Despite sitting 65 miles inland on the Elbe River, Hamburg is a seafaring town (pop. 1.8 million). It is 800 years old, but the 2-year-old glass-and-steel Elbe Philharmonic (Elbphilharmonie) concert hall below hints that Hamburg is determined to be a vibrant 21st Century city as well.
The wave form of the roofline is a reminder that Hamburg dominated trade on the Baltic and North seas from the 12th to the 15th centuries, and its history and growth have been tied to shipping and transportation since. Depending on whom you ask, its port ranks first in Germany, second in Europe and third in the world (after New York and London), and it can accommodate the largest ships on the sea.
While its economy is still dominated by sea trade, Hamburg also is a center of German publishing. And it is one of three German cities (others: Berlin and Bremen) that is a state as well, with its own state offices and legislature.