The Werdenfelser Land is a region of Upper Bavaria that extends from Mittenwald in the south to Farchant. It includes parts of the Bavarian Alps. From the Middle Ages until the Thirty Years War the Werdenfelser Land was subject to the Prince-Bishop of Freising, not the Duke of Bavaria.
The region derives its name from the medieval Werdenfels Castle north of Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The castle acted chiefly to secure the military and trade route that ran through the Loisach valley and linked trading posts in Italy and Upper Bavaria. It is sometimes called the Goldener Land after the wealth derived in the Middle Ages and Renaissance from the traffic along this Rottstraße, the main route over the Alps to Augsburg.
The cultural centre of the land is the town Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The following municipalities also belong to Werdenfelser Land proper:
Werdenfelser territory, or at least culture, is also by some sources said to include the Ammertal municipalities:
The most expansive definition includes all of the Loisach and Ammer valleys as far north as the edge of the Alps along the line of lakes Soienersee-Staffelsee-Riegsee, incorporating the additional municipalities:
- Bad Kohlgrub
- Bad Bayersoien
The southern Werdenfelser Land is bordered by the Wetterstein Mountains and the Karwendel. The Zugspitze lies southwest of Garmisch-Partenkirchen and, at , is the highest peak in Germany. Both the valleys and the Alpine Foreland have been heavily influenced by the last ice age. The lakes were partially formed by groundwater filling the hollows carved out by the glaciers. Later the lakes silted up and formed moors like the Murnauer Moos.
- Wolfgang Wüst: Umbruch im Goldenen Landl vor 200 Jahren. Der Markt Partenkirchen und die Grafschaft Werdenfels im Säkularisationstrauma, in: Mohr – Löwe – Raute. Beiträge zur Geschichte des Landkreises Garmisch-Partenkirchen 11, hg. v. Verein für Geschichte, Kunst und Kulturgeschichte im Landkreis e. V., Garmisch-Partenkirchen 2006, p. 141-162.