My time in Germany started by being picked up from Hamburg airport by Mr. G, whose wife I know from many years ago when we met in Australia. I had not met Mr. G before, however he was so kind as to drive the 30 minutes from the family home (where I stayed for three nights) to pick me up at 10:30pm!
Driving through the streets was very exciting. Even though it was late at night, I could see what the neighbourhood was like and really liked it!
I had the most wonderful time staying at the house of “Familie G”. With four children under 6 it was very exciting! I recalled some of my German from the class I took a few years ago; however I struggled with pronunciation which made it difficult when I was saying even simple words. The children were so lovely – they even asked me to read some English books to them, which I found fun.
There are so many magnificent sights in Hamburg! The Rathaus is certainly my favourite – it is quite palatial and almost like a castle! No expense was spared in building the Rathaus; even the locals admit to this.
I wrote a lot of information about Hamburg and the sights; however due to a technical glitch I lost it so this is more in point form!
Some information about Hamburg:
- 9th Century – “Hammaburg” is built to replace earlier fortifications;
- 845:Vikings attack the town and destroy the castle;
- 10th Century: Slav tribes overrun the region – Hamburg becomes the residence of the Dukes of Saxony;
- 11th Century: Two castles are built opposite each other – The Alsterburg and the Neue Burg. The Dukes withdraw from Hamburg following further attacks from the Slaves;
- 1201 – 1227:Hamburg comes into possession of the Danes;
- 1227: Danes are forced to retreat. Hamburg takes on important position in the Hanseatic trading league;
- 1616 – 1625: By building fortifications, Hamburg avoids devastation of the Thirty Years’ War;
- 1712: Plague kills 10,000 of the city’s 70,000 inhabitants;
- 1806 – 1814: Hamburg falls under Napoleon’s rule;
- 1815: The city enters the Deutscher Bund (German Confederation) as a Free and Hanseatic City;
- 1842: Great Fire: 50% of buildings are destroyed;
- 1892: Cholera epidemic causes 8,600 deaths. A new housing law allows the slums to be demolished;
- 1943: Allied bombers destroy half the city;
City Hall (Rathaus)
- Built in 1886 – 1897;
- Neo-Renaissance style as a symbol of the city’s self-confidence;
- On the site of the former St John’s Monastery, which had originally been established in 1230;
- Building took 11 years to build and cost 11 million gold marks;
- Centre tower is 112m tall;
- Structure is 112m long and 78m wide;
- 647 rooms – Parliament has 3; Senate has the rest;
Parliament Staircase: designed in marble, bronze and brass
- This room is offered to VIP’s and dignitaries who visit, enabling them to stand on the balcony and wave to ‘the people’. Prince Charles and Princess Diana were last to use the room – that was a good many years ago!;
- Eight valuable colums in this room – from Morocco and made of semi-precious stone onyx;
Lord Mayor’s Room
- Used for Senate receptions today;
- Leather wall coverings are gilded;
- Painting of Senate in 1897 shows the white collars and black (Spanish) robes. The robes weighed 35kg and couldn’t be washed (so they smelled!) The senators wore the white collars from a 17th and 18th Century tradition, which was to wear white powder in the hair… the collars were created to stop the powder from messing the black clothing being worn!
- 80 orphans aged between 8 and 14 completed the woodcarving in this room over a five year period;
- The boys were awarded an apprenticeship upon completion and were thus able to earn money;
- The carving of the gentleman represents the person who created the project.
Senate’s Session Hall (Ratsstube)
- Represents the resurrection of Hamburg after the Great Fire (which burned for four days and four nights.
International Maritime Museum
This was the best museum that I have ever seen. However, in saying that, I did start to feel a bit lethargic when I reached the 7th of 10 storeys. This museum details not only Hamburg’s history but the world’s nautical history dating back many centuries.
The Port of Hamburg was an entry point to Europe, with many items being imported over the years and then shipped by rail or other from there.
I understand that a large portion of the collection is the private collection of Professor Peter Tamm
- At least 26,000 ship models;
- Nautical treasures and paintings from ships;
- Medals and uniforms from navies around the world;
- A Lego construction of the Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 (complete with the sparkies at the back using tools!);
- Safety equipment
- Etc. Etc.
- 3,000 years of maritime hitsory and modern research (baffling…);
- A copy of the “Atlantis Majoris” from 1657 (the first nautical atlas printed in the Netherlands) is on display. I am yet to ascertain if I photographed it and if so, which it is…;
- Models (tens of thousands of them) show strands of development in shipping: from Phoenician galley and Roman trireme to Viking dragon boats, from cog ships of the Hanseatic period to the last of the windjammers;
Higher quality photos from International Maritime Museum https://goo.gl/photos/qQDwDstYzjf73YHk7
Video of the Lego Queen Mary 2
Information sources:”The Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg” – Kraichgau Verlag; http://www.imm.hamburg.de.