Lychen in the Uckermark region in the northwest of Brandenburg was founded in 1248 by Margrave Johann I of Brandenburg on an island surrounded by four lakes which had already been inhabited long before. The castle of that time has long disappeared; it likely stood at the place of todays market square and town hall. During the 17th century Lychen was first destroyed during the Thirty Years' War and then again by a large fire. For centuries the woods surrounding Lychen were the basis of the prosperity of the town as timber was sold to Berlin and Hamburg. At the beginning of the 20th century the foundation of the sanatorium marked the beginning of the spa tradition of Lychen. Until 1939 Lychen was one of the most popular summer resorts of Berlin. The sanatorium and the spa were closed by the Nazis who then began to conduct their ill-famed 'medical' experiments on prisoners of the concentration camp of Ravensbrück. After World War II the former sanatorium was used by the Red Army. Since 1997 new uses for the former spa buildings are sought.
The town church Sankt Johannes [centre] was built in the 13th century in Gothic style and today is
Lychen's oldest existing building.