Hidden Cities - Historical tour of the city via the Smartphone App in the Renaissance

I meet trader Johann, on a Sunny November day in front of his office building in Hamburg’s historic dike road. The merchant with the curly mane and the mustache just returned from a business trip to the Northern part of the Netherlands.

There are in the year 1686, neither phone nor Internet, retailers have been Johann week of news from his homeland, and cut off. He still does not know, that have occurred during his absence, spectacular things.

Since Hamburg was one of the leading press the cities of the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation, makes Johann in search of information to the turbulent events and takes me to the App Hamburg Hidden on its way to market squares, churches, coffee shops and news stands in front of the Opera house in the metropolis.

Pilot cities are Hamburg, Exeter, Deventer, Valencia and Trento

The App emerged from the research project with the unwieldy title of “Public Renaissance: Urban Cultures of Public Space between Early Modern Europe and the Present”. The goal is that everyday life in European cities, to between 1450 and 1700 visible.

The multi-lingual guided tours of the city, there is next to Hamburg in Exeter, Deventer, Valencia, and of Trento, and more cities will be added. The project in Hamburg is a Million euros, the money comes from the Humanities in the European Research Area (Hera), a network of European research funding organisations. Also, the Federal Ministry of education and research has been involved.

>”Hidden Hamburg” App / Calvium

Hidden Cities: history with Virtual Reality experience

>In Hamburg, I will follow the fictional paper merchant Johann initially by the dike street with Office buildings in the Dutch style, on the Nikolai Church. I have to cross the Willy-Brandt-Straße, one of the main arteries of the city. The six-lane road, which was built in the sixties, that separates the old town from the port. Earlier, it was certainly easier to get to the other side.

Timeless Stench

Where columns of trucks and passenger Cars through the city, slide, there was only horses, carriages, and carts. The noise and stench must have had a different quality, but are still omnipresent.

By GPS Tracking my location is determined, it makes the App so exciting: “In Hamburg, there are a few angles still largely the old road gradients,” says Daniel Bellingradt, Professor of science at the Friedrich-Alexander-University of Erlangen-Nürnberg. He is head of the research team for the Hamburg-App.

The choice had fallen on Hamburg, as the city is one of the largest and most important cities in Central Europe in the 17th century. A century had been. Financial incentives, such as by the tourism authority, not to have given it: “It is an independent scientific project,” stresses Bellingradt.

>The roads remained largely the same: Historical city map of Hamburg

Photo by Leemage / imago images

As I have found in the Church of St. Nicholas, since the Second world war, a distinctive ruin, a window, starts trader Johann, thanks to the location determination either in English or German with his audio message.

The members of the Council executed

He told me of the sermons and the newspaper stands in the building. In the App, I think, also bilingual, for more information with the image material. With one click, I move to the site of the project under hidden Hamburg.eu. There are even more backgrounds.

I think old maps and historical pamphlets, on the left, I can look at photos of old houses. The walk will lead me next to the Museum for Hamburg history in the then-defense systems.

Unlike Johann suggests, I’m not going, but the drafty main road, but parallel paths. In the Museum there is the possibility of a printing press from the 17th century. To visit the century – unfortunately, the house is closed due to the Corona pandemic.

The paper trader wants to meet his friend, the printer Thomas von Wiering, to learn more about the events during his trip. In Hamburg, at that time, the members of the Council Cord Jastram and Jerome Snitger were beheaded and quartered.

They had been accused of, to surrender the city to the Danish king Christian V.. The Danish king had besieged Hamburg in August of the year will be around for a week. Ahead of clashes between citizenship and the Council of the city were gone. Imperial messenger had repeatedly tried to pacify the city.

On the political background I don’t learn in the App, however, much more – the walk shows me instead, which sources Johann took on his hunt for the latest news and rumors. Bellingradt wants to make “history as present as possible.”

>Historical city guide-Apps there are, among other things, also for the city of Trento (photo)

>The era is often neglected – the source location is for the scientists, comparatively well. The Team Bellingradt took flight, prints, Newspapers, and acts of the municipality from multiple Hamburger archives, and museums, and libraries.

In addition to the state archives of Hamburg, the Material for the Tour from the Staats – und universitätsbibliothek Hamburg Carl von Ossietzky, the Commerz library of the chamber of Commerce of Hamburg and the Museum for Hamburg history dates back to. Several of the exhibits are also found in the App and on the Website.

Seven Stations Tour

Johann takes me more to buildings such as the state Opera, the first German-language Opera house in the Holy Roman Empire of the German Nation. The building no longer exists, by using the App, I can guess the approximate location.

Also then, as now, high-traffic places, such as large Neumarkt and the coffee house eimbeck’s house, leading me, Johann, without Shutdown, it would also be on my Tour busier.

I need for my trip to Hamburg’s past an hour, the Tour includes seven stops. Bellingradt wants to achieve with the App that the city’s history is a double insight “in the past social forms of life and in today’s behaviour within urban environments.”

Not surprisingly, the older sense of the coffee houses were a popular hub for news. “The use of media used to work, as it is today,” says Bellingradt.

Augmented Reality application in Florence

What it no longer exists in this Form: a text-to-speech service for contemporaries who could not read. Here, for a small price news were worn more – today I let my messages App to be read aloud.

In the coming years, the tour would be extended, the financing was secured by 2022. In some of the European project cities, the hidden cities.eu, there are already several tours in Florence, even with the Augmented Reality application.

Students can use the Hidden-Cities App for your own projects. So you will have to prepare in the classroom or Seminar tours with historical Background. The British software developer Calvium has developed for the Team to Bellingradt own Content-Management-System, and researchers will be provided. A future licensing is not unthinkable.

“School classes and students should be mobilised on the technical focus for the Humanities,” says Bellingradt. The App is intended to create an access to the early modern period. The understanding of the era has been characterised mainly by the thirty years war and the persecution of witches, Hidden Hamburg, however, shows the lives of ordinary people.

That doesn’t work in the city image of the hidden places in which the life of our current not – so-stark differences, however, there were 400 years ago, so many of the construction sites as they are today.

The App Hidden Hamburg for Android users on Google Play at this Link download.

In Apple’s App Store, you can find here.

Go to our cases Get a free quote