The port and the accompanying shipping and commercial trade in important goods and commodities quickly grew: wines from Spain, Italy and France, furs and timber from Russia, hides from Norway as well as fabrics, silk and wool, but primarily fish and spices, wax, malt and salt. Trade across the Baltic Sea and with the hinterland flourished. The heyday of the Hanseatic League had begun, turning Wismar into a centre of wealth. Both beautiful and powerful, it worked its way up to become one of the significant towns in the Hanseatic League.
Testaments to the economic and social upswing of the time can still be found today in the impressive religious structures in the brick Gothic style, the old town walls, the Wassertor (The Water Gatehouse), the medieval townhouses and the Wasserkunst (pumping station) in the market square - an imposing form dating to 1602 that replaced the simple fountain on the site. By the 16th century however the Hanseatic League had lost its former prominence.