As the port characterizes the south of the city, the Binnenalster and Aussenalster lakes define the centre. Created when the Alster rivulet was dammed in the thirteenth century, the lakes were ignored until the 1800s, when they caught the eye of the city’s wealthy burghers, who colonized the area around them and strolled their banks. During a Sunday constitutional, families paraded their unmarried daughters (“Jungfern”) beside the Binnenalster’s banks on Jungfernstieg, still a pleasing promenade lined by cafés despite its current incarnation as a busy road. Eligible offspring in tow or not, the Alsterwanderweg path remains a popular walk around the adjacent Aussenalster lake – the picture-postcard view across the Binnenalster to the city spires is from Lombardsbrücke. Alternatively, cruises on the Alster lakes depart from quays on Jungfernstieg and also tour into canals of the wealthy northern suburbs; maps from tourist information have details.

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