As far back as 845 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe & destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided & occupied Hamburg in 1201 & in 1214. The Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires, most notably in 1284.
In 1189, by imperial charter, Frederick I “Barbarossa” granted Hamburg the status of an Imperial Free City & tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea. This charter, along with Hamburg’s proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea & Baltic Sea, quickly made it a major port in Northern Europe. Its trade alliance with Lübeck in 1241 marks the origin & core of the powerful Hanseatic League of trading cities. On 8 November 1266, a contract between Henry III & Hamburg’s traders allowed them to establish a hanse in London.
During WWII Hamburg suffered severe damage from Allied air raids which devastated much of the city & harbour area. The raids, codenamed Operation Gomorrah by the RAF, killed at least 42,600 civilians.
In December 2006, there were 1,754,182 people registered as living in Hamburg. Like elsewhere in Germany, Standard German is spoken in Hamburg, but as typical for northern Germany, the original language of Hamburg is Low German, usually referred to as Hamborger Platt (German Hamburger Platt).
The many streams, rivers & canals throughout Hamburg are crossed by some 2,500 bridges, more than London, Amsterdam & Venice put together. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world & more canals than Amsterdam & Venice combined. The Köhlbrandbrücke, Freihafen Elbbrücken, & Lombardsbrücke & Kennedybrücke dividing Binnenalster from Aussenalster are important roadways.
Europe’s largest inner-city development in 2008, the HafenCity, will house about 10,000 inhabitants & 15,000 workers. The plan includes designs by Rem Koolhaas & Renzo Piano. The Elbe Philharmonic (Elbphilharmonie), expected to be completed by December 2016, will house concerts in a building on top of an old warehouse, designed by the Swiss architects Herzog & de Meuron.
Highlights Of My Trip
No visit to Hamburg is complete without a walk around the between 1883 to 1927 erected Warehouse District (Speicherstadt), the worlds largest complex of warehouses that was built as a free zone to transport all manner of merchandise without having to pay customs. From 2005, the main companies in the Speicherstadt handled one-third of the world’s carpet production & other goods including cocoa, coffee, tea, spices & maritime equipment. This is also home to a number of interesting museums, the worlds largest model railway exhibition & the Hamburg Dungeon.
The Elbe Philharmonic is at present best known for its over exaggerated cost & ever extended deadlines for its initial opening. On 2 April 2007, the foundation stone was laid in the warehouse Kaispeicher A. The initial cost of completion by 2010 was estimated at around €241 million. In 2008 the cost rose to €450 million. In December 2014 construction work was scheduled to end in October 2016 at a cost of around €789 million, with an announced opening date on 12th January 2017. The concert hall will also house a hotel & on the upper floors luxury apartments.
This is where the main harbour action is to be seen. From the landing bridges tourists from all over the world flock here to take a cruise around the massive Hamburg docklands. A trip will set you back around 18-20€ & lasts about an hour.
Elbe Philharmonic Hall
Hamburgs neo-renaissance Rathaus (Town Hall) is the seat of the government of Hamburg & as such, the seat of one of Germany’s 16 state parliaments. The Rathaus is located in the old part of town in the city center, near the Binnenalster Lake & the central railway station. Constructed was between 1886 & 1897, the city hall still houses its original governmental functions with the office of the First Mayor of Hamburg & the meeting rooms for Hamburg’s parliament. In front of this massive building is a large market place.
- Photographic Interest 80%
- Weather 70%
- Sightseeing 100%
- Fun Factor 80%
- Repeat Visit 100%
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Did You Know?
Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city after Berlin. Its area is seven times that of Paris & twice the size of London. In 2011, Hamburg was chosen as Europe’s Greenest Capital, an award recognizing the city as the most environmentally friendly city in Europe.