The Old Elbe Tunnel
When the Old Elbe Tunnel, also called "St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel", was opened in 1911, it was a technical sensation. Today, it is a nostalgic and lovingly tended piece of Hamburg history - and has already celebrated its 100th anniversary.
The distinctive, square, domed structure on the St. Pauli landing bridges houses the machinery and the four large lift cages, which have been transporting people and vehicles at a depth of nearly 24 metres since 1911. After 426.5 metres beneath the Elbe and through two tiled tunnels with a diameter of 6 metres, you return to daylight in Steinwerder.
The Old Elbe Tunnel was the first river tunnel on the continent - and became a necessity since the growth of the Port of Hamburg was increasingly moving to the southern side of the Elbe and so an improved transport connection was required. It was ultimately modelled on the Clyde Tunnel in Glasgow after plans for a suspended railway, traject and viaduct had been rejected. During the Second World War, the shaft house of the Elbe Tunnel was badly damaged by bombing raids on the south side of the Elbe. However, much of the majolica with its depictions of aquatic life and traditional designs remains in tact.
The Old Elbe Tunnel has been a protected monument since 2003 - and on the occasion of its 100th anniversary it was also honoured as a "Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany". Numerous film teams have shot on location down below, and this time-tested tunnel was also where a successful world record for model trains took place. The St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel can also be rented for events. A somewhat different idea for taking a walk: After passing through the tunnel, you can enjoy an unforgettable panoramic view of the edge of the harbour, St. Michaelis and the "Rickmer Rickmers" from the southern bank of the Elbe.
Further information on the Old Elbe Tunnel or the "St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel" can be found on the website of the Hamburg Port Authority.