Hamburg Historical Buildings (Self Guided), Hamburg

Hamburg is well known for the combination of its history, culture and the aspects of modern life in its architecture. The old buildings, harmonized with the recent, extravagant urban development, make for an unforgettable sights of the city. Take this self-guided walking tour to enjoy the vibrant and diverse beauty of Hamburg's historical buildings!
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Hamburg Historical Buildings Map

Guide Name: Hamburg Historical Buildings
Guide Location: Germany » Hamburg (See other walking tours in Hamburg)
Guide Type: Self-guided Walking Tour (Sightseeing)
# of Attractions: 11
Tour Duration: 2 Hour(s)
Travel Distance: 2.8 Km or 1.7 Miles
Author: Gloria
Sight(s) Featured in This Guide:
  • Chilehaus (Chile House)
  • St. Jacobi Church
  • Hulbe-Haus (Pond House)
  • St. Peter's Church
  • Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall)
  • Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)
  • The Old Post Office
  • Broschek House
  • Laeiszhalle (Laeisz Hall)
  • The Hanseatic Supreme Courthouse
  • The Church of Mercy
1
Chilehaus (Chile House)

1) Chilehaus (Chile House)

The Chilehaus is a ten-storey office building in Hamburg, Germany, a prime example of brick architecture of the 1920s. This building is located on a site of approximately 6,000m² spanning the Fischertwiete street. It is famed for its top, which is reminiscent of a ship's prow, and the facades, which meet at a very sharp angle at the corner of the Pumpen and Niedernstrasse.

Because of the accentuated vertical elements and the recessed upper storeys, as well as the curved facade on the Pumpen street, the building has a touch of lightness, despite its enormous size. The building 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 building was built using 4.8 million dark Oldenburg bricks.
Sight description based on wikipedia
2
St. Jacobi Church

2) St. Jacobi Church

St. Jacobi Church is one of the five Lutheran churches found in Hamburg city centre. It is located in the Neustadt quarter, close to Mönckebergstraße, one of the city’s main shopping streets. The first recorded mention of the church was in 1255, when it was listed as a small chapel outside of Hamburg’s city walls. It soon became a central part of the growing medieval city, and was replaced by a three naved hall church, similar to the nearby St. Petri church. The fourth nave was added in the 15th century. .

St. Jacobi was destroyed by the extensive bombing of Hamburg during World War II. The church was rebuilt in 1963, in an unusual style featuring medieval design and a modern spire. Many of the church’s original features, including its 60-register baroque organ, survived the bombings and were installed in the new church. The organ, the largest in Northern Europe, can be heard at the church’s main service, held each Sunday morning.

Other medieval relics held within the modern church building include three altars dating from the 14th century, and the historic Ministers’ Room, featuring murals and landscape paintings by Johann Riesenberger. The stained glass windows, created by Charles Crodel, are a modern addition to this aesthetically pleasing place of worship.
3
Hulbe-Haus (Pond House)

3) Hulbe-Haus (Pond House)

Hulbe Haus is a former art trading house located on Mönckebergstraße, one of Hamburg’s main shopping streets. Protruding into the street ahead of the adjacent, more contemporary buildings, it features a layered steeple topped with a golden cog. This is a symbol found across Hamburg and other Northern Germany port cities, like Hannover and Lübeck. Hulbe Haus is located in the centre of Hamburg’s modern city centre, close to St. Petri church and the Showroom Bischofsburg. It currently houses a department store on its lower floors, in keeping with its fashionable surroundings.

The red brick Hulbe Haus building dates from 1910, and was built by Henry Grell. Its façade is in the Dutch Renaissance style. The building is also notable for its proliferation of ‘Green Men’ carved into sandstone blocks around the façade. ‘Green Men’ is the collective name given to these carvings of mysterious bearded men with contorted faces. Closely resembling an image of God seen in many Christian works of art, they have been sighted in Thailand and China, and some carvings are believed to pre-date Christianity. Hulbe Haus is a must see for hunters of ‘green men’ – there are over a dozen found on this ornate and unusual building.
4
St. Peter's Church

4) St. Peter's Church

A cathedral has existed on this site for centuries. Records indicate that St. Peter's was built in the late 12th century before being rebuilt in the Gothic style during the 1300s. The most important St. Peter's artifacts are the bronze lion-head door handles, which date to 1342.

St. Peter's Church was heavily damaged in the Great Fire of 1842. However, many of the artworks, including the lion-head door handles, were saved.

After the fire, the church was rebuilt. The 132-meter-tall (433 foot) tower was completed in 1878.

Inside the church, visitors will find many important artworks. A 1460 Gothic mural shows the church's first bishop, Ansgar of Bremen. A statue created in the late 1400s also depicts Ansgar of Bremen. Two 17th century Gottfried Libalt paintings, Jacob's Dream and Christ's Birth are on display in the cathedral.

Another important painting is Christams 1813 in St. Peter's. This painting depicts the Hamburg citizens locked in the church for refusing to feed Napolean's occupying troops.

Visitors are welcome to climb the 544 steps to the church's viewing platform. This is the highest viewing platform in the city, and guests can look out over the city center, Alster Lake, and the port.
5
Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall)

5) Hamburger Rathaus (Hamburg City Hall) (must see)

The old city hall was destroyed in 1842, and it took until 1897 for the new city hall to be inaugurated. Hamburg City Hall's exterior has a Neo-Renaissance style. This massive building has an interior area of 17,000 square meters (182,986 square feet). The tower is 112 meters (367 feet) tall.

The new city hall was built to show Hamburg's immense wealth and prosperity. It is the seat of Hamburg's parliament, mayor, and senate. Heads of State such as Emperor Haile Salassie I, Mohammed Reza Pahlavi, and Queen Elizabeth II have been received in this impressive building.

The building's elaborate facade features 20 statues of emperors. The main entrance features a wrought iron gate. Don't miss the entrance hall's 16 sandstone pillars. Portraits adorning the pillars represent 68 Hamburg citizens. The imposing Sardinian marble staircase depicts the journey of life.

The Imperial Hall has a painted ceiling that depicts German merchant shipping, while pressed leather wall coverings decorate the walls. A phoenix representing Hamburg's recovery after the 1842 fire stands above the fireplace in Phoenix Hall.

The Senate chamber features a glass roof that fills the chamber with light and represents ancient open-air council meetings.

In the Grand Ballroom, visitors will find enormous paintings showing Hamburg's history from 800 to 1900. The impressive chandeliers have 278 lights each.

Hamburg City Hall's lobby is open to the public and is used for exhibitions and concerts. The balcony features a mosaic featuring the city's coat of arms and motto and depicts Hamburg's patron goddess Hammonia.

The courtyard features a fountain representing Hygieia, the Greek goddess of health and hygiene.
6
Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)

6) Alsterarkaden (Alster Arcade)

Alster Arcade is an attractive shopping area overlooking Hamburg's waterways. The bright white arches reflecting in the waterway create an area reminiscent of Venice.

Alster Arcade was designed by architect Alexis de Chateauneuf and built in 1846. Its construction after the Great Fire of 1842 was part of Hamburg's architectural revival. Walk along the canal while window shopping, or stop at one of the many attractive cafes.

The covered walkway provides shade during the summer and protection from the rain. Even during the winter, guests enjoy sitting outside and enjoying the beautiful views.

Alster Arcade is especially attractive at dusk as the city lights are reflected in the waterways.
7
The Old Post Office

7) The Old Post Office

The Old Post Office is situated immediately next to the Hamburger Rathaus, in the Neustadt area of the city which houses many of Hamburg’s civic buildings. It was designed by Alexis de Chateauneuf, a German architect tasked with creating and restoring a number of buildings followed the Great Fire of Hamburg in 1842. The ground floor of the former Post Office building bears a series of arches similar to the nearby Alsterarkaden, also designed by de Chateauneuf. Opened in 1847, the building was later converted into a shopping arcade, which it remains to this day.

The Old Post Office building, rather than a reconstruction of a damaged or destroyed landmark, was created by the architect to solve a problem particular to Hamburg. The city covers a large area, divided by rivers and lakes, and faced many challenges to set up basic networks, including transportation, sanitation and a postal service. In 19th century Hamburg, four different regional companies delivered post around the city – Hamburg’s city post office, Thurn & Taxi, the royal Hannover post office and the Swedish postal service. This building, with four separate entrances and extensive mail transfer facilities, began the process of centralizing postal services in this growing city state.
8
Broschek House

8) Broschek House

Broschek Haus is located on the corner of Heuberg and Große Bleichen, in the historic Neustadt quarter of Hamburg. Built in 1925 and 1926 as headquarters for the Broschek publishing company, it was designed by renowned architect Fritz Hoger. An example of the Expressionist architectural movement popular in 1920s Germany, the building has an unusual stepped shape, with the upper three floors set back from the lower half of the building. It was initially supposed to be topped with a steeple – one of many extravagant features suggested by Hoger that were ultimately declined by the Broschek directors.

The building is now a luxury hotel, well placed for most of the city’s sights. It served as a publishing house until World War 2, whilst the national newspaper Die Welt was produced here under British occupation in 1946. Whilst the architect’s original plan was never fully realized, there are many interesting features which make Broschek Haus stand out from the many other grand office buildings in central Hamburg. There are gold triangles jutting out from the dark red brick work – when the sun catches the building’s exterior, they give the impression of sails glinting in the sunlight. There is also a small gold statue of the architect, hidden on a corner of this large office block.
9
Laeiszhalle (Laeisz Hall)

9) Laeiszhalle (Laeisz Hall)

The Laeiszhalle is Hamburg’s most popular concert hall, and regularly hosts internationally renowned classical performers and recitals. It is located on Johannes Brahms Platz, an elegant city square named after one of history’s finest composers, who was born in Hamburg. A striking neo-Baroque building, it hosts the Hamburg State Opera and Hamburg Music Festival each year. Formerly known as the Musikhalle Hamburg, it is named after F. Laeisz, a shipping company which founded the venue. The hall was planned by local architect Martin Haller, a lifelong Hamburger who also designed the Rathaus building, and became a member of parliament in the city.

First opened in 1908, the Laeiszhalle is the premier classical music venue in a city with a rich musical heritage, from Brahms to the Beatles, who spent many years living in the city. It will soon be joined by the Elbe Philharmonic Hall, a new venue due to open in the HafenCity in 2015. Both venues will work in partnership to attract the most stellar names in the classical field to Hamburg. It wouldn’t be the first time – Richard Strauss, Sergei Prokofiev and Igor Stravinsky have all performed or conducted their own works within this historic concert hall.
10
The Hanseatic Supreme Courthouse

10) The Hanseatic Supreme Courthouse

The building of The Hanseatic Supreme Courthouse was planned and constructed at the beginning of the XX century by Lundt Kallmorgen and served as the supreme court of Hamburg, Bremen and Lubeck. Today it also hosts the Constitutional Court and is considered the center of the judicial forum, which includes the criminal and civil courthouses.
11
The Church of Mercy

11) The Church of Mercy

Gnadenkirche, or the Church of Mercy, is located on a busy section of Holstenglacis, a road which forms the northern boundary of the Planten un Blomen public park. Built in 1907, it is a neo-Roman style church. It is notable for its distinctive central steeple with a diamond shaped roof. Inside, the small church hall is built around the altar and pulpit, giving the space a theatrical feel. This style is typical of Reformation ecclesiastical architecture. This style dominated protestant religious buildings before 1900, but was less common in the 20th century.

The Church of Mercy is one of several Protestant churches in the city of Hamburg. Traditionally a Catholic city, it fully embraced the reformation, and most city centre churches that are still open are Protestant or Lutheran places of worship. This church, located on a junction where traffic noise is sadly always audible, is close to the Reeperbahn and Landungsbrücken in the city’s bohemian St. Pauli district, north west of the city centre. It is believed to have earned its name due to an image of Mary found within the church which people will travel to the church to view. These churches, generally small city chapels, are known as churches of mercy, or grace chapels.

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