Hamburg is a centre for both industry and media as well as being a major transport hub. With its position on the River Elbe, it has become one of the largest ports in the world. Tourists flock to this affluent city in their thousands every year, intent on sampling all of its cultural delights.
Not surprisingly, the city’s weather is dictated by its proximity to the coast, ensuring a temperate maritime climate. Its highest temperatures of around twenty-two degrees occur in July and August, while it gets down to freezing point during the winter months of December to February.
The city sports many buildings of architectural significance in many different styles. Skyscrapers are few and far between. The skyline is populated by the tall spires of its important churches such as St. Michael’s, St. Peter’s, St James’ and St. Catherine’s. The city also boasts an inordinate number of bridges – 2,300 – which cross it many streams, rivers and canals. Despite all the buildings, the city is very green, with parks abounding all over. Among those worth a visit is the Stadtpark, with its great lawn and massive water tower, home itself to one of Europe’s largest planetaria. Both the park and its buildings were designed in the very early twentieth century by Fritz Schumacher.
There are in excess of sixty museums and forty theatres, and more than one hundred clubs and music venues. Two of the best known theatres are the Ohnsorg and Schmidt’s Tivoli, while The English Theatre of Hamburg is unusual in that it employs only English native-speaking actors. Turning to museums, apart from the big players like the Kunsthalle Hamburg art museum, there are quite a few that specialise, such as the Museum of Labour, and some that deal with local history. On a musical note, the main concert hall is the Laeiszhalle, and the city also possesses an opera company and three orchestras.
Hamburg is such a busy, vibrant city that a couple of return visits will be necessary in order to make the most of it. However, don’t let that put you off as it is a fabulous destination for an action-packed weekend.
Picture: Carmen Steiner – Fotolia