A Little History on Hamburg, Germany
Hamburg, the second largest city in Germany, is engaged in a multi-year project to reclaim its maritime heritage by shifting the center of its urban activities and new building development toward the waterfront harbor on the Elbe River. The focus of development is HafenCity Hamburg, located between the city's warehouse district, one of the world's largest, and the river. Scheduled to be completed by 2025, the HafenCity project includes apartments, businesses and cultural, tourism and leisure attractions. It will expand Hamburg's existing city center by an estimated 40 percent. Since Hamburg's post-World War ll reconstruction period, the city's focus was towards its geographic center surrounding the hour-glass shaped Alster Lake. The lake attracts residents and visitors to view the opulent villas erected by wealthy 19-th century trade merchants along its banks. The area is popular for the four-mile jogging and cycling track that follows a green park circling the water. Despite Alster Lake's beauty and popularity, the Elbe waterfront represents Hamburg's economic history. It has served for nine centuries as Germany's trading gateway to the North Sea, located 70 miles west of Hamburg. The expansive harbor connects a network of canals extending like fingers through Hamburg's revitalized warehouse district into the city. The port handles more maritime cargo than New York and has enabled Hamburg to become one of Germany's wealthiest cities. A third cruise terminal and new river embankment are under construction in Hamburg's port. The number of cruise passengers has risen from 130,000 passenger calls in 2010 to the more than 400,000 expected this year. Cunard's Queen Mary 2, which visited Hamburg at least eight times in 2013-2014, with Americans able to extend seven-day transatlantic cruises between New York and Southampton by two days with an embarkation or disembarkation in Hamburg. Other cruise lines scheduled to call in the months ahead are Azamara Club Cruises, Crystal Cruises, Seabourn and Celebrity Cruises. The city has improved its transportation accessibility and can be reached in 90 minutes by train from either Berlin to the east or Copenhagen to the north. A new subway connection from the airport to Hamburg's central rail station opened in 2006 when Germany hosted the World Cup Soccer finals. The modern Terminal 1, opened in 2005 at Hamburg's Airport, provides a smooth entry for Americans taking the daily nonstop fight on United Airlines flying from New York's Newark Liberty International Airport. There is also a recently completed riverside walking and cycling path that extends almost 400 miles from Hamburg east to Prague in the Czech Republic. The Hamburg port has popular dining facilities including Block Brau, a new German beer and nautical-themed casual restaurant with a wide deck garden affording panoramic views of the river. Another unique Hamburg pot favorite is the Fischauktionshalle located inside the city's 400 year old fish market. Dozens of vendors line the piers outside the hall selling fresh fish, flowers, nuts and baked goods as they have for centuries. Inside the hall reservations are needed to get table seating where hundreds of fish market visitors enjoy a bountiful breakfast buffet while listening enthusiastically to German bands performing covers of classic American rock tunes. The Hamburg Kunsthalle is the third-largest art museum in Germany. It includes intriguing, unfamiliar pieces by famed French painters including Eugene Delacroix Claude Money, Edgar Degas, Pierre Auguste Renoir, Paul Cezanne, Gustav Courbet, and Henri Toulouse-Lautrec. With so much to offer, it's no wonder tourists are flocking to Hamburg. Our Experts can build you a custom itinerary including Hamburg or book it as a pre/post on a cruise.
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