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Pomerania is a region on the southern shore of the Baltic Sea in Central Europe, split between Germany and Poland.
The name derives from the Slavic po more, meaning “by the sea”. Pomerania stretches roughly from the Recknitz river in the west to the Vistula river in the east.
The largest Pomeranian islands are Rügen, Usedom/Uznam and Wolin. The largest Pomeranian city is Gdańsk, or, when using a narrower definition of the region, Szczecin. Outside its urban areas, Pomerania is characterized by farmland, dotted with numerous lakes, forests, and towns. The region was strongly affected by post–World War I and II border and population shifts, with most of its pre-war inhabitants leaving or being expelled after 1945.
The Free State of Thuringia (German: Freistaat Thüringen, ) is a federal state in central Germany. It has an area of 16,171 square kilometers (6,244 sq mi) and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany’s sixteen states. Most of Thuringia is within the watershed of the Saale, a left tributary of the Elbe. The capital is Erfurt.
Thuringia has been known as “the green heart of Germany” (das grüne Herz Deutschlands) from the late 19th century, due to the dense forest covering the land.
It is home to the Rennsteig, Germany’s most well-known hiking trail, and the winter resort of Oberhof making it a well known winter sports destination. Half of Germany’s 136 Winter Olympic gold medals (through the Sochi games in 2014) have been won by Thuringian athletes.
Johann Sebastian Bach spent the first part of his life (1685–1717) and important further stages of his career in Thuringia. Goethe and Schiller lived in Weimar and both worked at the University of Jena, which today hosts Thuringia’s most important science centre. Other Universities in this federal state are the Ilmenau University of Technology, the University of Erfurt, and the Bauhaus University of Weimar.
Hanover or Hannover, on the River Leine, is the capital and largest city of the German state of Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen), and was once by personal union the family seat of the Hanoverian Kings of the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, under their title as the dukes of Brunswick-Lüneburg (later described as the Elector of Hanover). At the end of the Napoleonic Wars, the Electorate was enlarged to become a Kingdom with Hanover as its capital.
From 1868 to 1946, Hanover was the capital of the Prussian Province of Hanover and afterwards of the Hanover administrative region until that was abolished in 2005. It is now the capital of the Land of Lower Saxony. Since 2001, it has been part of the Hanover district (Region Hannover), which is a municipal body made up from the former district (Landkreis Hannover) and city of Hanover (note: although both Region and Landkreis are translated as district they are not the same).
With a population of 518,000, Hanover is a major center of Northern Germany and the country’s thirteenth largest city. Hanover also hosts annual commercial trade fairs such as the Hanover Fair and the CeBIT. Every year Hanover hosts the Schützenfest Hannover, the world’s largest marksmen’s festival, and the Oktoberfest Hannover, the second largest such festival in Germany. In 2000, Hanover hosted the world fair Expo 2000. The Hanover fairground, due to numerous extensions, especially for the Expo 2000, is the largest in the world. Hanover is of national importance because of its universities and medical school, its international airport and its large zoo. The city is also a major crossing point of railway lines and highways (Autobahnen), connecting European main lines in both the east-west (Berlin–Ruhr area) and north-south (Hamburg–Munich, etc.) directions.
“Hanover” is the traditional English spelling. The German spelling (with a double n) is becoming more popular in English; recent editions of encyclopedias prefer the German spelling, and the local government uses the German spelling on English websites. The English pronunciation /ˈhænəvər/, with stress on the first syllable and a reduced second syllable, is applied to both the German and English spellings, which is different from German pronunciation [haˈnoːfɐ], with stress on the second syllable and a long second vowel. The traditional English spelling is still used in historical contexts, especially when referring to the British House of Hanover.
Kiel is the capital and city in the northern German state of Schleswig-Holstein.
Kiel lies approximately 90 kilometres (56 mi) north of Hamburg. Due to its geographic location in the north of Germany, the southeast of the Jutland peninsula and the southwestern shore of the Baltic Sea, Kiel has become one of the major maritime centers of Germany. For instance, the city is known for a variety of international sailing events, including the annual Kiel Week, which is the biggest sailing event in the world. The Olympic sailing competitions of the 1936 and the 1972 Summer Olympics were held in the Bay of Kiel.
Kiel has also been one of the traditional homes of the German Navy’s Baltic fleet and continues to be a major high-tech shipbuilding center. Located in Kiel is the GEOMAR – Helmholtz Centre for Ocean Research Kiel at the University of Kiel. Kiel is an important sea transport hub, thanks to its location on the Kiel Fjord (Kieler Förde) and the busiest artificial waterway in the world, Kiel Canal (Nord-Ostsee-Kanal). A number of passenger ferries to Sweden, Norway, Lithuania and other countries operate from here. Moreover, today Kiel Harbour is an important port of call for cruise ships touring the Baltic Sea.
Kiel’s recorded history began in the 13th century, but the city was originally a Danish village, in the 8th century. Until 1864 it was administered by Denmark in personal union. In 1866, the city was annexed by Prussia and in 1871 it became part of Germany. The city is home to the University of Kiel established in 1665.
Nuremberg is a city on the river Pegnitz and on the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal in the German state of Bavaria, in the administrative region of Middle Franconia, about 170 kilometers (110 mi) north of Munich. The urban area also includes Fürth, Erlangen, and Schwabach.
Potsdam (German pronunciation: [ˈpɔtsdam] is the capital and largest city of the German federal state of Brandenburg. It directly borders the German capital Berlin and is part of the Berlin/Brandenburg Metropolitan Region. It is situated on the River Havel, 24 kilometres (15 miles) southwest of Berlin’s city centre.
Potsdam was a residence of the Prussian kings and the German Kaiser, until 1918. Its planning embodied ideas of The Age of Enlightenment: through a careful balance of architecture and landscape Potsdam was intended as “a picturesque, pastoral dream” which reminded its residents of their relationship with nature and reason.
Around the city there are a series of interconnected lakes and cultural landmarks, in particular the parks and palaces of Sanssouci, the largest World Heritage Site in Germany. The Potsdam Conference in 1945 was held at the palace Cecilienhof.
Babelsberg, in the south-eastern part of Potsdam, was a major film production studio before the 1930s and has enjoyed success as a major center of European film production since the fall of the Berlin Wall. The Filmstudio Babelsberg is the oldest large-scale film studio in the world.
Potsdam developed into a centre of science in Germany in the 19th century. Today, there are three public colleges, the University of Potsdam, and more than 30 research institutes in the city.
Towns & Villages
Cuxhaven (German pronunciation: [kʊksˈhaːfən]) is an independent town and seat of the Cuxhaven district, in Lower Saxony, Germany. The town includes the northernmost point of Lower Saxony. It is situated on the shore of the North Sea at the mouth of the Elbe River. Cuxhaven has a footprint of 14 kilometres (9 miles) (east-west) by 7 km (4 mi) (north-south). Its town quarters Duhnen, Döse and Sahlenburg are especially popular vacation spots on the North Sea and home to about 52,000 residents.
Cuxhaven is home to an important fisherman’s wharf and ship registration point for Hamburg as well as the Kiel Canal until 2008. Tourism is also of great importance. The city and its precursor Ritzebüttel belonged to Hamburg from the 13th century until 1937. The island of Neuwerk, a Hamburg dependency, is located just northwest of Cuxhaven in the North Sea. The city’s symbol, known as the Kugelbake, is a beacon once used as a lighthouse; the wooden landmark on the mouth of the Elbe marks the boundary between the river and the North Sea and also adorns the city’s coat of arms.
Nordholz is a village and a former municipality in the district of Cuxhaven, in Lower Saxony, Germany. Since 1 January 2015, it is part of the municipalityWurster Nordseeküste. It is situated approximately 25 km north of Bremerhaven, and 12 km southwest of Cuxhaven.
Nordholz belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen, established in 1180. In 1648, the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish Crown – interrupted by a Danish occupation (1712–1715) – and from 1715 on by the Hanoverian Crown. In 1807, the ephemeric Kingdom of Westphalia annexed the Duchy, before France annexed it in 1810. In 1813, the Duchy was restored to the Electorate of Hanover, which – after its upgrade to the Kingdom of Hanover in 1814 – incorporated the Duchy in a real union and the Ducal territory, including Nordholz, became part of the new Stade Region, established in 1823.
Today, Nordholz houses the Aeronauticum, Germany’s official museum of maritime aircraft and the adjacent Nordholz Naval Airbase.