Also known as one of the most beautiful cities in Germany, Hamburg happens to be the second largest city in Germany (after Berlin), with 1.8 million people residing in it. Located in the northern part of Germany, Hamburg is one of the sixteen federal states of the Federal Republic of Germany.
Most people visiting Germany only end up visiting cities like Berlin, Munich, Frankfurt, etc. and are ignorant about the fascinating things one can see and do in Hamburg. The city of Hamburg is a unique blend of historical monuments and modern pubs and nightclubs. For those who love water, ships and harbors, Hamburg is the place to visit.
The efforts the city takes to keep itself green is commendable. All over the city, one can find lovely, clean parks with different kinds of plants adorning them. People in Hamburg enjoy going for long walks and strolls by the river side. Let's have a look at some facts about Hamburg, to get a better understanding of the city.
Interesting Facts about Hamburg
Hamburg is officially known as Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg. The city gets its name from the first castle built on the site, as per the orders of Emperor Charlemagne in 808 AD. Hamburg, today is North Germany's center, both culturally as well as economically. Being a trade center, the city has always had an outward and open attitude, which is reflected in the attitude of the inhabitants as well.
Seven times the size of Paris
With an area of 755 sq km (292 sq mi), Hamburg's area is seven times that of Paris and twice that of London. The living space per person in Hamburg is an average of 30 square meters per person, thereby making Hamburg the city with the largest average living space in the world. The city houses 1.8 million inhabitants, which makes it more of a state than a city.
Houses the second largest port in Europe
Over 13,000 vessels are seen to enter Hamburg's huge port, located on the river Elbe. Covering an area of 74 square km, Hamburg's port happens to be the largest port in Germany, the second largest in Europe and the third largest in the world (after New York and London). The city's port with its tanker terminals is home to all major oil refining companies. This is why Hamburg is also known as the 'Gateway to the World'. This port of Hamburg is also a popular tourist attraction.
Called the 'city of rivers'
A large number of rivers and canals are found meandering Hamburg, christening it with the name 'city of rivers'. Small adorable canals are found running all along the city like veins in a human body. Moreover, with over 2500 bridges, Hamburg is also known to have more bridges than Venice or Amsterdam.
Hamburg is the greenest city in Germany
14% of the city is made up of green spaces like parks, natural preserve areas and gardens. Moreover, about half of the metropolitan area is enveloped in greenery and one look at the city will prove this fact! This is why Hamburg has been crowned with the title of 'greenest city in Germany'. What makes Hamburg a unique city is its lack of skyscrapers. Buildings possessing more than 10 floors cannot be found here. To maintain the picturesque scenery around Alster lake, it is a rule for the surrounding buildings to be white with copper roofs.
Hamburg: Tourist Attractions
Hamburg is one of the most popularly visited cities in Germany and offers more than 31 theaters, 50 state and private museums, 6 music halls and 10 cabarets which lure thousands of tourists every year. Moreover, the weather in Hamburg is quite pleasant during the summers, making the place even more appealing for the tourists. Some of the most popularly loved and visited tourist destinations are:
This is one of the most beautiful and picturesque places that Hamburg has to offer tourists. Alster lake, a tributary of river Elbe is not only a paradise for sailors, canoeists and tourists, but is also cherished by locals. Rapid industrialization during the 13th century, included the formation of a dam to power water mills, which in turn lead to the formation of two artificial lakes on Alster lake. The outer Alster lake and inner Alster (Binnenalster) lake are today extremely popular with tourists. The boat rides and cruises that tour the Alster canals past the entire city, prove to be wonderful means of seeing Hamburg. During the summer the lake is flooded with sailing boats, however, winter time is the best time to visit Alster lake, as the frozen lake allows the wonderful activity of ice skating.
Altona Fish Market
Another unusual, but popular tourist attraction in the city is the Altona fish market, which even though is named a fish market, sells anything and everything (along with myriads of fish variety) known under the Sun. This colorful, crowded and lively market started in 1703, and takes place every Sunday from 5:30 am to 9am. The key attraction of this market is the Fish Auction Hall, where fresh fish is sold in tons together. There is also a restaurant which provides lively music thereby entertaining shoppers. This market is a must-visit place for all Hamburg visitors.
Blankenese, the picturesque destination on the north bank of the river Elbe, was once upon a time a fishing village that was favored by retired ship captains. Today, it is extremely popular amongst the local people as a weekend getaway spot and some of the richest people are found living here. Its inviting villas, thatched-roofed houses and mansions facing the river Elbe continue to lure scores of tourists towards it. This village features a number of cafes, cinema halls, restaurants, stores and weekly markets selling fresh fruits and vegetables. Blankenese is situated on a very hilly region and is embedded with scores of steps all over the village. Hence, walking is something you have to be prepared to do when you get to this village. It's a great place for a day's excursion.
Held three times a year during winter, spring and summer, Hamburger Dom is the biggest and grandest public festival held in the northern region of the country. Attracting about 9 to 10 million visitors every year, the Hamburger fair starts off with a parade followed by a month-long time of enjoyment. The fair is spread out over an area of 3km and features huge carousels, high-tech rides, roller coasters, firework display, beer tents, tantalizing delights like fairy floss, lebkuchen, etc. and several other activities. The gigantic ferrous wheel is a great attraction, specially because it gives magnificent view of the entire city. Hamburger Dom is the longest festival to be held in the region, stretching over a period of 31 days.
Rathaus in Hamburg
Hamburg's 100 year old town hall is worth a visit. Built during a period marked with opulence and wealth, this massive building encompasses 647 rooms, most of which are done in wood or gold. It is a perfect stop to gauge the historical beauty of the city. Besides being a historical beauty, Rathaus or city hall forms the headquarters for both city and state (Parliament and Senate) administrative governments. The city hall's courtyard is known as one of the most beautiful sights in the city. The Hygieia fountain featuring a female figure in bronze, representing health Pisa to a dragon symbolizing cholera is present at the center of the courtyard. One can take a guided tour inside the Rathaus, which leads you to various magnificent rooms inside the city hall. The interiors will truly stun you. So don't miss it!
Besides the above mentioned tourist spots, Hamburg is embedded with loads of other must-visit places such as the Planetarium (most up-to-date planetarium in the world), Hagenbecks Tierpark (world's first zoo with open-air enclosures), Hamburg Kunsthalle (Hamburg art museum), Hamburg harbor (biggest port in the Federal Republic of Germany and the fourth largest for bulk goods in Europe), St. Michaelis Church (Hamburg's cultural landmark), Japanese garden (the largest Japanese garden in the world). And the list goes on.
The public transport system in Hamburg is reliable and efficient, and do you don't have to worry about moving around once you get there. Enjoy the various picturesque destinations of Hamburg and capture some lifetime memories for yourself!