The history of St. Pauli
The district of St. Pauli was founded early in the 17th century and was named after the Hamburger Berg: a hill which was leveled in 1620 to ensure an open firing-line before the city walls at the Millerntor gate. St. Pauli's character as an entertainment district was born during these days.
Under the Napoleonic occupation in the early 19th century, St. Pauli was completely destroyed by French troops. Quickly after the troops disengaged, the district was completely rebuilt to its former state in 1820.
During the late 19th century, the district's entertainment facilities had grown tremendously. The makeshift shacks at the famous Spielbudenplatz were replaced with permanent buildings, housing theatres, vaudevilles, bars and other entertainment businesses. Thanks to its proximity to the harbour, St. Pauli became a vivid entertainment district and became a true melting pot of cultures and nationalities by 1940. After World War II, the majority of the elegant, old buildings in St. Pauli was destroyed by bombs. However, thanks to two bunkers — one at the Heiligengeistfeld, the other at the Spielbudenplatz — many of the local residents were able to survive the hail of bombs during the last months of the war.
In the 1960s, many now famous bands and artists started their international careers at venues in the 'Kiez' (the area around the Reeperbahn). An example is the debut of the Beatles at the legendary Star-Club. The late 1980s marked the beginning of a new cultural era in the neighborhood. Schmidt's Theater and the contemporary musical Cats complemented the program of the St. Pauli Theatre: the oldest theatre in Hamburg with more than 160 years of tradition.
Today, the entertainment district is home to a variety of music clubs, bars, pubs and discotheques of different styles and has grown into a renown nightlife destination for both locals and visitors. The Neue Flora, the Theater am Hafen and the Stage Operettenhaus make up Hamburg's three biggest musical venues. The seven venues located around the 'Kiez' attract 1.5 million visitors every year.