July 9, 2015
The Hamburg Port Authority building can be seen behind the Jungfernbrucke. This iron bridge is one of hundreds spanning the city's numerous canals.
Gateway to the World
Hamburg is the premiere port of Germany, and one of the largest in the world. With a long history as a fiercely independent centre of trade and culture, today Hamburg is one of Germany's most sought after cities to live in. For my part, I'd love to move there as soon as I can.
Like many German cities, Charlemagne left his fingerprints on Hamburg by having a castle built on the Elbe in 808 CE to defend his realm against Viking and Slavic raids. This castle would one day form the nucleus of the city of Hamburg. Apparently the spot was chosen appropriately as Viking and Slavic raiders attacked and destroyed the city a number of times in the following centuries.
Seen from the Jungfernbrucks is Katharinekirch. Dating from the 12th Century this is one of the oldest buildings in the city. It was mostly destroyed during the firestorm in 1943 and restored in the 1950s.
Here we see one of the more dramatic changes to Hamburg's skyline over the past century. Located on the Kaiserquai in Speicherstadt, the warehouse here has been replaced by the Elbphilharmonie, set to open in 2017. This unique building will be home to Hamburg's philharmonic and, when completed, be the tallest inhabited structure in the city.
An interior courtyard of Hamburg's Rathaus. This is the seat of the city government, and as Hamburg is one of Germany's self-governing states, the state government as well.
A war-time photo of the Reesendammbrucke in the heart of the city. The German invasion of Russia had only begun weeks before.
Another photo from the summer of 1941 of the Jungferstieg. Life appears to be continuing normally and it is difficult to wrap one's head around the fact that in only two years most of the city would be destroyed and some 43,000 of its inhabitants would be killed by Allied firebombing.
A British Sherman rolls into central Hamburg during the final days of the Second World War. None of the buildings survive but the street layout remains unchanged.
A canal is filled with small craft.
Saint Michaelis kirche is the largest and most famous church in Hamburg. Mariners traveling up the Elbe would use the church's spire as a landmark to guide them towards the city. After the city's destruction in 1943 the Schaarmarkt, seen in the foreground of the Then photo, was not rebuilt.
The Stecklehorn. The spire of Nikolaikirche, undergoing renovations can be seen in the background. The canal has since been filled in, one of Hamburg's many canals that was filled in with rubble from bombed out buildings after the war.
This area of the Speicherstadt, called Hollandbruck, was once inhabited by Dutch immigrants, hence the name. The red-brick warehouses built here are part of the Speicherstadt UNESCO World Heritage site.
A view down the Zippelhaus. Katharinekirch can be clearly seen.
Here we see an outstanding example of 1920s brick expressionist architecture — the Chilehaus. It was named so by the tycoon who commissioned its construction, as he had made his fortune importing Chilean saltpeter.