The Elbe river flows through the Port of Hamburg, which is the third-largest port in Europe. With a population of approximately 1.8 million people, it is the second-largest city in Germany and eighth largest city in the European Union. Hamburg has a total area of 755 km2 (292 sq mi).
The Gothic RevivalSt. Nikolai's Church (German: St.-Nikolai-Kirche) was formerly one of the five LutheranHauptkirchen (main churches) in the city of Hamburg. It is now in ruins, serving as a memorial and an important architectural landmark. When Hamburgers mention the "Nikolaikirche", it is generally to this church that is referred, and not the new Hauptkirche of St. Nikolai which is located in the Harvestehude district.
The church was the tallest building in the world from 1874 to 1876 and is still the second tallest building in Hamburg.
The current condition of the Nikolaikirche is the result of air raids during World War II (see Bombing of Hamburg in World War II), continuing demolition in 1951 and restoration work in the 1990s. The Rettet die Nikolaikirche e.V. (Save the Nikolai church) foundation is responsible for the restoration of the church. The foundation is supported in its work by the city of Hamburg, the congregation of St. Nikolai's Church and various corporate sponsors and private contributors. The organization is charged with maintaining the building's existing structure, restoration, arranging events and displays in the church, and operating an informational center housed in the church's crypt.