Spreewald: Venice of Germany

spreewald-8

About 100 km south-east of Berlin in the State of Brandenburg, lies the beautiful Spreewald Biosphere Reserve. This low-lying area in which the river Spree meanders in hundreds of small waterways through meadows and unspoiled forests is one of Germany’s most beautiful and greenest holiday destinations.

Like most of Brandenburg, this region was sculpted during the last Ice Age by the retreating glaciers. As the glaciers began to melt and disappear, it left behind a delicate network of streams interspersed by small heaps of sand islands raised through deposits. Over the course of time, further deposition formed flat marshlands with thick forests of pines, birch, willow, oak, lime and alder.

spreewald-3Photo credit: Piotr K./Flickr

The Spreewald has been settled since thousands of years. Between the 2nd and the 5th century, Germanic tribes lived here. In the 6th century, during the course of the great migration, the first Slavic settlers arrived here. Under them, the natural landscape in the Spreewald developed into a cultivated landscape. A large part of the woods made way for agricultural land and a mosaic of fields, meadows, pastures and farms made their mark on the landscape.

Today, the small sandy islands that developed by silt deposition is home to farmlands and residential houses. Every house and every farmstead has its own small port and a boat by which the harvest is fetched from the fields and the children go to school.

spreewald-1Photo credit: hgnize/Flickr

Spreewald is well worth a great day trip from Berlin. Visitors come to this UNESCO biosphere reserve to hike, fish and punt, canoe or kayak on its extensive network of waterways called “Fließe”. Boating and paddling are some of the most popular activities in Spreewald, but there are also other sights to see such as churches, castles and museums.

spreewald-7Photo credit: gravitat-OFF/Flickr

spreewald-2Photo credit: Eric Drommer/Flickr

spreewald-5Photo credit: toon3000/Flickr

spreewald-10Photo credit: Michael Bertulat/Flickr

spreewald-13Photo credit: Torsten Maue/Flickr

spreewald-17Photo credit: Torsten Maue/Flickr

spreewald-15Photo credit: Torsten Maue/Flickr

spreewald-16Photo credit: Michael Bertulat/Flickr

Sources: Wikipedia / www.spreewald.de via perfect for roquefort cheese

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6 thoughts on “Spreewald: Venice of Germany

  1. I shall have to add this to my list for when I someday get to Germany. The one time I was in Munich, I never got out of the airport. 😦 Hopefully sooner than later as we are neighbours (France) and if a friend comes in September she wants to go to Poland so… 🙂

  2. Pingback: Spreewald: Venice of Germany | Matthews' Blog

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