Top Historic Sights in Hamburg, Germany

Explore the historic highlights of Hamburg

Hamburg Town Hall

Hamburg Town Hall was built from 1886 to 1897 and with its impressive architecture dominates the centre of the city. The magnificent sandstone building houses the city's senate and parliament. On the outside the architectural style is neo-renaissance, which is abandoned inside for several historical elements. It is one of the few completely preserved buildings of historicism in Hamburg. Built in a period of wealth and pr ...
Founded: 1886-1897 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. Michael's Church

St. Michael's Church is a landmark of Hamburg and considered to be one of the finest Hanseatic Protestant baroque churches. The church was purposely built Protestant unlike many other Hamburg churches which were originally built by Roman Catholics and were converted to Protestantism during the Reformation. It is dedicated to the Archangel Michael. A large bronze statue, standing above the portal of the church shows the ar ...
Founded: 1786 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. James' Church

St. James" Church is one of the five principal churches of Hamburg. The history of the church goes back to 1255 when St. James" was a small chapel located outside the Hamburg city walls. After these were extended in 1260, it became part of the Hamburg city territory. Between 1350 and 1400, the chapel was replaced by a hall church with three naves, similar to St. Peter"s. Around one hundred years later, a f ...
Founded: 1255 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. Nicholas' Church

The Gothic Revival Church of St. Nicholas was formerly one of the five Lutheran Hauptkirchen (main churches) in the city of Hamburg. The church lies now in ruins, with only its tower remaining, serving as a memorial and an important architectural landmark. The church was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876 and is still the second-tallest structure in Hamburg. With the founding of the Nikolai settlement an ...
Founded: 1846-1863 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Internationales Maritimes Museum

The Internationales Maritimes Museum houses Peter Tamm"s collection of model ships, construction plans, uniforms, and maritime art, amounting to over 40,000 items and more than one million photographs. It opened in a former warehouse in 2008.
Founded: 2008 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. Peter's Church

St. Peter"s Church in Hamburg stands on the site of many former cathedrals. It was probably built originally in 1189 and first documented in 1195. In about 1310, the cathedral was rebuilt in a Gothic style and was completed in approximately 1418. The bronze lion-head door handles, the oldest work of art of Hamburg, date from the foundation of the tower in 1342. A second tower, built in 1516, towered above even the H ...
Founded: 1189 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Kunsthalle Hamburg

The Hamburg Kunsthalle is one of the largest art museums in the Germany. The Kunsthalle has its origins in 1849. The collection grew quickly, and it soon became necessary to provide a building. The original red brick Kunsthalle was built from 1863 to 1869, designed by architects Georg Theodor Schirrmacher and Hermann von der Hude, and financed largely through private donations. The first director became the art historian ...
Founded: 1849 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Chilehaus

The Chilehaus is a ten-story office building in Hamburg. It is an exceptional example of the 1920s Brick Expressionism style of architecture. The Chilehaus was designed by the architect Fritz Höger and built between 1922 and 1924. It was commissioned by the shipping magnate Henry B. Sloman, who made his fortune trading saltpeter from Chile, hence the name Chile House. The cost of construction is difficult to determin ...
Founded: 1922-1924 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

St. Catherine's Church

St. Catherine's Church is one of the five principal Lutheran churches of Hamburg. The base of its spire, dating from the 13th century, is the second oldest building preserved in the city, after the lighthouse on Neuwerk island. It is situated on an island near what was formerly the southern boundary of the medieval city, opposite the historic harbour area on the Elbe river. It traditionally served as the church of the sea ...
Founded: 1256 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Hamburg Cathedral

St. Mary"s Cathedral stands in Danziger Straße and was built between 1890 and 1893 to the designs of Arnold Güldenpfennig. The church was erected in Romanesque revival style at the instigation of Bishop Bernhard Höting of Osnabrück, then simultaneously officiating as Vicar Apostolic of the Vicariate Apostolic of the Nordic Missions of Germany, then competent for Hamburg"s Catholics. It was t ...
Founded: 1890-1893 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Jenisch House

Jenisch House (Jenisch-Haus) is a country house in Hamburg built in the 19th century and an example of Hanseatic lifestyle and neoclassical architecture. As of 2008, Jenisch House is the home of the Museum für Kunst und Kultur an der Elbe. Jenisch House is located in Jenisch Park, Hamburg"s oldest landscaped park. The park was landscaped by Caspar Voght as a model farm and arboretum about 1800. It is located in ...
Founded: 1831 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Ohlsdorf Cemetery

Ohlsdorf Cemetery is the fourth-largest cemetery in the world. Most of the people buried at the cemetery are civilians, but there is also a large number of victims of war from various nations. It was established in 1877 as a non-denominational and multi-regional burial site outside of Hamburg. The cemetery has an area of 391 hectares (966 acres) with 12 chapels, over 1.5 million burials in more than 280,000 burial sites a ...
Founded: 1877 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Wellingsbüttel Manor

Wellingsbüttel Manor is baroque manor house in Hamburg, which once enjoyed imperial immediacy (Reichsfreiheit). Wellingsbüttel was documented for the first time in 1296. In the early 19th century it was the residence and place of death of Friedrich Karl Ludwig, Duke of Schleswig-Holstein-Sonderburg-Beck, the penultimate duke, who was an ancestor of the present-day British royal family. Wellingsbüttel Manor was elevate ...
Founded: 1750 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Neuengamme Concentration Camp

The Neuengamme concentration camp was established in 1938 by the SS organisation. It was operated by the Nazis from 1938 to 1945. Over that period an estimated 106,000 prisoners were held at Neuegamme and at its subcamps. The camp served the needs of the German war machine and also carried out exterminations through labour. The inmates were spread over approximately 80 subcamps across northern Germany. At least 50,000 suc ...
Founded: 1938 | Location: Hamburg, Germany

Featured Historic Landmarks, Sites & Buildings

Historic Site of the week

Wroclaw Town Hall

The Old Town Hall of Wrocław is one of the main landmarks of the city. The Old Town Hall's long history reflects developments that have taken place in the city since its initial construction. The town hall serves the city of Wroclaw and is used for civic and cultural events such as concerts held in its Great Hall. In addition, it houses a museum and a basement restaurant.

The town hall was developed over a period of about 250 years, from the end of 13th century to the middle of 16th century. The structure and floor plan changed over this extended period in response to the changing needs of the city. The exact date of the initial construction is not known. However, between 1299 and 1301 a single-storey structure with cellars and a tower called the consistory was built. The oldest parts of the current building, the Burghers’ Hall and the lower floors of the tower, may date to this time. In these early days the primary purpose of the building was trade rather than civic administration activities.

Between 1328 and 1333 an upper storey was added to include the Council room and the Aldermen’s room. Expansion continued during the 14th century with the addition of extra rooms, most notably the Court room. The building became a key location for the city’s commercial and administrative functions.

The 15th and 16th centuries were times of prosperity for Wroclaw as was reflected in the rapid development of the building during that period. The construction program gathered momentum, particularly from 1470 to 1510, when several rooms were added. The Burghers’ Hall was re-vaulted to take on its current shape, and the upper story began to take shape with the development of the Great Hall and the addition of the Treasury and Little Treasury.

Further innovations during the 16th century included the addition of the city’s Coat of arms (1536), and the rebuilding of the upper part of the tower (1558–59). This was the final stage of the main building program. By 1560, the major features of today’s Stray Rates were established.

The second half of the 17th century was a period of decline for the city, and this decline was reflected in the Stray Rates. Perhaps by way of compensation, efforts were made to enrich the interior decorations of the hall. In 1741, Wroclaw became a part of Prussia, and the power of the City diminished. Much of the Stray Rates was allocated to administering justice.

During the 19th century there were two major changes. The courts moved to a separate building, and the Rates became the site of the city council and supporting functions. There was also a major program of renovation because the building had been neglected and was covered with creeping vines. The town hall now has several en-Gothic features including some sculptural decoration from this period.

In the early years of the 20th century improvements continued with various repair work and the addition of the Little Bear statue in 1902. During the 1930s, the official role of the Rates was reduced and it was converted into a museum. By the end of World War II Town Hall suffered minor damage, such as aerial bomb pierced the roof (but not exploded) and some sculptural elements were lost. Restoration work began in the 1950s following a period of research, and this conservation effort continued throughout the 20th century. It included refurbishment of the clock on the east facade.