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Rügen ( ) or Rugia is Germanymarker's largest island. It is located in the Baltic Seamarker off the coast of Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker. Rügen makes up the principal part of the Rügen Districtmarker, which also includes the neighboring islands Hiddenseemarker and Ummanzmarker, as well as several small islands.


Rügen is located in northeastern Germany in the Baltic Sea and its shape is distinguished by many smaller peninsulas. The core landmass is called Muttlandmarker, major peninsulas in the North are Wittow, and Jasmundmarker, connected to each other by the Schaabe landbridge and to Muttland by the Schmale Heide landbridge, a dam at Lietzowmarker and the Wittower Fähre ferry. The northern peninsulas are separated from Muttland by several Bodden, the largest of which are Großer Jasmunder Bodden and Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden. Major peninsulas in the South are Zudar and Mönchgutmarker, both facing the Bay of Greifswaldmarker. The Rügendammmarker bridge, which connects the island by road and rail with the city of Stralsundmarker on the mainland, crosses over the Strelasundmarker.

Rügen has an area of 926.4 km2, or 974 km2 if the adjacent small islands are included. The maximum diameter is 51.4 km from North to South, and 42.8 km from East to West. Of an overall 574 km coastline, 56 km are sandy Baltic Seamarker beaches, and 2.8 km sandy Bodden beaches. The highest elevations are on the Jasmundmarker peninsula: Piekberg (161 m) and Königsstuhl (117 m).

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: Western Pomerania Lagoon Area National Park in the west (also including Hiddenseemarker) and Jasmund National Parkmarker, 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 and the adjacent islands are administered as Landkreis Rügenmarker (RÜG). Subordinate to the Landkreis are the Amt districts Amt Bergen auf Rügenmarker (municipalities Bergen auf Rügenmarker, Buschvitzmarker, Garz, Gustowmarker, Lietzowmarker, Parchtitzmarker, Patzigmarker, Poseritzmarker, Ralswiekmarker, Rappinmarker, Sehlenmarker and Thesenvitzmarker), Amt West-Rügenmarker (municipalities Altefährmarker, Dreschvitzmarker, Gingstmarker, Hiddenseemarker, Kluismarker, Neuenkirchen, Rambinmarker, Samtensmarker, Schaprodemarker, Trent and Ummanzmarker), Amt Nord-Rügenmarker (municipalities Altenkirchenmarker, Breegemarker, Dranskemarker, Glowemarker, Lohmemarker, Putgartenmarker, Sagardmarker, Wiek) and Amt Mönchgut-Granitzmarker (municipalities Baabemarker, Göhren, Lancken-Granitzmarker, Middelhagenmarker, Sellinmarker, Thiessowmarker and Zirkowmarker) and the Amt-free municipalities of Binzmarker, Putbusmarker and Sassnitzmarker. Overall, there are 45 municipalities on Rügen, four of which have town status (Bergen, Garz, Putbus and Sassnitz).


Rügen was first populated about 4000 BC. The migrants were probably members of the Funnelbeaker culture, which exploited Rügen's flint deposits.

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 Scandinavia or evolved from autochtone tribes and gave their name to the island. In the 7th century, West Slavic Rani settled Rügen, assimilating the Germanic population which had not migrated southward in the Migration Period. Many traces of their life can be found today. Rügen became a Slavic principality, stretching from the Recknitzmarker to the Ryckmarker River, with the political center in the ancient town of Charenza, and a religious center in the fortified temple of Svantevit at Cape Arkonamarker, the northernmost point of Rügen. In 1168 the area was conquered by Denmarkmarker and 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 Pomeraniamarker from 1648 to 1815; afterwards it became a part of the Prussian Province of Pomeraniamarker. In 1816 the first bathing resort was founded at Putbusmarker. 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 (Rügendammmarker, recently with a second bridge, Rügenbrückemarker) with the mainland was constructed, replacing the former ferry shuttles. The Nazis added a large resort: Proramarker, planned by the Strength Through Joy organisation, which aimed to occupy people's free time. However, Prora was never completed.

Rügen was a major summer holiday destination in the German Democratic Republicmarker. Rügen remained a holiday island after German reunification; it has now surpassed Syltmarker as the most popular German island again.

In February 2006, dead swans found on Rügen tested positive for H5N1 (the avian influenza virus subtype that is a pandemic threat). A house cat was found dead with the H5N1 strain, marking the first known case of H5N1 in mammals in the European Union.

See also: Rugii, Rani , Principality of Rugia, Duchy of Pomerania, Swedish Pomeraniamarker, Province of Pomeraniamarker, Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker

Tourist resorts

Rügen is one of the most requested holiday destinations in Germany. The first bathing facility on Rügen opened 1794 at a mineral-rich spring in Sagardmarker. In 1818, Putbusmarker' suburb Lauterbach became Rügen's first seaside ressort. Since the 1860s, Sassnitzmarker became a seaside resort, followed by Binzmarker in the 1880s. During World War II, Proramarker was constructed as a mass tourist ressort, but not finished. Today, the most popular seaside resorts are the Schaabe beaches between Altenkirchenmarker and Juliusruhmarker, including Drewoldke, Glowemarker and Breegemarker, and the eastern beaches between Sassnitzmarker and Göhrenmarker, including Neu Mukranmarker, Proramarker, Binzmarker, Sellinmarker, and Baabemarker. The latter are accessible via a historic narrow gauge railway employing steam locomotives, called Rügensche Bäderbahn. Tourist destinations apart from seaside resorts are Cape Arkonamarker, the wood covered Stubbenkammer hills on Jasmundmarker with interesting chalk cliff formations, the wood covered Granitz hills with the Jagdschloß palace, and the inland places of Bergen auf Rügenmarker, Ralswiekmarker and Gingstmarker.

The island also offers a huge variety of different beach and shore areas. Rügen is often visited by Wind- and Kitesurfers and offers more than fifteen different locations for surfing. The most popular locations are Dranskemarker, Rosengartenmarker, Wiekmarker, Suhrendorf and Neu Mukranmarker.


SassnitzmarkerNeu Mukranmarker is the international ferry terminal on Rügen, with ferry services to Sassnitz-Mukran is the largest railway ferry terminal in Germanymarker and the only one in Europe where different tracks allow switching from standard gauge to broad gauge.

Local passenger ferries connect the piers of Sassnitzmarker, Binzmarker, Sellinmarker and Göhrenmarker, and Rügen with the adjacent islands of Hiddenseemarker, Vilmmarker and Greifswalder Oiemarker. Passenger and car ferries connect Rügen's center, Muttlandmarker, to Wittow in Rügen's North via the Wittower Fähre and Rügen to the mainland via the Glewitzer Fähre between Stahlbrode near Greifswaldmarker and Glewitzmarker on Rügen's Zudar peninsula.


The title given to the operation commanded by Wolfram von Richthofen, which saw the town of Guernicamarker bombed during the Spanish Civil War, was named after the island. An Abwehr SIGINT Operation during the same conflict was titled Bodden after the strait separating Rügen from the German mainland.

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