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Portal:Germany

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Welcome to the Germany Portal!
Willkommen im Deutschland-Portal!

Flag Germany
Location of Germany within Europe 

Germany (German: Deutschland), officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Germany includes 16 constituent states, covers an area of 357,578 square kilometres (138,062 sq mi) and has a largely temperate seasonal climate. With 83 million inhabitants, it is the second most populous state of Europe after Russia, the most populous state lying entirely in Europe, as well as the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is a very decentralised country. Its capital and largest metropolis is Berlin, while Frankfurt serves as its financial capital and has the country's busiest airport.

In 1871, Germany became a nation state when most of the German states unified into the Prussian-dominated German Empire. After World War I and the revolution of 1918–19, the Empire was replaced by the parliamentary Weimar Republic. The Nazi seizure of power in 1933 led to World War II, and the Holocaust. After the end of World War II in Europe and a period of Allied occupation, two new German states were founded: West Germany, formed from the American, British, and French occupation zones, and East Germany, formed from the western part of the Soviet occupation zone, reduced by the newly established Oder-Neisse line. Following the Revolutions of 1989 that ended communist rule in Central and Eastern Europe, the country was reunified on 3 October 1990.

Today, Germany is a federal parliamentary republic led by a chancellor. It is a great power with a strong economy. The Federal Republic of Germany was a founding member of the European Economic Community in 1957 and the European Union in 1993. Read more...

Selected article

Destruction of the fortress on Godesberg during the Cologne War in 1583

The Siege of Godesberg, 18 November – 17 December 1583, was the first major siege of the Cologne War (1583–1589). Seeking to wrest control of an important fortification, Bavarian and mercenary soldiers surrounded the Godesberg, and the village then of the same name, now Bad Godesberg, located at its foot. On top of the mountain sat a formidable fortress, similarly named Godesburg, built in the early 13th century during a contest over the election of two competing archbishops.

Towering over the Rhine valley, the Godesburg's strategic position commanded the roads leading to and from Bonn, the Elector of Cologne's capital city, and Cologne, the region's economic powerhouse. Over time, the Electors strengthened its walls and heightened its towers. They added a small residence in the 14th century and the donjon (also called a Bergfried or keep) developed as a stronghold of the Electoral archives and valuables. By the mid-16th century, the Godesburg was considered nearly impregnable and had become a symbol of the dual power of the Prince-electors and Archbishops of Cologne, one of the wealthiest ecclesiastical territories in the Holy Roman Empire. The Cologne War, a feud between the Protestant Elector, Gebhard, Truchsess of Waldburg, and the Catholic Elector, Ernst of Bavaria, was yet another schismatic episode in the Electoral and archdiocesan history.

The Godesburg came under attack from Bavarian forces in November 1583. It resisted a lengthy cannonade by the attacking army; finally, sappers tunneled into the basalt core of the mountain, placed 680 kilograms (1,500 lb) of powder into the tunnel and blew up a significant part of the fortifications. The explosion killed many of the defending troops, but the resulting rubble impeded the attackers' progress, and the remaining defenders continued to offer staunch resistance. Only when some of the attackers entered the castle's inner courtyard through the latrine system were the Bavarians able to overcome their opponents. The Godesburg's commander and some surviving defenders took refuge in the keep; using prisoners held in the dungeons as hostages, the commander negotiated safe passage for himself, his wife and his lieutenant. The others who were left in the keep—men, women and children—were killed. Nearby Bonn fell to the Bavarians the following month. Read more...

Selected picture

Zwickau Johannis bath (aka).jpg

The Johannisbad bath in Zwickau
Image credit: André Karwath

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Selected fare or cuisine

Saxon cuisine encompasses regional cooking traditions of Saxony. In general the cuisine is very hearty and features many peculiarities of Mid-Germany such as a great variety of sauces which accompany the main dish and the fashion to serve Klöße/Knödel as a side dish instead of potatoes, pasta or rice. Also much freshwater fish is used in Saxon cuisine, particularly carp and trout as is the case throughout Eastern Europe.

The rich history of the region did and still does influence the cuisine. In the blossoming and growing cities of Dresden and Leipzig an extravagant style of cuisine is cherished as exemplified by crab as an ingredient in Leipziger Allerlei. Other regions where the people had to work really hard to yield some harvest and were really poor like in the Erzgebirge peasant dishes play a major role and famous dishes originating there are e.g. potatoes with quark, potato soup or potato with bread and linseed oil. Also in the region Vogtland there were many peasants but they were wealthier and that's why in this region the Sunday roast is a tradition that is nowadays still lived up to. Read more...

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