Lake Alster (German: Alster) is a part of the river of the same name in the central part of Hamburg, in northern Germany.
The lake arose in the riverbed at the column Adolf III c. 1190 year. Then Alster was blocked by a dam for the operation of a water mill.
Today, Alster Lake is one of the main attractions of Hamburg, it is a favorite vacation spot for all citizens – they walk here, run along the paths of the park, engage in various sports, including water sports, as well as make purchases and ride a boat.
From 1616 to 1625, during the construction of the city wall, the lake was divided into two parts – Outer and Inner Alster. To prevent unauthorized entry into the city, the river flow under a wooden bridge was blocked by a large log.
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In the 17th century, the Lombardsbrücke bridge was built on the site of a wooden bridge, and in the XX century another bridge was built north of it – Kennedybrücke.
Lake Alster is divided into three parts of unequal size and different from each other: External (largest), Internal (medium) and Small Alster, the distances between them are large – up to 5 kilometers.
Outer Alster (Außenalster) got its name in the 17th century, as it turned out to be part of the lake, left behind the newly built city wall. And although the fortress wall has long been gone, the historical name has been preserved.
Outer Alster is a large part of the lake; it covers an area of approximately 164 hectares. Its depth reaches 4.5 meters. The place is especially popular in the warmer months. It is traditionally engaged in yachting, there are several yacht clubs. In addition, the lake is ridden by boats, pedal boats, boats, canoes. Recently, a new sport is gaining momentum – sapsurfing, standing on a board, with a paddle.
Numerous villas are located on the coast of outer Alster, primarily in the Harvestehude district, in the west of Alster, along the Bellevue streets in the Winterhude district, as well as the Schöne Auszicht streets in the Uhlenhorst region in the north of the lake. This area of Alster is therefore often called the “coast of millionaires.”
On the southeast side of the outer Alster is the famous fashionable Atlantic Hotel, today part of the Kempinski hotel chain.
Around Outer Alster is Alster Park, which is today a favorite vacation spot for citizens. The western side of the park was created specifically for the International Garden Exhibition (IGA) in 1953.
In 1968, 1,000 Japanese sakura trees were planted in the park, received as a gift from Japanese firms operating in Hamburg. Since then, annually during their flowering, a “Cherry Blossom Festival” is held with a grandiose salute.
Numerous pedestrian and bicycle paths with a length of 7.4 kilometers are laid in Alster Park. Advocates of an active lifestyle run in the mornings, evenings and weekends.
View of the inner Alster during sakura blossom, © Alexander Utyupin
Inland Alster or Binnenalster is a much smaller part of the lake — approximately 18 hectares.
In the center of Inner Alster a pontoon is installed, from which the Alster Fountain beats to a height of 60 meters. The fountain was funded by a private investor in 1987, and has already become one of the symbols of Hamburg. The enrichment due to the work of the Alster water fountain with oxygen led to an improvement in the quality of water in the lake. In Christmas time, the fountain is replaced by a decorated Christmas tree.
Located in the city center, even with the existence of the city wall, Binnen-alster has always been a lively trading place. On the south side of the lake closes the street Jungfernstig, which is a city promenade.
Around Binnen Alster, today there are various shops, offices, hotels. Among them is a historic hotel, today belonging to the 4 Seasons hotel chain, the traditional Alsterhaus shopping center, as well as the famous Alster Pavilion cafe. In 2006, a new shopping center, Europe Center, was built on Inner Alster.
On the south coast of Inner Alster there is a marina for the White Flotilla – this is the name for the boats sailing along Alster in the mode of river buses, as well as pleasure boats.
Every year, in late August – early September, Inner Alster hosts the Alster Fun festival, Alsterfegnugen with folk festivals, attractions and fireworks.
Small Alster (Kleine Alster), as the name implies, is the smallest part of the lake. Its dimensions are only 200 meters in length and 40 in width. It is combined with the Inner Alster Tunnel, which runs under Jungfernstig Street. On the south side it is limited by locks. Behind the floodgates, the Alster River flows into the Elbe.