Elsewhere in Germany, the Dom is the local cathedral. Not in Hamburg. In the northern Germany city, the Dom is a thrice yearly, month-long fun fair. In the spring, summer, and winter, visitors can enjoy one of the oldest German popular festivals.
Even in the underground you’ll know you’re headed in the right direction for fun. The trains are full, and the mood is boisterous. The Hamburger Dom takes place on a large field called ‘Heiliggeistfeld‘ in the middle of the St. Pauli district with its famous nightlife boulevard, the Reeperbahn. We head there with Olga, who is spending the summer in Germany to visit her boyfriend and to find out about studying here herself. When we arrive at the Feldstrasse underground station, Olga remarks on the ‘typical German smell’ of bratwurst and beer.
The Hamburger Dom is a gigantic fun fair. There are countless stands, large and small, where visitors can have something to eat or drink or play a game and try to win a prize. Off to one side are all sorts of rides, from a children’s carousel to a roller coaster.
Olga decides to try a fish roll, a Hamburg speciality. Locals sometimes come to the Dom to eat after they finish work or on the weekends. And of course to wash down the food there’s always a chilled afterwork beer. As we stroll through the fair, Olga’s attention is attracted by a stand selling something unknown in Russia: gingerbread hearts of all sizes with sayings written on them in icing. They’re edible, but in Germany, they’re mostly purchased as gifts for close friends and family members who keep them. Olga too gets a small heart, which she says she will hang up in her room in Moscow.
We also notice another smell: something fried and slightly sweet. Olga has discovered another local speciality: Schmalzgeback. These small, fried doughballs are sprinkled with powdered sugar and eaten with toothpicks from a paper bag.
The Hamburger Dom has been around for more than 100 years in the northern German city, and many of the rides also have a long tradition. The Wilde Maus (Wild Mouse) rollercoaster is known to all, and no visit to the Dom would be complete without taking a ride on it.
In between the rides and the sausage stand, visitors can play games and win prizes ranging from stuffed animals to groceries to gift items of all sorts. Those with good hand to eye coordination who can throw and shoot well stand a good chance of bringing something home for themselves or a loved one.
The darker it gets, the more people flock to Heiliggeistfeld – especially on Fridays. That’s when the famous Dom fireworks display takes place, every week at 10PM.