Deichstraße Historic Street - History and Facts | History Hit

Deichstraße Historic Street

Hamburg, Germany

Amy Irvine

18 Feb 2021
Image Credit: Shutterstock

About Deichstraße Historic Street

Deichstraße (“Dike Street”) is the oldest remaining street in the Altstadt of Hamburg, dating back to the 14th century.

History of Deichstraße

Located adjacent to Nikolaifleet canal and close to the Speicherstadt, the timber-framed houses with their baroque fronts are characteristic of the area and some of the last remainders of a time long gone.

Back in the 17th century, large parts of the Hamburg city centre looked like Deichstraße. The houses combined counting houses, living quarters and storage spaces all under the same roof, and could be entered from either land or from water.

Between 5-8 May 1842, the ‘Great Fire’ broke out, actually in Deichstraße (42) itself, destroying many of the original buildings – and indeed large parts of the city. The southern end of the street was spared, with the fire spreading mostly northeastwards, driven by the wind.

Consequently, Deichstraße is one of the last remnants of historic Hamburg, along with a few other alleys and the oldest remaining warehouse, at Peterstraße 27, built in 1780. The cause of the Great Fire remains unknown.

A century later, Allied bombers left devastating destruction in their wake during World War Two. Hamburg was an easy city for them to reach and considered an appropriate retaliation for the Nazi attacks on London and South England. Fortunately, most of the houses on Deichstraße remained intact.

Large traffic management projects in the 1970’s almost caused the demolition of the old houses, but they were saved by a referendum, and funds were raised to pay for their renovation.

Deichstraße today

Today, Deichstraße (along with Neustadt’s Peterstraße) now contains carefully restored 17th-19th century houses, and is all that is left of the old harbour district.

Deichstraße was once an old merchant street, but today it hosts many old established and traditional restaurants as well as boutiques. It’s an ideal area for a stroll along the cobbles to take in the views of the houses, or to get a bite to eat in one of its many restaurants or cafes.

Getting to Deichstraße

Deichstraße is very close to the Rathausmarkt, next to the historic Speicherstadt. To get here on public transport, take the U3 to Rödingsmarkt, or bus routes 17, 607 and 608 to Rödingsmarkt. It is about a 20 minute walk from Hamburg’s main station.

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