HAMBURG is the second largest city in Germany, it formed with L'beck, Bremen and Rostock and other European ports the medieval Hanseatic League. Hamburg is a city-state, being as far as possible independent of other states that existed and exist in Germany. However, during the centuries, Hamburg has always been an international city, not only because of its position in international trade, but also in political dimensions.
Hamburg is a watery city, geographically, historically and atmospherically. It is Germany's second largest city and lies on the Elbe River, for centuries a major port and trading centre for central Europe. The city has a network of canals that rival those of Venice (it is said to have more bridges than Venice) and is centred on two artificial lakes that take up eight percent of its total area. Probably because of all the water, Hamburg is also known as Germany's 'green city', sporting 1,400 parks and gardens. Modern buildings sit cheek by jowl with historic Baroque and Renaissance architecture, and by night the neon lights dazzle all-night revellers, particularly in the city's notorious red light district, the Reeperbahn.
The city is known as one of the most important harbours in Europe and the world, and it is the greenest city in Germany: 13 % of the city are park and greenland, 23 % protected countryside and 6% nature reserves. Nevertheless, two thirds of the city are occupied by parks, lakes or tree-lined canals, giving this huge harbour city a refreshal rural feel.
Hamburg has many faces and contrasts are evident wherever you look there. The finest parks and buildings are revealed around the Alster Lake in the city center while the neon-lit Reeperbahn at night revive old memories of "Sin-City Europe". And a walk along one of Hamburg's many canals explains why this city has been called the "Venice of the North". Recently, the city has become a Media center, half of the Nation's newspapers and magazines have their roots here.
Unfortunately, large parts of the city were destroyed during the devastating air raids of World War II. In spite of it, Hamburg still has large quarters with expensive houses and villas, home to merchants and captains, surrounded by lots of green. Hamburg keeps its tradition of being an open, yet discreet city. Hamburgers sometimes appear to be quite reserved at first, but once they get to know who they are dealing with, they will be as warm and friendly as you would wish.
Unfortunately, large parts of the city were destroyed during the devastating air raids of World War II. In spite of it, Hamburg still has large quarters with expensive houses and villas, home to merchants and captains, surrounded by lots of green. Hamburg keeps its tradition of being an open, yet discreet city.
Best place to Visit
St. Michael's Church ----- This is the most famous church in the city. It was damaged many times, in 1750 by a lightning strike, in 1906 for a fire during construction work and in the World War II. It is dedicated to the archangel Michael, for that reason in the portal of the church there is a statue that shows the archangel conquering the devil. The most famous landmark of the city is the 123 meter tower of the church.
Hamburg Harbor ------ Known as "Germany's Gateway to the World", Hamburg Harbor is the biggest port in Germany, and the forth largest port in Europe. It is located on the banks of the Elbe River, being a perfect place with many transshipment facilities. In the port is allowed the toll-free shipping. Once there, you can choose to take a Harbor Tour, Hamburg Canals Tours, or maybe just walk along the riverside.
Planten un Blomen ---- Located in the heart of the city, this is one of the most beautiful places in Hamburg; there are an immense variety of plants, trees and flowers. One of its main highlight is the Japanese Garden; there you will see two water courses which appear from a source at the highest place in the garden, it is really beautiful! During the summer you will enjoy many events like the water-music and light show
Hamburg Rathaus ---- The Hamburg Rathaus is one of the most historical buildings of the city; it was build from 1886 to 1897 with a neo-Renaissance style. Above the main door a sentence is written in Latin that translated means: “May the descendants seek to uphold the freedom which was won by our forefathers. There are also five enormous paintings describe the history of Hamburg from 800 to 1900.
Temperatures in Hamburg range from -0.2 to 22.85 (Celcius).
The climate of Hamburg is maritime, with warm wet summers and cold winters. Generally the weather in Hamburg is wet and windy, rain falling all year round but particularly in mid-summer. In winter temperatures sometimes drop well below freezing, and the river and lakes freeze over. Snow is not usually heavy, but winter is plagued with falls of icy rain. Spring is a lovely time of year to travel to Hamburg, when the city's trees are resplendent with fresh green foliage and sunny days begin after the long, grey winter.
Event & Fairs
Ice World ---- The charming town of Lbeck is the backdrop to the fourth International Festival of Ice and Snow Sculptures which sees artists from all over the world create some of the most magnificent works of art from several hundred of thousands of pounds of ice and snow. The sculptures are housed in a tent near the Trave River.
Hamburg Ballet Days ---- The end of the Hamburg Ballet season is commemorated by the traditional Hamburg Ballet Days, which presents the season's best productions, and is the most prestigious dance event in the country. The famous ballet company is one of the best in the world. The highlight is the enchanting Nijinksi Gala on the final night that includes many top international appearances.
Alster Fair --- One of the city's biggest annual summer festivals, the Alster Fair is a celebration of food and drink, music, theatre, sporting events, handicrafts and numerous fringe events that provide entertainment for all ages. Part of the fair is the International Fireworks Festival that presents spectacular nightly .
Harbour Birthday Fest--- To celebrate over 800 years of harbour history, Hamburg's birthday festivities entail many water and air-based shows and activities, as well as live music, a funfair and lots of entertainment. Aquatic events are at the centre of the celebrations and traditional highlights include the ship's parade, tugboat ballet and dragon boat racing, while helicopter tours, hot air balloon rides and parachuting take place above the harbour area.
Food & Drink
There are many elegant restaurants in Hamburg, and the most famous food is the fresh seafood. Fishers bring everyday a variety of fish and shellfish like lobster, shrimp, turbot, plaice and sole. Other popular and traditional dishes are the Aalsuppe or eel soup, Stubenküchen (hamburger steak) and many delicacies made especially in summer like Aalsuppe grün and Räucheraal. Best places to eat are out of the city centre, either in the "Univiertel" or in the "Schanzenviertel" around Schulterblatt and Schanzenstrasse
By Public Transport ----- Hamburg's transport system is formed by rail services, bus routes and harbor ferries. The rail services are focused on the city-centre; there are three underground lines U-Bahn, six Suburban lines S-Bahn and nine regional rail services which work all night in weekends and on public holidays. Tickets are not expensive and for visitors exists travel cards with different costs favorable for them. The metro buses offer direct and very frequent services; there are also express buses, sprinter buses and town or regional buses.
Bike rental --- Prices about 8 Euro a day or 40 Euro a week.
Nightlife in Hamburg is well-known around the world, the main clubs and shops are in St Pauli and its main street "the Reeperbahn". This street is best known for being a red light district, but there are also many cultural spectacles in theatres and music halls. There is no better city in Germany to spend your evenings and nights than in Hamburg. Here everyone will find its paradise: theatre or musical fans, dance hoppers and ravers, sailors and Marlboro Men.
The airport Hamburg-Fuhlsbuttel is located at the northern edge of the city, close to the living areas.
Buses run from the airport to the train station run every twenty minutes, but it is a little cheaper to take the HVV airport bus to the U-Bahn (underground) and S-Bahn stop at Ohlsdorf, and then catch a train into town.