name = Rügen
image caption = Satellite Image of Rügen
map_custom = yes
area = 926 km²
highest mount =
country = Germany
country admin divisions title = State
country admin divisions = flag|Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
country admin divisions title 1 = District
country admin divisions 1 = Rügen
population = 73,000
population as of = 2001
density = 79
Rügen (IPA2|ˈʁyːgən) or Rugia is
Germany's largest island. It is located in the Baltic Seaoff the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. Rügen makes up the vast part of the Rügen District, which also includes the neighboring islands Hiddenseeand Ummanz, as well as several small islands. Rügen is located in one of the most popular holiday and recreation areas within Germany, comprising such seaside resorts as Binzand Sellinand has more tourists per resident than any other location in Germany.
Rügen is located in northeastern Germany in the Baltic Sea and its shape is distinguished by many smaller peninsulas. The
Rügendammbridge, which connects the island by road and rail with the city of Stralsundon the mainland, crosses over the Strelasund. There are also ferry connections from Stralsund, Greifswaldand Wolgast.
The climate is in the
temperate zone. The winters are not particularly cold with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C and the summers are cool with mean temperature in August 16.3 °C. There is average rainfall of 520-560 mm and approximately 1800-1870 hours of sunshine annually.
Two of Germany's national parks are on the Isle of Rügen:
Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Parkin the west (also including Hiddensee) and Jasmund National Park, a smaller park including the famous chalk cliffs ("Königsstuhl"). There is also nature reserve, Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve, consisting of the peninsulas in the southeast.
Rügen was first populated about 4000 BCE. The migrants were probably members of the
Funnelbeaker culture, which exploited Rügen's flintdeposits.
In the beginning of the first millennium, the island and the surrounding continental areas were settled by the Germanic
Rugians, who might have come from Scandinaviaor evolved from autochtonetribes and gave their name to the island. In the 7th century, West Slavic R(uj)ani settled Rügen, assimilating the Germanic population which had not migrated southward in the Migration period, thereby adopting their name ("Rugians --> "Rujanes). Many traces of their life can be found today. Rügen became a Slavic principality, stretching from the Recknitzto the RyckRiver, with the political center in the ancient town of "Charenza", and a religious center in the fortified temple of Svantevitat Cape Arkona, the northernmost point of Rügen. In 1168 the area was conquered by Denmarkand became the Danish Principality of Rugia. The principality underwent Christianisation and German settlement in the course of the Ostsiedlung. The former monarchs became Danish princes of Rügen. In 1325, Rügen was inherited by the Duchy of Pomerania.
Rügen was a part of
Swedish Pomeraniafrom 1648 to 1815; afterwards it became a part of the Prussian Province of Pomerania. In 1816 the first bathing resort was founded at Putbus. Later more resorts were established, and Rügen remained the most famous holiday resort of Germany until World War II.
In 1936 the first bridge connecting Rügen (
Rügendamm, recently with a second bridge, Rügenbrücke) with the mainland was constructed, replacing the former ferry shuttles. The Nazis added a large resort: Prora, planned by the Strength Through Joyorganisation, which aimed to occupy people's free time. However, Prora was never completed.
Rügen was a major summer holiday destination in the
German Democratic Republic. Rügen remained a holiday island after German reunification; it has now surpassed Syltas the most popular German island again.
In February 2006, dead
swans found on Rügen tested positive for H5N1(the avian influenza virussubtype that is a pandemicthreat). A house cat was found dead with the H5N1 strain, marking the first known case of H5N1 in mammals in the European Union.
Rugians, Rani (Slavic tribe), Principality of Rugia, Duchy of Pomerania, Swedish Pomerania, Province of Pomerania, Mecklenburg-Vorpommern"
Rügen is one of the most requested holiday destinations in Germany. The island has many popular seaside resorts along the eastern coast, such as
Binz, as well as quieter locations in the west. Several of the holiday resorts are accessible via a historic narrow gauge railwayemploying steam locomotives, called Rügensche Kleinbahn. Tourists come both to enjoy the beaches and to explore the island's diverse landscape.
The most popular locations are
Binz, Sellin, Sassnitzand Bergen auf Rügenas well as Cape Arkona.
The title given to the operation commanded by
Wolfram Freiherr von Richthofenwhich saw the town of Guernicabombed during the Spanish Civil Warwas named after the island. An Abwehr SIGINTOperation during the same conflict was titled Bodden after the strait separating Rügen from the German mainland.
List of islands in the Baltic Sea
* [http://ruegen.de/index.php?id=index&L=1 Official site]
* [http://www.germanplaces.com/germany/chalk-cliffs-jasmund-national-park.html Chalk Cliffs of Rügen]
* [http://erwin-rosenthal.de/ruegen/default.htm Photographs of Rügen]
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