The house doors on the Darß are a popular postcard motif and a colourful testimony of ancient traditions. They stand as a reminder of the golden age of sailing on the Darß in the middle the 19th century. Discover these treasures and their hidden meaning on a stroll through Prerow.
Immediately striking to anyone who comes to the Darß: the richly decorated, colourful front doors, lovingly carved with tulips, suns, and anchors and often brushed with rich marine varnish. But where did they come from?
Between 1790 and 1850, seafaring flourished in the region and locals wanted to show their pride in their seafaring traditions. The family of a successful sailor could afford a decorative front door. Well-travelled sailors were also familiar with trends in the wide world and brought some of them home with them.
The result was an exciting mix of styles from ancient Darß traditions to exotic patterns, columns and meanders. Many designs also include a hidden, mystical symbolism. Scaly geometric ornaments were supposed to ward off lightning strikes; tulips, the sun and flowers stand for vitality, fertility and the light. The threshold of one’s home of course had to be protected against all that was dark and evil that would want to enter.
The economically thriving region attracted craftsmen from all over; high-end joinery was in demand here in the Darß and the tradespeople were well paid. Even those who were less well-off would paint their doors, using leftover emulsion from boats being painted down at the harbour. Around 1880, the doors slowly began to go out of style and the seafaring was in decline. Today, there are once again joiners in the area who are bringing the colourful tradition back to life. These doors have even made their way to other parts of Germany as exclusive souvenirs of time spent in Prerow.