A runner-up in 'the largest German city' contest, but a gold medalist in 'the wealthiest metropolis' race, Hamburg is this ugly duckling that has grown up into a beautiful swan, and just like a swan, it is defined in relation with water. Tons of steel in the Hamburger Hafen may be an eyesore but the harbor has been a center of world-scale trading and the city's cash cow since the Late Middle Ages. Today, with the underpinning of long-lasting Hanseatic tradition, myriad modern influences, marine ambiance and trees planted on every single patch of land free from stone or water, the city is a pearl miraculously picked out from the depths of the North Sea. Its dense network of waterways and bodies of open water are lustrous mirrors to the city's central role on the country's political and cultural stage, as well as to vibrant urban life as busy and multicultural as the eateries of Schanzenviertel at lunchtime. And the harbor is actually so gorgeous when the night pulls in and sets all the lights ablaze!