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Outstanding Universal Value

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Excerpt from the UNESCO World Heritage Commitee's decision 

Outstanding Universal Value

Brief synthesis: Speicherstadt and the adjacent Kontorhaus district are two densely built central urban areas in the German port city of Hamburg. Speicherstadt, originally developed on a 1.1- km-long group of narrow islands in the Elbe River between 1885 and 1927 (and partly rebuilt from 1949 to 1967), is one of the largest unified historic port warehouse complexes in the world. The adjacent Kontorhaus district is a cohesive, densely built area featuring eight mainly very large office complexes that were built from the 1920s to the 1950s to house businesses engaged in port-related activities. Together, these neighbouring districts represent an outstanding example of a combined warehouseoffice district associated with a port city. Speicherstadt, the “city of warehouses,” includes 15 very large warehouse blocks that are inventively historicist in appearance but advanced in their technical installations and equipment, as well as six ancillary buildings and a connecting network of streets, canals and bridges. Anchored by the iconic Chilehaus, the Kontorhaus district’s massive office buildings stand out for their early Modernist brick-clad architecture and their unity of function. The Chilehaus, Messberghof, Sprinkenhof, Mohlenhof, Montanhof, former Post Office Building at Niedernstrasse 10, Kontorhaus Burchardstrasse 19-21 and Miramar-Haus attest to architectural and city-planning concepts that were emerging in the early 20th century. The effects engendered by the rapid growth of international trade at the end of the 19th century and the first decades of the 20th century are illustrated by the outstanding examples of buildings and ensembles that are found in these two functionally complementary districts.

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