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Old 01 November 2017, 01:15 PM
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Don Enrico Don Enrico is offline
Join Date: 05 October 2004
Location: Hamburg, Germany
Posts: 7,723

The former independent city Altona, now (since 1937) a borough of Hamburg, according to legend got it's name like this:

Some people wanted to found a new town near Hamburg. The merchant citizens of Hamburg, fearing the competition, wanted it to be founded as far from Hamburg as possible. It was agreed that a boy should be blindfolded and sent running from the city's wall. Where he fell down, that should be the place for the new foundation. The boy, being afraid of falling into a trench, did run a short distance and then threw himself to the ground. The Hamburg merchants, seeing the short distance, cried out (in the Hamburg dialect): "Dat is all to nah an Hamburg ran!" ("That is all to close to Hamburg"). Thus, Al-to-na was named.

Another explanation is that there first was a roadside tavern that the coachmen of that time deemed "all to nah" to Hamburg, meaning not far enough down the road to merit a first stop when you had started travelling from Hamburg.

In reality, the town was probably named after a small brook in the area, called Aldenawe or Altenau on old maps.

Apparently, Altoona, Pennsylvania, may be named after the German (then Danish) Altona.
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