Built between 1911 and 1912, it was the first underwater tunnel to connect two sides of a river. The tunnel spans 973 feet (296 meters) under the River Elbe, connecting St Pauli on one side with Steinwerder on the other. It was an engineering marvel for its time, as tunnels were not common practice at this point in history.
The Old Elbe Tunnel was built primarily for pedestrians and cyclists, but also allowed horse-drawn carriages to pass through too. This made crossing the busy river much easier than having to take a ferry or bridge – both of which could be costly and slow down travel times significantly. The tunnel’s construction used reinforced concrete lining, which provided greater stability during floods or extreme weather conditions than earlier designs would have done alone; this design feature remains today, making it still safe to use after over 100 years since completion.
In addition to its practical purpose, the Old Elbe Tunnel also served as a symbol of progress in Hamburg during its early days, when industrialization had just begun taking hold across Europe. As such, it quickly became an iconic landmark within the city – something that locals proudly pointed out whenever visitors came by boat into port. Today you can still experience what life must have been like back then by visiting this historic site yourself: guided tours are available every day from 10am until 6pm where knowledgeable staff will tell you all about how it was constructed and why exactly it holds so much importance historically speaking.
What makes this particular attraction even more unique is that there are actually two different levels inside: one for pedestrians and cyclists, while another is reserved exclusively for motor vehicles only – allowing them access without disrupting those walking around above ground level.