It's hard to believe when you're surrounded by all the bright lights, loud sounds, and airbrushed art, but the history of Hamburg DOM dates back to the 11th century. In wintertime, the old Mariendom cathedral was used as a shelter by merchants and entertainers. This tradition lasted for centuries, until the cathedral was demolished in 1804. The now 'homeless' merchants roamed the city until 1893, when they were assigned a new location: the Heiligengeistfeld event area in the St. Pauli district. Nowadays, the name of Hamburg's most famous fun fair is the only reminder of the old days in the cathedral, or 'Dom' in German.
In the 1930s, the original wintertime market was expanded with a spring market in an effort to help local merchants through the economic crisis. After the end of World War II, a summer market was added as well. With its three recurring festivals in winter, spring and summer, today Hamburg DOM is the largest fair in Northern Germany, and the longest running fair in the whole of Germany.