Take A Walk Through Deichstraße, Hamburg’s Charming Old Town
If you're looking for a charming spot in Hamburg that's full of history and character, you'll want to check out Deichstraße. This old town district street runs along Nikolaifleet canal, and is lined with beautiful timber-framed townhouses. Keep reading to learn about the history of Deichstraße and what to do on your next trip there.
The history of Deichstraße
These houses on Deichstraße were once home to living quarters and storage spaces, and could be entered from land or water. Goods were delivered to them by canal boats, making this a really unique neighbourhood in the heart of the city.
The Great Fire
In the 17th century, a considerable amount of Hamburg looked similar to Deichstraße. However, this all changed after 1842 when the Great Fire occurred destroying many of the houses. The fire was so powerful and out-of-control that firefighters had no chance of containing it. Seeing no other recourse, city officials decided to detonate explosives at the old city hall and other buildings near the Trostbrücke bridge. Unfortunately, this only served to spread the flames, and it took firefighters nearly four days to bring them under control. Evidence of where the blaze finally ended in the city is still visible today - in fact, the street was renamed Brandsende, which means ‘Fire’s End’ in German.
Visit St. Nikolai Memorial
The summer of 1943 was a devastating time for the city of Hamburg. In retaliation for Nazi attacks on London, British and American forces carried out a series of bombing raids that left large parts of the city in ruins. Close to Deichstrasse, the St. Nikolai church was also destroyed. However, the church has since been rebuilt and now serves as a WWII memorial and museum. If you are a history fan, this is definitely worth a visit.
Today, the historic buildings have been refurbished and now house restaurants, cafes, and shops. Visitors can stroll along the canal, enjoying the scenery and the relaxed atmosphere of this unique neighbourhood.
Visit one of the Deichstraße restaurants or cafes
The Deichgraf is one of the most famous restaurants in Deichstraße, Hamburg, and it's well known for its salted meat labskaus. If you're not familiar with this dish, it's a kind of stew made with cured meats, potatoes and beetroot. Another popular restaurant on Deichstraße is Ti Breizh, in English "House of Brittany" which is known for its French specialties.
Explore the museums and sights at Speicherstadt
Speicherstadt is a stone's throw from Deichstraße street and a must-see for anyone visiting Hamburg. The warehousing district was built in the late 19th century and consists of a series of interconnected brick buildings, most of which are still in use today. Spanning an area of 260,000 square metres, the highlight of Speicherstadt is the historic warehouse building known as Deichtorhallen. This neo-gothic building was once used to store spices and other goods, and it now houses a modern art gallery. Other highlights include the Hamburger Kunsthalle art museum and the International Maritime Museum. If you're looking for a unique shopping experience, be sure to check out the shops and markets located within Speicherstadt's many warehouses.
Watch the ships at Sandtorkai
There's plenty to see outside the old warehouses too. In the long canals between the former storage buildings, you can catch smaller ships making their way through the area. If you're lucky, you might even see a ship being loaded or unloaded directly from the pier - a reminder of Sandtorkai's history as the first modern dock in Hamburg. Today, Sandtorkai is home to the Traditionsschiffhafen (lit. 'traditional ship harbour'), where you'll find up to 20 different historical ships. It's a great place to learn about Hamburg's maritime past, and there are also several restaurants and cafes dotted around the harbour if you need to refuel.