|Surface area||79.9 km2 (30.8 sq mi)|
|Max. depth||72.7 m (239 ft)|
|Water volume||2,048×106 m3 (72.3×109 cu ft)|
|Shore length1||63.96 km (39.74 mi)|
|Surface elevation||518.19 m (1,700.1 ft)|
|Islands||(Herreninsel, Fraueninsel, Krautinsel, Schalch)|
|1 Shore length is not a well-defined measure.|
Chiemsee (German pronunciation: [ˈkiːmzeː]) is a freshwater lake in Bavaria, Germany, between Rosenheim, Germany, and Salzburg, Austria. It is often called the Bavarian Sea. The rivers Tiroler Achen and Prien flow into the lake from the South; the river Alz, out towards the North. The Chiemsee is divided into the bigger, north section, in the northeast, called Weitsee, and the Inselsee, in the southwest.
The region around the Chiemsee is Chiemgau and is a famous recreation area.
The Chiemsee was formed, like many other pre-alpine lakes, at the end of the last ice age about 10,000 years ago from a hollow carved out by a glacier (a Zungenbecken). Originally the lake covered an area of almost 240 km², which is about three times its present area. Within 100 years its area shrank to around 80 km². Before 1904 the water level was lowered by about a metre. As a result, large areas of dry land were reclaimed.
There are three main islands on the lake: Herreninsel, the largest, with an area of 238 ha; Frauenchiemsee, 15.5 ha, also called Herreninsel (gentlemen’s island) and Fraueninsel (ladies’ island); and uninhabited Krautinsel, 3.5 ha. It is known as cabbage island because in the Middle Ages it was cultivated with vegetable and cabbages.
- Herreninsel has a palace built by King Ludwig II in 1878 called Herrenchiemsee, which was never completed but was meant to be a replica of the Palace of Versailles. Many of its rooms are open to tourists; tours of the palace and its extensive grounds are conducted throughout the summer.
- Frauenchiemsee, the smaller of the two main islands, houses a Benedictine nunnery, built in 782, as well as a small village. The nuns make a liquor called Klosterlikör (cloister liquor) and marzipan (almond paste).
There are also three very small islands: the Schalch, to the west of Frauenchiemsee; and two unnamed islands, 54 and 80 meters south of the Krautinsel, with an area of 30 m² each.
- Nixdorf, B. et al. (2004), "Chiemsee" (PDF), Dokumentation von Zustand und Entwicklung der wichtigsten Seen Deutschlands (in German), Berlin: Umweltbundesamt, p. 17
- Travel guide of Chiemsee on Wikivoyage
- Ferienhaus am Chiemsee
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