To the west lies the new town (Neustadt), incorporated in 1678; beyond this and contiguous to Altona is the former suburb of St Pauli, incorporated in 1876, and towards the north-east that of St Georg, which arose in the 13th century but was not incorporated till 1868.
An excellent service of electric trams interconnect the towns of Hamburg, Altona and the adjacent suburbs, and steamboats provide communication on the Elbe with the riparian towns and villages; and so with Blankenese and Harburg, with Stade, Gliickstadt and Cuxhaven.
In respect of its local industries Altona has manufactures of tobacco and cigars, of machinery, woollens, cottons and chemicals.
Lying higher than Hamburg, Altona enjoys a purer and healthier atmosphere.
At Pirna the Elbe leaves behind it the stress and turmoil of the Saxon Switzerland, rolls through Dresden, with its noble river terraces, and finally, beyond Meissen, enters on its long journey across the North German plain, touching Torgau, Wittenberg, Magdeburg, Wittenberge, Hamburg, Harburg and Altona on the way, and gathering into itself the waters of the Mulde and Saale from the left, and those of the Schwarze Elster, Havel and Elde from the right.
The through railway traffic of Hamburg is practically confined to that proceeding northwards - to Kiel and Jutland - and for the accommodation of such trains the central (terminus) station at Altona is the chief gathering point.
Were it not for political and municipal boundaries Hamburg might be considered as forming with Altona and Ottensen (which lie within Prussian territory) one town.
A few streets south of that is a monument to Lessing (1881); while occupying a commanding site on the promenades towards Altona is the gigantic statue of Bismarck which was unveiled in June 1906.
In fine contrast to them is the bright appearance of the Binnen Alster, which is enclosed on three sides by handsome rows of buildings, the Alsterdamm in the east, the Alter Jungfernstieg in the south, and the Neuer Jungfernstieg in the west, while it is separated from the Aussen Alster by part of the rampart gardens traversed by the railway uniting Hamburg with Altona and crossing the lakes by a beautiful bridge - the LombardsBriicke.
Altona carries on an extensive maritime trade with Great Britain, France and America, but it has by no means succeeded in depriving Hamburg of its commercial superiority - indeed, so dependent is it upon its rival that most of its business is transacted on the Hamburg exchange, while the magnificent warehouses on the Altona river bank are to a large extent occupied by the goods of Hamburg merchants.