Divided by the Binnenalster (inner Alster lake) and the Kleine Alster canal, the Altstadt (Old Town) and Neustadt (New Town) form the heart of Hamburg’s Innenstadt (inner city). Stretching from Hauptbahnhof to Hamburg’s town hall and down to the canals of the Speicherstadt and the Elbe, the Altstadt was heavily bombed during World War II (as was the Neustadt). Much of its splendor was restored during the postwar
reconstruction of the city. Sprinkled between its office blocks and modern department stores are a number of majestic churches, handsome museums, and stately government buildings.
To the west of the Altstadt, and bordered by the Aussenalster (outer Alster) to the north and the Elbe to the south, lies the Neustadt. The area dates back to the 17th century, when a second wall was built to protect the city during the Thirty Years' War. The Neustadt these days is more or less indistinguishable from its older neighbor. Similarly blessed with a number of stunning buildings, including those that line the pretty lakeside promenade of Jungfernsteig, the Neustadt is also famed many great stores.