Hamburg is the sixth largest city in the European Union and is the second largest city in Germany after Berlin. It covers an area of two hundred and ninety-one square miles and a population that exceeds one and a half million people. The name of the city is derived from its first permanent settlement built on the area, a castle that was erected on order of Emperor Charlemagne in the ninth century. The castle was placed on a marsh between the Alster and Elbe rivers. This castle was named Hammaburg and was designed as a defence against Slavic invasions.
Toward the middle of the ninth century, Hamburg became the seat of the bishopric of the Roman Catholic Church. During the sixteenth century the city took up Lutheranism and shortly thereafter, Hamburg started receiving refugees from France and the Netherlands. Over the course of its history, Hamburg has been invaded and destroyed on several occasions. The first incident happened in 845 and involved a fleet of six hundred Viking ships which traveled the River Elbe and sacked the city. The next incident involved the burning of the city by Polish King Mieszko II in the thirteenth century. Another tragic event of Hamburg was the introduction of the Black Death in the city which resulted in almost two thirds of the inhabitents dying. The last destructive event in Hamburg was the fire that burned a quarter of the city in the middle of the nineteenth century.
Hamburg’s educational needs are serviced by the Ministry of Schools. The city has an extensive educational system which features two hundred and forty-five elementary schools, one hundred and ninety-five secondary schools, thirty-three libraries and seventeen universities. Popular universities in Hamburg include the University of Hamburg, Hamburg University of Technology and the HafenCity University. There are also several colleges which have not attained university status. These include Hamburg University of Applied Sciences, College of Fine Arts Hamburg, Hochschule für Musik und Theater Hamburg, Northern Institute of Technology and University Medical Center Hamburg-Eppendorf. Research institutions in Hamburg include the Archaeological Institute, Bernhard Nocht Institute for Tropical Medicine, Heinrich Pette Institute for Experimental Virology and Immunology and Centre for Molecular Neurobiology Hamburg.
Today, Hamburg has a thriving economy and its Gross Domestic Product is the highest in all of Germany. The city also enjoys a high employment rate which is in excess of eighty-eight percent employment. Its high GDP is due in part to the Port of Hamburg which handles worldwide shipments of over one hundred and thirty-four tons of goods a year. Tourism is another factor that figures predominately into this city’s economy. Every year almost four million tourist visit the city and hotel bookings are in excess of seven million accommodations every year. The average tourist to Hamburg will stay for two days. This city has the fastest growing tourism sector in all of Germany.
The city of Hamburg contains over fifty museums and art galleries. One of the most prominent museums in the city is the Kunsthalle Hamburg. This museum was establish in 1869 and houses an extensive collection of modern art, Dutch art from the sixteenth and seventeenth centuries, and nineteenth century German paintings. There is art from several different artists such as Max Liebermann, Caspar David Friedrich, Pablo Picasso, Paul Klee, Adolf Menzel, Max Beckmann, Philipp Otto Runge and Lovis Corinth.
A museum in the city of Hamburg that is fun for the entire family is the Miniatur Wunderland. The Miniatur Wunderland is the largest model train museum in the entire world. The building covers and area of forty-three thousand square feet. The railway that’s located inside the building includes over thirty-six thousand square feet of track that spans five sections. These sections include Southern Germany, Hamburg, the German coast, the Americas and Switzerland. Other museums in the city of Hamburg include the Astronomiepark Hamburger Sternwarte and Schmidt-Museum, KL!CK Kindermuseum, Hamburg Dungeon and Spicy’s Gewürzmuseum.
Not to be missed during your trip to Hamburg is the Tierpark Hagenbeck or Hamburg Zoo. This zoo doesn’t use cages to enclose the animals but instead employ a series of moats. This is to ensure that the animals are in an environment that approximates their natural habitat as much as possible. This zoo was established in 1907 by Carl Hagenbeck Jr.
Hamburg is also home to a large number of theaters. One of the more prominent ones is the Deutsches Schauspielhaus. The Deutsches Schauspielhaus is situated in the St. Georg district of Hamburg and was established by Franziska Ellmenreich in 1901. Many prominent actors have performed here including Samuel Weiss, Marco Albrecht, Sebastian Fischer, Daniel Wahl, Felix Kramer, Andreas Tobias, Will Quadflieg, Francis Fulton-Smith and Monique Schwitter.
Other theaters in Hamburg include the Altonaer Theater, English Theatre, Ernst-Deutsch-Theater, Hamburger Kammerspiele, Hansa Theater, Kampnagel-Fabrik, Komödie Winterhuder Fahrhaus, Neues Theater am Holstenwall, Thalia Theater, St. Pauli Theater and Schmidts Tivoli Theater.
Hamburg is a city that is well known for its fairly large collection of castles and ancient estates. One of the most prominent castles in the city is the Jenisch House. Jenisch House is a neoclassical country estate that was built in the nineteenth century. This mansion was built by Franz Forsmann and Karl Schinkel and is located in Jenisch Park. Jenisch Park covers an area of one hundred and ten acres. Located in this cube like building is the museum für Kunst und Kultur an der Elbe. Other castles located in Hamburg include Castle Bergedorf, Harburg Castle, Neuwerk lighthouse and Wellingsbuttel Manor.
Other prominent attractions in the city include BallinStadt Port, Dragon Sauna, Alter Elbtunnel, Landungsbruecken, Speicherstadt, Alster Lakes, Moenckebergstrasse Shopping, Hamburger Dom, Pulverfass Travesty Cabaret, Speicherstadtmuseum, Altonaer Rathaus and Alter Botanischer Garten. This city also host a wide range of bars, pubs, restaurants, cafes and caberets. There is a little bit of everything for the curious tourist in this beautiful city that is rich in history and culture. Its also a city that will keep visitors coming back again and again.