Saturday, May 18, 2013
Last Updated: 18 May 14:00 PM IST
18 November 2012
With a variety of picture-perfect spots, Hamburg is much more than just the second largest city in Germany. It’s about history, celebration and hamburgers, says sandip hor
DID you know that hamburgers originated from Hamburg? Well, a German co-passenger confirms this as we head to the city by train from Berlin, the capital of Germany. He says that during the late 18th century, sailors arriving at the city’s port were served with patties stuffed with grilled meat. They called it Hamburger, which over the years became a popular snack across the globe.
However, Hamburg is one of the world’s busiest ports — like its European counterparts Rotterdam and Antwerp.
Situated on the edge of River Elbe, some 100 kms away from North Sea, intense trade through this port for the last 800 years has made it one of the richest metropolitan areas of the European Union.
The docks have also witnessed a large transformation. After both the World Wars, millions of Europeans voyaged into a newer world, giving this city another name — Getaway to the World.
Water bodies in Hamburg make first time visitors crave for harbour cruising. While water faring, you sail through historic vessels, giant container ships, maritime memorials, romantic piers and stunning architectural silhouettes along with tall spires of several churches.
Water surrounds life in Hamburg. The Elbe squirms through the city, splitting into waterways that stream like Venetian canals between handsome buildings, many of which serve as offices, residences and museums. Hamburg also boasts a picturesque lake – the showpiece of the city and other nearby residential suburbs. It is an unprecedented delight to sail on the waterways — especially river Elbe — and trundle through the cobblestone streets.
During the World War II, constant bombing by the allied-forces reduced this city to a rubble. However, in the last six decades, it shaped into an ultramodern destination having most contemporary features from shopping malls, efficient transportation to luxury hotels, bars and cafes.
However, it hasn’t really lost the shades of its past. You will realise it while browsing through the neo-gothic Speichsterstadt warehouse blocks that are a condominium of impressive red-brick buildings flanking both sides of waterways flashed with elegant bridges.
Though the city has been rebuilt elaborately, certain historical sections don’t fail to draw attention. For example, the city-centre — where life buzzes around the imposing City Hall — remains one of the few completely preserved buildings of history in Hamburg. This neo-renaissance structure dominates a paved square bustling with shops, eateries and people, proclaiming this is where the heart of the city beats.
There are historic churches around, the most significant being the St Nikolai Church, famous for its towering steeple, once recognised as the tallest in the world. The edifice burnt down during war in 1943 and its remnants today serve as a memorial for the victims of war.
A newly installed lift takes the visitors to a platform 250 feet above the ground from where the vista is breathtaking. There, on display are some historic photographs of a wrecked post-war Hamburg that provide an idea about the scale of transformation.
A visit to Hamburg remains incomplete unless you visit the baroque styled St Micheal Church, with a mammoth white and golden interior.
Music fanatics know that the journey of The Beatles started in Hamburg. During the early sixties, the group regularly performed at various clubs around the Reeperbahn area, which is famous for its sizzling nightlife. Their reputation here gave them their first breakthrough.
The Beatles have carved a special place for their Hamburg performances in their memory. Their fans gather at the Beatles Memorial — that poses stainless steel sculptures in a wayside paved area at Reeperbahn — and driven by nostalgia, visit some of the nearby venues where The Beatles performed. Hamburg is a city of countless attractions and it takes several days to explore it completely. Rest assured, you shall pine for its essence ever after.
For more details visit www.hamburg-tourism.de