germany in january: hamburg

February 7, 2008

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the speicherstadt warehouse district in hamburg

all right, i’m slowly catching up. so after berlin, i took the train to hamburg. i didn’t really know what to expect, but i was very pleasantly surprised – i could have spent days taking photos! : ) i’ve seen conflicting reports saying that hamburg is the second-largest port in europe (antwerp also claims the title, the largest being rotterdam). in any case, it was definitely a city on the water, with the incredible speicherstadt (the old brick shipping warehouse district), the new hafencity residential development along the elbe, and a series of canals in the medieval quarter that connect to the inner alster, a pretty lake in the middle of the city. i wish i could have spent a little more time here, but i’m definitely glad that i at least had a chance to stop. i would definitely recommend hamburg as a northern european destination!

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the speicherstadt district is the largest warehouse complex in the world – the buildings are so tall and narrow that they almost look like ships in the water

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they were really beautifully detailed, and all of the warehouse “islands” were connected with ornate bridges; the german tourist bureau tells me that these buildings are excellent examples wilhelminian brick gothic architecture, which i don’t know that i’ve seen before…? maybe i just didn’t know that the classification existed…

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hamburg is supposed to have more bridges over water than does venice…after crossing (and photographing) what felt like most of them, i’d have to agree : )

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one of the more modern “warehouses”(/parking garages) on the right…

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new construction and infrastructural improvements in the speicherstadt to connect it to the new hafencity area

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okay, moving on to something slightly more modern. this is the new herzog & demeuron-designed opera house in progress (is every european waterfront city putting up a new opera? copenhagen, oslo, hamburg…) they’re actually in the process of gutting an old warehouse building, upon the top of which the new opera will be built. very cool project.

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here’s the street that separates the old district (speicherstadt – left) from the new development (hafencity – right). hafencity is HUGE (155 ha.) and is supposed to increase the size of the city center by 40%, plus house around 10,000 residents and provide amenities like the opera, new metro stations, a maritime museum, and a science center/aquarium. whew!

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some of the new modern “cube-y” buildings of the hafencity development. that’s china steel on the left.

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i really like that the hafencity lampposts mimic the shapes of cranes! there are certainly lots of cranes and other construction paraphernalia in this area, and probably will be for many years…

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here’s “the viewpoint,” which allows one to climb up and see all of the hafencity construction from on high! it’s kind of a fun, funky little orange tower. ; )

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the view from the viewpoint…that’s the elbe in the background…

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okay, moving into the center city…here is some of the canal cityscape (left) and a lovely, angelic building detail (right)

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the town hall (or rathaus, in german) is an incredibly beautiful sandstone building, and the main square in front steps down to a canal (right), which in turn opens into the inner alster lake

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the ruins of st. nikolai church in central hamburg (bombed during wwii and nicely preserved as a memorial)

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more of st. nikolai: the carillon/partial view of the ruins from the “interior” of the church

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another view of the st. nikolai tower; the angel statue in front of the church that i really liked

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a view of a slightly more modern central hamburg and canal

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hamburgers (hehe! i’ve been waiting to say that…i should have taken more photos with people in them) enjoying dusk on the edge of the inner alster. if i ever go back to hamburg for longer, i’m going to rent a bike and ride around the city’s lakes…

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