In 2002, the Hanseatic city of Wismar became a UNESCO World Heritage Site, together with Stralsund. Wismar is distinguished by its historic harbour, mighty brick churches, gabled houses and the market square. The historic town centre has retained its medieval ground-plan almost unchanged and bears witness to the layout of the maritime trading towns under Lübeck law. The preserved building fabric with numerous individual monuments testifies to the political importance and wealth of the Baltic cities in the Middle Ages.

Another characteristic feature is the large number of medieval, mostly gabled town houses. One of these is the house at Mecklenburger Str. 12, which dates from 1295 and has a cycle of murals from the first half of the 14th century.

The Evangelical Lutheran Parish Church of St. Nikolai in Wismar has been a member of the European Route of Brick Gothic since 2010.