Sunday, March 6, 2016

Hamburg Firsts and Fun Facts

On Friday I went to the monthly “spouses breakfast” coordinated by Good Game, and afterwards joined some of the other wives for a walk across the city to downtown. Along the way I was explaining the origin of the Hamburg meaning for Dom*, and realized how much I had learned--and continue to learn--about this city.

So I thought I’d share some tidbits with you.

Hamburg was:

  • Part of an alliance with the city of L├╝beck in 1241, which served as the precursor to the formation of the Hanseatic League in 1356. (Hamburg's full official name is the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg.)
  • The site of "Operation Gomorrah" in World War II--an air raid campaign that lasted 7 nights and 8 days and destroyed much of the city.
  • The city where the Beatles had five residencies to tune up their performing skills. The band recorded their first single in Hamburg two years before their debut LP.
    Beatles Platz in Hamburg

  • The birthplace of fashion designer Karl Lagerfeld, composers Johannes Brahms, Carl Reinecke, and Felix Mendelssohn, and German chancellors Angela Merkel and Helmut Schmidt.
The concert hall on Johannes Brahms Platz

Hamburg has:
  • A street in its red-light district where women are not allowed to walk unless they're prostitutes.
  • Miniatur Wunderland, the largest model railway in the world.
    Larger bridges...
  • 2400 bridges--more than any other city in the world! 

In fact, that's more bridges than London, Amsterdam, and Venice combined.

On a related note, Hamburg has more canals than Amsterdam and Venice combined.
    ...smaller bridges... many bridges!

Hamburg is:
  • Home to the Neuengamme memorial, a former concentration camp used by the Nazis from 1938 to 1945.
  • Europe's largest a) railway port, b) import port for coffee, and c) marketplace for raw materials for pharmaceuticals. It's also the largest carpet trading and storage center in the world.
  • Home to the Speicherstadt, one of the world's largest and oldest warehouse districts and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.

*Oh, and about that history. As early as the 1300s a cathedral in Hamburg was also the site of a periodic carnival, and the two became synonymous. So even when the carnival eventually moved to a different site, Hamburgers associated it with the term for cathedral, which is Dom. The Hamburg Dom comes three times a year and is the largest in northern Germany.

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