The German city is dotted by canals, and the city center has two artificial lakes: Binnenalster and Aubenalster.
By Mary Elizabeth Collins
Hamburg, one of the largest cities in the European Union and the second most populous in Germany after its capital, Berlin, rests on the banks of the Elbe River and the North Sea. The city’s commercial port is the second largest in the continent after Rotterdam’s.
This lovely metropolis by water becomes an attractive enclave for its countless canals. The historic center is surrounded by two artificial lakes: Binnenalster and Aubenalster.
Thanks to its rich cultural life, Hamburg is considered cosmopolitan and avant-garde. There are also beautiful churches, palaces, squares, public parks, and monuments that deserve a visit. Although the city was practically destroyed during WWII by Allied bombing raids—very much like Dresden—its restoration has been commendable, and its current appearance is a charming combination of traditional architecture with a contemporary spirit.
A city tour can start in the historic port, known as Hafen City (Harbour City), where a large urban project is being developed at a cost of more than 5,000 million euros and should be completed by 2025. Located in the old loading area of the docks, it includes skyscrapers, offices, plazas, shops and luxury apartments.
Hamburg is a city of impressive historic monuments, lively entertainment, and excellent shopping.
By boat—or by foot—you reach the Protestant church of Saint Michel, built in the Baroque style and symbol of the city. Its portico boasts a beautiful bronze statue showing the Archangel Michael conquering the devil.
Continuing the tour, we visit the Kunsthalle Art Museum, with its collection of 15th-century German paintings, Dutch paintings from the 17th century, and French art from the 16th to the 18th centuries. It also has a formidable collection of old Spanish drawings including works by Murillo and Goya.
Another famous attraction is the striking Hamburg Historical Museum, offering exhibitions that elucidate the time when pirates devastated the city and another museum dedicated to the history of The Beatles, who played regularly in the city in four different clubs between August 1960 and December 1962.
During the warmer months, the locals come to the many city parks to socialize and enjoy the good weather.
Walking through the winding streets and neighborhoods, we reach City Hall, a neo-Renaissance building right in the city center near Lake Binnenalster and the Central Station. Nearby is the neo-Gothic Church of St. Nicholas. Unfortunately, the only ting that remains from the original building is the bell tower.
Finally, it is a pleasure to stroll through the district of Hamburg-Blankenese, where you will find old fishermen's houses and the beautiful Blomen Botanical Garden.
To round off the visit, you can go to the sumptuous Jungfernstieg district, filled the luxury brands boutiques— and not to be missed is a stop at the Shones Leben, one of the oldest cafes in the city, where you can relax with a cup of coffee to later continue enjoying the peculiar style of Hamburg, a fascinating city.
Hamburg is also a modern cosmopolitan city with friendly cafés, magnificent architecture and vibrant nightlife.
Copyright photos: www.mediaserver.hamburg.de. ■
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