Hamburg - German HarborFounded in 810 by Charmlemagne, Hamburg began its life as a walled city. Now it has a reputation for a fun, modern outlook and art nouveau buildings.
Most of the city burnt to the ground in 1842 during a massive fire, and bombing in WW2 added to the loss of ancient buildings. Rebuilding was done with style, and you can find both faithful recreations of old structures as well as modern creations. All of these coexist on a land criss-crossed with canals and oasting over 1,000 bridges - more than Venice.
Hamburg is located where the Elbe River opens up and prepares to head to the North Sea. There are two artificial lakes in its center - the Binnenalster and Aussenalster. There are churches and art museums, shopping and restaurants. There's the Tierpark, a zoo dating back to 1848 that boasts a wide variety of inhabitants.
Beer lovers will note that St. Pauli is the red-light district of Hamburg, and boasts the original St. Pauli's Girls. There's even an erotic art museum there!
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