As far back as 845 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and 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 and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and 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 and 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 and Baltic Sea, quickly made it a major port in Northern Europe. Its trade alliance with Lübeck in 1241 marks the origin and core of the powerful Hanseatic League of trading cities. On 8 November 1266, a contract between Henry III and 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 and the harbour. 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 and canals throughout Hamburg are crossed by some 2,500 bridges, more than London, Amsterdam and Venice put together. Hamburg has more bridges inside its city limits than any other city in the world and more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined. The Köhlbrandbrücke, Freihafen Elbbrücken, and Lombardsbrücke and Kennedybrücke dividing Binnenalster from Aussenalster are important roadways.

Europe’s largest inner-city development in 2008, the HafenCity, will house about 10,000 inhabitants and 15,000 workers. The plan includes designs by Rem Koolhaas and Renzo Piano. The Elbe Philharmonic Hall (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

Warehouse District

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 and other goods including cocoa, coffee, tea, spices and maritime equipment. The is home to a number of interesting museums, the worlds largest model railway exhibition and the Hamburg Dungeon.

Elbe Philharmonic Hall

The Elbe Philharmonica is at present best known for its over exaggerated cost and 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 and on the upper floors luxury appartments.

Warehouse District

Elbe Philharmonic Hall

Landing Bridges


Landing Bridges

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€ and lasts about an hour.


Hamburgs neo-renaissance Rathaus (Town Hall) is the seat of the government of Hamburg and 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 lake Binnenalster and the central railway station. Constructed between 1886 & 1897, the city hall still houses its original governmental functions with the office of the First Mayor of Hamburg and the meeting rooms for Hamburg’s parliament. In front of this massive building is a large market place.

  • Photographic Interest 80%
  • Weather 70%
  • Hospitality 70%
  • Sightseeing 80%
  • Fun Factor 90%
  • Repeat Visit 100%

Can't Wait For The Next Trip

Many don’t risk a visit to Scotland due to the prospect of continuous rain and gales and this is understandable if you are looking to get a sun tan but those of you who do take the plunge braving the elements will be rewarded time and time again with some amazing experiences you can be assured of that. Being regarded as a more than average moist region has other benefits, for instance lush green vegetation, forests, waterfalls and when it does decide to rain then there are some very impressive castles, country manors, museums and tea houses to enjoy, not to forget the larger towns.

Hamburg Harbour Festival 2016

Visit my portfolio of images that I have collected during my 2 day exploration of Hamburgs 827th harbour festival.


Did You Know?

 Hamburg is Germany’s second largest city after Berlin. Its area is seven times that of Paris and twice the size of London. In 2011, Hamburg was chosen as Europe’s Green Capital, an award recognizing the city as the most environmentally friendly city in Europe. Many believe that Venice is the city with the largest number of bridges, but Hamburg actually has the most with more than 2300.

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