St. Nikolai Memorial
St. Nikolai Memorial

St. Nikolai Memorial

10.00-18.00 maj-september; fram till 17 oktober-april
Willy-Brandt-Straße 60, Hamburg, 20457

The basics

British and US forces executed Operation Gomorrah in the summer of 1943, destroying much of the city of Hamburg. Along with the spired tower, the crypt escaped intact, and that’s where you’ll find the museum. The eerily photogenic ruins also serve as a meeting place, and concerts, films, and lectures routinely occur here.

Once the tallest building in the world (483 feet, or 147 meters), today visitors can take a glass elevator up the tower to an observation deck 250 feet (76 meters) above the city. Needless to say, the views from up here could be described as “heavenly.”

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Things to know before you go

  • You’ll receive a 25% discount on admission with the Hamburg CARD.
  • The entrance to the museum is no longer wheelchair-accessible (until further notice).
  • From the observation deck, you can get a great view of the Speicherstadt.
  • Don’t miss the historic photos of Hamburg after the 1943 raids—and contrast them with what you see today.
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How to get there

Halfway between the Hamburger Rathaus (town hall) and the Speicherstadt, the St. Nikolai Memorial is in the thick of the Hamburg action. If you can’t walk there, the closest U-Bahn station is Rodingsmarkt; the closest S-Bahn is Stadthausbrucke. Otherwise, buses or taxis can get you there, too. Try to avoid driving, as street parking is limited.

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When to get there

While the church ruins are “open” 24/7—they’re simply a structure on the street—the museum and memorial are open during standard business hours every day except Tuesday. On Thursdays at 12pm, the cathedral’s carillon is played live. Beyond that, there’s no real “bad time” to visit Hamburg and the St. Nikolai Memorial.

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Where old meets new

The second-oldest church in Hamburg—itself an ancient city—has seen a lot of lives. It started as wood; by the mid-1300s, it would be converted to brick. Portions have burned down or crumbled many times; the version that fell to air raids was built in 1874. And though a new church dedicated to Saint Nicholas exists in the Harvestehude district, to locals, Nikolaikirche will likely always mean this very spot.

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