World’s Largest Historic Warehouse Complex and Office District are Hamburg’s First World Heritage Site
The UNESCO World Heritage Committee has approved Hamburg’s application for the “Speicherstadt and Chilehaus with Kontorhaus District” to be included in the UNESCO World Heritage list, it was announced today at the Committee meeting in Bonn, Germany. The Committee, which comprises 21 UNESCO member states, acknowledged the outstanding universal value of Hamburg’s urban, maritime warehouse complex and office district dating back to the early 20th century.
Hamburg’s First Mayor Olaf Scholz comments: “I am absolutely delighted about this success. We, the people of Hamburg, are proud that the world’s most high-ranking expert committee acknowledged the historic and architectural significance of our warehouse district. The district’s uniqueness becomes even more evident when comparing it to maritime warehouse complexes and other early 20th century modern office ensembles in cities around the world. We are aware of this great honor and are happy to assume the responsibility to protect and convey this heritage.”
The World Heritage Committee based its decision on the belief that the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District are “an outstanding example” of buildings and ensembles which “illustrate significant stages in human history”. The two complementing mono-functional areas include the historic Speicherstadt warehouse district, defined by a connecting network of roads, canals and bridges dating from 1885 to 1927, and the modern red-brick architecture of the Kontorhaus office building ensembles from the 1920s to 1940s.
The Speicherstadt (which translates into “warehouse city”) is the world’s largest continuous warehouse complex. It extends over 64 acres in the heart of Hamburg’s port, and comprises 17 building complexes. The warehouses are constructed on oak piles in the Wilhelmine Gothic red-brick architectural style, with their gables and playful turrets reflecting in the canals. Behind its massive walls, the more than 3.2 million square feet of storage space hold high-value goods such as coffee, tea, cocoa, spices, tobacco, and, in recent decades, oriental carpets.
Speicherstadt is one of Hamburg’s major – and most photographed – tourism highlights and a main attraction of the historic barge cruises. Museums at the site include the Hamburg Dungeon, the Speicherstadt museum and the Miniatur Wunderland. Urban development of nearby HafenCity has also been drawing advertising agencies, entertainment, fashion showrooms and restaurants to the Speicherstadt area.
Adjacent to the Speicherstadt, the Kontorhaus district is considered to be continental Europe’s first business district. Built in the 1920s and 1930s under city planner Fritz Schumacher, the most eminent buildings include the Chilehaus, the Messberghof and the Sprinkenhof. The Chilehaus, which is reminiscent of a ship’s bow, represents the most significant artistic and architectural achievement of German Brick Expressionism, and strongly influenced brick architecture of the 1920s and 1930s in Northern Europe. It is also one of Germany’s first high-rise buildings.
To learn more, please visit world heritage site, Chilehaus.
Tourist attractions and special offers relating to the Speicherstadt and the Kontorhaus District can be found here. Additional information on Hamburg: www.hamburg-tourism.de.
Courtesy Hamburg Marketing GmbH and KMS Communications, Inc. Los Angeles
Photos courtesy Speicherstadt (day) – Ingo Bölter
Speicherstadt (evening) – Christian Spahrbier
Chilehaus – Andreas Vallbracht