travelgrove Travel Guides

Hamburg History, Germany

Hamburg took its own name from its very first permanent edifice, a castle built by Emperor Charlemagne way back in 808 AD. The building was built made on a rock-strewn land in a marshland between Elbe and Alster. It was made to be the defense against the Slavic invasion. The fortress was named as Hammaburg - wherein burg means castle while Hamma remains vague. In Old High German, hamma means angle and hamme refers to pastureland. Thus, the angle can refer to a spatter of land or bend of a river.

It was in 1189 when the Imperial Free City was given to Hamburg, Germany by Frederick I. What came with it was a tax-free access to the Lower River Elbe. The charter, together with the city’s nearness to the top trade courses of the Baltic Sea and the North Sea, readily turned it into a chief port of Northern Europe. Hamburg’s trade union with Lubeck in the year 1241 spoted the foundation and hub of the influential Hanseatic League of the trading cities.

When it came to religion, Hamburg accepted Lutheranism in the year 1529 and also entertained Protestant refugees who came from France and the Netherlands. There were times when Hamburg was under the Danish rule while still a part of the Holy Roman Empire being an Imperial Free City. It was temporarily seized by Napoleon I and endured ruthlessly during the final campaign in Germany but still was able to raise its two forces in order to battle against Napoleon.

Then Hamburg was besieged more than a year by the Allied forces before the Russian forces freed Hamburg in 1814. In the 19th century, Hammonia, a patron goddess, appeared in poetic and romantic sources. Though she did not have her own mythology, she became the symbol of the city.

The great Fire destroyed a big part of the inner city in 1842. Also ruined by the fire were the town hall, churches and numerous structures. The reconstruction was in the running for more than 40 years. But, Hamburg’s growth was fully evident at the second half of the 19th century since the growth of the population helped in the city’s Atlantic trade. It turned into a cosmopolitan metropolis based upon worldwide business deal. Hamburg became a port for the majority of Eastern Europeans and Germans to leave for the United States and became the chief area for trading districts worldwide.

The very first prearranged clubs for family nudism and for social was established in Hamburg. The Freilichtpark or the Free-Light Park was opened too. It was found on a lake created by the Alster River, bordering a beach.

 When Germany lost its colonies after World War I, Hamburg also lost its numerous trading courses. The city suffered devastating air raids during WWII that executed over 40,000 Germans. Because of this, as well as the new guidelines in zoning of the 1960s, the inner part of the city lost a lot of its architectural history. Then, a concentration camp was built in Neuengamme from 1938 to 1945 and several buildings were preserved, thus serving today as a memorial.

Ask our travel experts a question about Hamburg

Things about Hamburg you may be interested in


Read our members' reviews about Hamburg

  • WazlingHamburg has a lot to offer
    review by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    Last time i have been at Hamburg, i havent had much time, but you could see, that thecity has got much to offer. A lot of shops in the inner city and you can find everywhere a place to sit down and enjoy a coffe. Also a wide variety of restaurants and bars are located there. If you like playing,...
view all

Read our members' travel tips about Hamburg

  • WazlingHarbour part of the city
    travel tip by Wazling posted more then 30 days ago
    If you are at Hamburg, go and visit the harbour area, especially the so called Speicherstadt. You can make boat rides through it and see the old store houses, sailing ships and really big freigthers.
view all


Members Who Have Been to Hamburg

the best travel deals provided by TravelZoo...
  •$459SAS Scandinavian Airlines flightSAS Scandinavian Airlines
    Chicago, IL (ORD)  Hamburg, DE (HAM)
    01/14/2023 10:05 pm
    Hamburg, DE (HAM)  Chicago, IL (ORD)
    01/22/2023 07:15 pm
  •$540Tap airways flightTap airways
    New York, NY (JFK)  Hamburg, DE (HAM)
    01/16/2023 10:00 pm
    Hamburg, DE (HAM)  New York, NY (JFK)
    01/25/2023 12:45 pm
  •$541British Airways flightBritish Airways
    Newark, NJ (EWR)  Hamburg, DE (HAM)
    01/16/2023 09:30 pm
    Hamburg, DE (HAM)  Newark, NJ (EWR)
    01/25/2023 03:20 pm

Hamburg City Ratings

  • Rating77%
    City Rank172
  • History & Culture: rated for 85%
  • Night Life & Entertainment: rated for 90%
  • Family & Fun: rated for 65%
  • Outdoors Activities: rated for 70%
  • Food: rated for 75%
  • Sightseeing: rated for 70%
  • Shopping: rated for 90%
  • Public Transportation: rated for 80%
  • Must visit this place: rated for 70%
   Welcome to Travelgrove  register tell a friend bookmark it