containing 180,000 volumes, the town hall, the artillery barracks and the military hospital. The cathedral was originally consecrated in 1248, though the present building a brick structure in the Baltic Gothic style, with an unfinished tower dates for the most part from the 15th century. Among other religious edifices are St Paul's church, a Roman Catholic church and a synagogue. Schwerin is rich in educational institutions, which include a classical school, a veterinary college and a technical school. Since 1837 Schwerin has been once more the residence of the grand duke, and the seat of government, a fact which has had considerable influence on the character of the town and the tone of its society. The chief industry is the making of furniture, and there are also some manufactures of dyes and soap.

Schwerin is mentioned as a Wendish stronghold in 1018, its name (Zwarin or Swarin) being a Slavonic word equivalent to " game-preserve." The Obotrite prince Niclot, whose statue is placed above the portal of the palace as the ancestor of the present reigning family, had his residence here. The town, found in 1161 by Henry the Lion in opposition to this pagan fortress, received civic rights in 1166. From 1170 to 1624 it gave name to a bishopric; and it was also the capital of the duchy of Schwerin, which forms the western part of the grand-duchy of Mecklenburg-Schwerin. Destructive fires, the hardships of the Thirty Years' War, and the removal of the court to Ludwigslust in 1756 seriously depressed the town. It owes its revival and many of its chief buildings to the grand-duke Paul Frederick, to whom a statue by Rauch was erected in 1859.

See Fromm, Chronik der Haupt- und Residenzstadt Schwerin (Schwerin, 1863, revised and continued by G. Quade, 1892); G. Quade, Vaterlandskunde (Wismar, 1894); and Worl, Fuhrer durch Schwerin (1905).

Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)

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