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Nearby St Nikolai, not to be confused with the new Hauptkirche St Nikolai in Harvestehude, was the world’s tallest building from 1874 to 1876, and remains Hamburg’s second-tallest structure (after the TV tower). Mostly destroyed in WWII, the crypt now houses an unflinching underground exhibit on the horrors of war focussing on three events in World War II: the German bombing of Coventry in 1940, the German destruction of Warsaw and Operation Gomorrha, the combined British and American bombing of Hamburg over three days and nights in 1943 that killed 35,000 and incinerated much of the centre. Afterwards, you can take a glass lift up to a 76.3m-high viewing platform inside the surviving spire for views of Hamburg's centre put into context of the wartime destruction.
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