Its baroque facade seems almost out of place here, in the midst of all the clubs and discos: The Catholic St. Joseph’s Church was built in 1718-23. It was the first Catholic church built in Northern Europe after the Reformation. The name of the street on which the church is located has a direct connection with its history: Grosse Freiheit – “great freedom”. When the district of Altona was under Danish rule, the border between Hamburg and Altona was right here, and in the 17th century the Danes gave Altona the privilege of religious freedom. Today, St. Joseph’s Church is well worth a visit, not only because of the imposing altar, but also because of the crypt which was renovated in 2015 and where you can see the bones of around 350 people who were buried under St. Joseph’s between 1719 and 1886. The bones and skulls were long forgotten, but were rediscovered during survey work in 2011.



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