Hamburg: Known as the gateway to the world, the Venice of the North, and the free Hanseatic City. But also as a city of unique and special architecture. Our last blog post took you through some of the highlights of Hamburg’s architecture. But since one post is not enough for Hamburg’s majestic sites and buildings, we’ve followed up with a Part 2 of our tips for architecture enthusiasts.
Hamburg is a city of waterways. Bridges and boats aren’t the only way to cross them either: You can also go underground. One of the most well-known routes is the New Elbe Tunnel, which connects Hamburg to Schleswig-Holstein and the sea. But the Old Elbe Tunnel is much more interesting. This tunnel was built in 1911 to connect Hamburg’s city center with the harbor. The entrance to the tunnel is located next to the jetties. From here, an elevator takes you down to a depth of 24 meters. Incidentally, passenger vehicles also need to take the elevator to access the tunnel. But if you go on foot, you can get a much better look at the fascinating designs painted on the tiles along the tunnel walls, turning the 426-meter walk into a special experience. After you resurface, it’s time to head to St. Pauli or the warehouse district.
If underground structures appeal to you, keep walking from the warehouse district to the harbor city. There, you can visit the metro station HafenCity Universität. This is no ordinary train station: This is an experience for the senses. Its futuristic design and lighting transport visitors into another world. And on the weekends, a spectacular light and sound display is presented every hour on the hour. During this display, twelve light containers are illuminated on the station ceiling in a variety of colors – following the beat of music by Verdi and Bach. This is one time you’ll be glad to miss the train.
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International vibes in Hamburg
After the performance, you can take the U4 metro line to the city center of Hamburg. More architectural highlights are in store for you here. One of these is the Chilehaus. Developed by Fritz Höger, this historic skyscraper was completed in 1924. The owner of the building was the richest man in Hamburg at the time, Henry B. Sloman. He made his fortune in Chile running a saltpeter factory and returned to Hamburg in 1898. With its sharply tapered rooftop facing east, the Chile house is vaguely reminiscent of a merchant ship.
Another architectural gem is located right on the Jungfernstieg boulevard: The Alster Arcades, with their Italian style, are evocative of a stroll across a piazza in Venice. The arcades were built in 1846. Today they make up one of the most beautiful shopping areas of the city, stretching from the Jungfernstieg to the Rathausmarkt square. Take a walk through the picturesque arches, then make yourself comfortable in one of the nearby cafés and enjoy the view of the Alster canal with its graceful swans.
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From the Alster to the Elbe
Now from the city center it’s time to head west to the famous high-end district of Blankenese. On the way, it’s worth making a quick detour to St. Pauli. Here, in the middle of the Heiligengeistfeld (literally the ‘Field of the Holy Spirit’), you will see a building that may not seem beautiful in the classical sense of the word: an above-ground bunker. But it’s certainly eye-catching, there’s no doubt about that. It is one of the largest bunkers ever built anywhere in the world. This siege tower, built in 1942, was used in World War II as an anti-aircraft defense tower and to protect the people of Hamburg. During the Cold War, it was then reactivated. Nowadays, the bunker is home to the notorious Hamburg club “Übel & Gefährlich” (German for “Evil & Dangerous”), as well as several media companies and agencies.
The buildings in Blankenese, an upscale district of Hamburg, are of an entirely different nature. The grandest villas in the city are located here, which makes this Hamburg neighborhood a popular destination for exploring the city on foot. There are particularly nice footpaths and photographic opportunities in the so-called Treppenvirtel (German for “Stair District”). Nearly 5,000 steps lead all the way down to the Elbe riverside. By the river, a view of the Front Light lighthouse rounds off a picture-perfect scene. Maybe when you tour the area, you will catch a glimpse of some of the famous residents of Blankenese in addition to the beautiful late 19th-century villas.
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An overnight stay with connections
Another place to encounter prominent guests is the Radisson Blu Hotel at the Hamburg Airport. From here it is just a few minutes to the terminal, which can take you anywhere in the world. This first-class hotel is just a 20-minute train ride from central Hamburg on the S-Bahn, and its location is just the beginning of its comforts. When the weather is favorable, you can look out from the impressive rooftop terrace all the way to the harbor of Hamburg; or if you would rather close your eyes for a while, the health club awaits you with a sauna, steam room and relaxation area.