As well as being an industrial city and a major port, Hamburg contains fine architecture and offers a rich cultural life, centerpieced by the Elbphilharmonie, one of the world’s most impressive contemporary concert halls. Historically, Hamburg was a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Like Amsterdam and Venice, it is a city of canals. Most itineraries include the richly decorated neo-Renaissance city hall, the grand St. Michael’s Church, the old warehouse district (Speicherstadt) and the lakefront promenade (Jungfernstieg). Culinary specialties include pannfisch (fresh local fish in mustard sauce), labskaus (a hash of beef, potatoes, onion and often beets, topped with an egg and herring) and matjes (a kind of marinated herring). Here, a Hamburger is a resident of the city, not a menu item.

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