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Germany's second largest city with a population of 2,000,000, Hamburg (officially: the Free and Hanseatic City of Hamburg) is a major port on the River Elbe in the north of Germany, the second largest harbor in Europe and ninth largest worldwide.

The city's origins date to the establishment of a fort by Charlemagne in AD 808. Much of the historic city center was destroyed in raids by the allied air forces in July and August 1943, which unleashed a firestorm during which some 50,000 people perished.

As well as a major transport hub, Hamburg is a center of aircraft production, shipbuilding, the steel, copper and aluminum industries, and publishing. One of the main Airbus factories is located near Hamburg.

Hamburg is also famous for its night-life, the Reeperbahn being the pivotal street in the Kiez district, where popular beat combo The Beatles cut their teeth.

The current mayor, Erster Bürgermeister Olaf Scholz, is a Social Democrat.

Hamburg is the point of import of all Germany's bananas.

Hamburg is the city with the largest number of Afghan immigrants in Europe: more than 20,000. Thus, it has seen cases of the barbaric practice of honor killing. In 2008, a 16-year-old Afghan girl was stabbed 20 times by her 23-year-old brother because "she had become too comfortable with Western life with her uncovered hair, makeup and short skirts."[1]