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Germany or the Federal Republic of Germany is located in Central Europe with Berlin as its capital city. The German language was once the lingua franca of central, eastern and northern Europe. It is a member state of the United Nations, NATO, North Atlantic Treaty Organization, the G8, Group of 8, and the G4, Group of 4, nations, and is a founding member of the European Union. It is the European Union's most populous and most economically powerful member state. Germany is one of the largest European economies and the third largest economy in the world in real terms.
Hamburg is the second largest city in Germany and with Hamburg Harbour, its principal port, Hamburg is also the second largest port city in Europe, the 9th in the world-ranking of ports and the largest city of the Union which is not a capital. A large part of the port is a fenced-in duty-free area. Hamburg is an international trade city and the commercial and cultural centre of Northern Germany.
The city takes its name from a castle which was built on some rocky ground in a marsh between the Alster and the Elbe. The castle was named Hammaburg, where, burg means castle. Various theories presume that the name could have been derived from Old High German which includes both a hamma, angle, a spit of land or to the curvature of a river, a hamme, a pastureland or the surrounding Hamma forest, the village of Hamm or ham which is Old Saxon for shore.

Hamburg has a number of prominent buildings from the past and present, many canals are crossed by over 2300 bridges. The skyline features the high spires of the five principal churches covered with green copper plates, Towers, Masts, Theatres, Music, Museums and Cuisine.

Hamburg is connected by four Autobahnen or motorways and is the most important railway junction on the route to Northern Europe. Hamburg Airport is the oldest airport in Germany still in operation. There is also the smaller Hamburg Finkenwerder Airport. Hamburg's vehicle license plate prefix is HH for Hansestadt Hamburg, or the Hanseatic City of Hamburg, which underlines Hamburg's historic roots.
Tourism in Germany has expanded since the end of World War II, and many tourists visit Germany to experience a sense of European history. The countryside exhibits a pastoral aura, while its cities exhibit both a modern and classical feel.

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