Alter Elbtunnel - Old Elbe Tunnel
In 1911, the old Elbe tunnel was built to provide a new direct route for dock workers from the St. Pauli Piers or 'Landungsbrücken' over to the Southern banks of the Elbe river. Initially a technical innovation, the tunnel became a tourist attraction when the 'new' Elbtunnel and several bridges were built in the 1970s. Now, elevators carry pedestrians and bicyclists into the deep, and cars can use the hydraulically driven lift cages for a small fee.
The green dome of the Landungsbrücken points towards the 426 metres long underpass. The tunnel is used by city-dwellers to explore the remote corners of the harbour area or to get to Wilhelmsburg or Altes Land. The observation platform south of the river is also held in high regard among tourists and locals for its magnificent panoramic view over the city.
By no means can the Alter Elbtunnel be compared to modern tunnels. The lamps installed on both sides provide a unique lighting and, combined with the arched and tiled tubes, create a very special atmosphere. This, and the beautiful reliefs on the walls make for an extremely popular subject for photographers.
The tunnel has been a preserved historic site since 2003. An estimated 100 million EUR will be spent on a general overhaul that is scheduled to be finished in early 2019.