No two places in Hamburg embody the changing commerce of the city and its love affair with the Elbe as vividly as the harbor districts of the Speicherstadt and the HafenCity. Built around a series of narrow canals, the stunning redbrick, Gothic architecture of the former’s warehouses (which make up the largest complex of integrated warehouses in the world and have recently been named a UNESCO World Heritage site) sits next to the gleaming glass and steel of Europe’s largest urban renewal development project. The Speicherstadt’s 100-year-old warehouses continue to store and trade in everything from coffee to Oriental carpets, but now count restaurants, museums, and the world’s largest model railway amongst their tenants. The HafenCity, meanwhile, has become a popular site for the headquarters of many of the city’s largest firms, as well as home to a number of new apartment blocks, hotels and restaurants, a university, and the jewel in its crown, the hugely ambitious Elbphilarmonie concert hall, which is scheduled to open in 2017.
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