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119km (74 miles) SW of Hamburg, 122km (76 miles) NW of Hannover

Bremen, Germany's oldest coastal city, is second only to Hamburg among German ports. As soon as you arrive at "this ancient town by the gray river," you see how closely Bremen is tied to the sea. The sights and smells of coffee, cacao, tropical fruit, lumber, and tobacco give the city an international flavor.

Bremen grew from a little fishing settlement on a sandy slope of a river. It was already a significant port when it was made an Episcopal see in 787. In the 11th century, under the progressive influence of Archbishop Adalbert, Bremen became known as the "Rome of the North." During the Middle Ages, it was one of the strongest members of the Hanseatic League, and in 1646 it became a free imperial city. It remains one of Europe's most important ports.