Monday, April 19, 2010

MyWorld Tuesday: Rathaus

This is the Hamburg city hall. The old Rathaus was destroyed in the great fire of 1842 and it took 44 years to complete the new one. Since the ground is swampy, it's build on 4000 oak poles.

It has 647 rooms and houses the Senate and the Parliament of Hamburg. Hamburg is a city state, one of three in Germany (Bremen and Berlin are the other two), that's why it has it's own government just like the other German federal states.

The statues on the facade represent German emperors and above them, the civic virtues Wisdom, Unity, Piety and Courage. This is a symbol for the independence of Hamburg from the emperors during the time of the Holy Roman Empire. It's status as a Freie und Hansestadt (Free and Hanseatic City) meant that no taxes were payed to the Emperor and that the Emperor did not rule the city directly, citizens xould for example not be drafted. To this day, citizens of Hamburg will not accept medals since by accepting medals and decorations granted by the state like the Federal Cross of Merit, since a medal is a (symbolic) pledge of allegiance by the person accepting it.

The statue on top of the right tower shows St. Michael conquering the devil, just like the statue over the entrance of the St. Michaelis church


Sylvia K said...

What a marvelous, interesting and informative post for the day! A great look at a part of your world! Your photos are wonderful! What a great building! Hope you have a wonderful week!


SandyCarlson said...

Hamburg is neat! Beautiful.

EG Wow said...

How interesting that this HUGE building is built on oak poles. It's a magnificent place.

ewok1993 said...

What a very interesting architecture. I would love to see what's inside.

noel said...


thanks for showing us a little bit about your corner of the world today....what a majestic rathaus, hamburg looks beautiful

J Bar said...

Sydney - City and Suburbs

This Is My Blog - fishing guy said...

Jennifer: That building is a wonderful example of the architecture of Europe. It is truly special in its design.

Gattina said...

I have never been in Hamburg but I want to visit my homeland one day also up to the north. I lived in Bonn before I moved to Brussels with my parents and that was 50 years ago, lol ! On the Brussels' city hall there is also the statue St. Michael, killing the devil !

Carver said...

That's a beautiful town hall and such an interesting post.

Postcards from Wildwood said...

This was an interesting read - I didn't know Hamburg was a city state and the implications for that re acceptance of medals. I was in this very square 7 1/2 years ago watching Father Christmas fly over on his sleigh!