Not just the name, Speicherstadt (Warehouse Town), but also the atmosphere of cobbled streets, gables and turrets combine to make the area on the other side of Zollkanal (Tax Canal) a world apart from the city opposite. The red-brick architecture – a deliberate nod to Hanseatic days – of the largest continuous warehousing in the world sprang up from 1885 to 1927, providing storage for a city that had recently signed up to the fledgling Customs Union (1888) of the Second Reich. An entire residential district was razed, and nearly 24,000 people displaced to make way for it. Trade has leached away to deeper water, but things haven’t changed much in concept. A few importers still hoard goods tax-free until market prices provide a tidy profit and so strict are preservation orders on the area that goods are hoisted by block and tackle. Carved up by canals, its warehouses are piled high with crates and Middle Eastern carpets (it still houses Europe’s largest stock). While a museum provides details of the area’s past (see Speicherstadt museums), much of the pleasure comes in simply nosing about, especially from dusk, when spotlit warehouses rising sheer from the waterways is one of Hamburg’s most evocative sights. You can also experience the area at water-level on boat trips from St-Pauli-Landungsbrücken and Jungfernstieg.

 

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

Germany features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

The 10 best Baltic beach resorts

European beach holidays haven’t always been just about the Mediterranean. A century ago, the resorts along the Baltic Sea were just as likely to attract the E…

16 Mar 2018 • Jonathan Bousfield insert_drive_file Article
How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

How Syrians are keeping their culture alive in Berlin

Syria has been shattered by conflict since March 2011; more than 5 million people have been forced to flee the country and rebuild their lives elsewhere. Jessi…

28 Dec 2017 • Jessica Bateman local_activity Special feature
20 picturesque Christmas destinations

20 picturesque Christmas destinations

Dreaming of a trip this Christmas? We're here to help. From glittering cities to a few snowy escapes, here are 20 classic destinations for a festive break. …

12 Dec 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right