Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and has been the site of a settlement since the castle was first constructed in 808 AD, with the burg portion of the name translating into English as fort. After Emperor Charlemagne had the fort constructed a settlement grew up around the fort and led to the city growing over the following centuries. Various invading armies occupied the city until the 20th century, when the majority of the southern portion of the city was destroyed by Allied bombing during World War II.
Because of the large amount of bombing and the resulting firestorm of 1943 the city has a varied skyline, which includes many churches, the 19th century Church of St. Nicholas once held the record as the worlds tallest building. The architecture of the city takes in everything from Gothic styles through to modern architectural marvels. Visitors are often amazed by the fact Hamburg has more bridges than any other European city with more than 2,300 bridges spanning the streams and rivers of Hamburg.
The city is often known as the capital of German sports, with options for visitors ranging from soccer through to Australian Rules Football and field Hockey. The largest sporting club in the city is arguably Hamburger SV, one of the founder members of the Bundesliga who play their home games at the Imtech Arena. Various individual events take place alongside those featuring local sports teams, which include World Cup cycling events and Germany's largest tennis venue, the AM Rothenbaum.
Because of its location close to the North Sea and the rivers and streams that cover the city, Hamburg has a large public transport system that includes buses, trains and water going ferries. Hamburg airport is the oldest in Germany and reflects the position of the city as the second in the country.