Elegance and Avant-Garde
»Sillem’s Bazar« was the name of an arcade located at the corner of Grosse Bleichen and Jungfernstieg from 1843 to 1881. Comprising a hotel and a shopping passage, it was modelled on similar arcades in such major European cities as Paris and London. As such, Sillem’s Bazar was the first major shopping passage built in 19th century Germany.
By this time the burghers of Hamburg were very much aware of, and partial to, luxury goods. This was evident every day on the Jungfernstieg, the waterfront boulevard frequented by the city’s rich and beautiful. With their day-to-day shopping needs attended to by their servants, they devoted much of their time to strolling along this popular promenade and feasting their eyes on the precious wares displayed in retailers’ crystal showcases.
A large octagonal atrium under a glass cupola invited visitors to Sillem’s Bazar to relax on elegant benches and admire the spectacular fountain. A total of 34 shops decorated with exclusive materials offered a wide variety of merchandise. Cafes served fine foods and beverages to musical accompaniment. The proximity to the prestigious Jungfernstieg boulevard added to the allure of the location.
In the 1880s the original shopping passage made way for the Hamburger Hof hotel; the stylish Scholvien-Passagen arcade in Poststrasse 8 to 18 lured shoppers from around 1900. In 1912 Oscar Tietz acquired the Scholvien-Passagen and opened his »Warenhaus Hermann Tietz« (the precursor of the Hertie department store group). When the local government imposed a department store tax on Jewish merchants in 1933 and the banks stopped lending to them, the Jewish family was forced to sell their department store for a pittance. The new owner renamed the property »Alsterhaus« in 1935.
The Karstadt department store in Mönckebergstrasse was opened in 1912. All three department stores offered an extensive range of merchandise supported by musical entertainment and cafes. This gave rise to a sophisticated amusement and entertainment industry in the area, including cabaret performances in the Hamburger Hof hotel as well as in the Trocaderohaus, an exclusive dance hall.