© instagram.com/iphotography_de
© instagram.com/iphotography_de

Churches of Hamburg

Higher, Pretty, Older

They have shaped Hamburg's cityscape for centuries: the large churches in Hamburg. While the districts are developing at a rapid pace, it seems that the churches in Hamburg are defying all changes. They are witnesses of the past, places of faith and landmarks of our city.


Hamburg - quite tiny from above

Today, the churches of Hamburg are no longer just places of prayer or sanctuary. They exert a unique fascination that captivates both Hamburg's locals and their guests. As soon as you are standing in front of one of these majestic as well as old churches in Hamburg, you'll realize the true greatness. The ascent of the towers, which can reach up to 147 metres in height, only becomes vertiginous. But the route is worthwhile: From nowhere else in Hamburg you can have such a clear and wide view over the city. All of a sudden, the cosmopolitan city of Hamburg seems so small - from above.

© Hamburg Tourismus GmbH
© M. Fahning
© M. Fahning
© Mahnmal St. Nikolai e.V.
© Christian Spahrbier
© M. Zapf
© M. Zapf
© Mahnmal St. Nikolai e.V.
© Mahnmal St. Nikolai e.V.

5 Facts about the churches in Hamburg

The memorial St. Nikolai was the highest building in the world from 1874 to 1877.

Every day at 10 a. m. and 9 p. m., the Michel's tower wind player plays a chorale with the trumpet.

The Riverboat Church of Hamburg is the only floating church in Germany.

Today's St. Michaelis Church, the "Michel", is already the third church building on this site.

There are more than 100 churches of all faiths in Hamburg.

Portrait of the 5 main churches in Hamburg

St. Michaelis - the "Michel" is probably Hamburg's best-known church. As a baroque church for the poor, the building has an eventful past: in 1750 and 1906, the Michel was severely damaged by major fires in the city. The Second World War also left its mark on Hamburg's Michel. But the Hamburgers built up their landmark again and again. Today it is a worldwide symbol of freedom in the Hanseatic city.

In the St. Petri Church, unlike the other churches in Hamburg, it is possible to climb 544 steps up to the 123-metre-high top of the tower. From here, visitors can marvel through porthole-like windows in all directions of the city. The St. Petri Church is the oldest main church in the city and today attracts members from all over the city. In the past, it was primarily a house of prayer for the rich.

The window-like openings are its hallmark: St. Katharinen in HafenCity. The church was built on 1,100 larch trunks in the middle of an embanked marsh island. The crown on the church spire makes the St. Katharinen Church Hamburg unique and, according to some legends, comes from the lost treasure of the pirate Klaus Störtebecker. St. Katharinen is a church of shipbuilders and merchants in Hamburg.

St. Jacobi impresses with its combination of medieval church building and modern church tower. At first, it wasn't even part of the city. It was not until the enlargement of Hamburg in 1260 that it became a church in Hamburg. The modern church tower was rebuilt until 1962 after it was hit hard by bombs during the Second World War. Among the special highlights, however, are the numerous art treasures inside the church.

Of the former highest building in the world, only the church tower is still standing today: the memorial St. Nikolai. The former church, which was built in the neo-Gothic style, was so badly damaged that it could not be rebuilt for financial reasons. Today, the memorial commemorates the victims of the Second World War. St. Nikolai in Hamburg Harvestehude was rebuilt as the new main church. 

Churches in Hamburg survived fires and wars

Hamburg's churches have had to cope with a lot over the centuries. The Great Fire of 1842 destroyed not only a third of Hamburg's old town, but also the former St. Nicholas Church. Where the memorial St. Nikolai stands today, the citizens of Hamburg fought against the flames and lost. During the Second World War, the St. Nicholas Church fell victim to British bombardments. Today the new St. Nikolai is located in Harvestehude, while the St. Nikolai Memorial is open to visitors.

Until today, the churches in Hamburg tower into the sky as some of the city's tallest buildings. At 147 metres high, the St. Nikolai Memorial is the highest church building in Hamburg. St. Michaelis or "Michel" share the second place with the church St. Petri with 132 meters up to the top of the tower. The main church of St. Jacobi rises 125 metres above sea level.  With 116.7 meters the St. Katharinen church occupies fourth place. With a height of 89.4 metres, the main church of St. Nikolai takes fifth place.

The churches in Hamburg, i. e. St. Michaelis - The "Michel", the St. Petri Church, St. Katharinen, St. Jacobi and St. Nikolai as well as the memorial St. Nikolai attract many national and international visitors with their varied offerings.

Locations of the 5 big churches in Hamburg

Show map

Loading results...
Wait a minute, please!

Your Hamburg Tourismus Team