During the last Ice Age, glaciers (from the Alps in the south and Scandinavia in the north) occurred four times and shaped much of Germanys land. After this happened, the glaciers had formed five regions, The North Germany Lowlands, The South German Hills, The Central Uplands, The Alpine foothills (of The Southern Germany Hills) and the Rhine River Valley. In all these regions you will find out why Germany has become one of the top vacationing spots.
Since Germany is located in the heart of Europe, it has many neighbors. Nations touching its western boundary are the Netherlands, Belgium, Luxemburg, and France. The total area of Germany is 137,854 feet, a little bit smaller than the state of Montana in the United States. Germany includes flat lands, hills, lakes, rivers, mountains, and large areas of forest.
Germany is located in the world’s temperate zone, where temperatures change dramatically from season to season. Weather in the western part of the country is affected by the Atlantic Ocean. The ocean tends to warm the air in winter and cool it in the summer. The eastern part of the nation has a more normal climate with hot summers and cold winters. In the northwestern part of the nation, the average temperature is about fifty degrees Fahrenheit. To the south, the temperature is warmer by about three degrees Fahrenheit.
North Germany Lowlands
Northern Germany is along the coast of the North and Baltic seas. The largest land in Germany is the Lowlands. Almost the entire region (also known as the North German Plain) lies 300 feet above sea level. The region is drained by rivers that flow northward into the North Sea or the Baltic Sea. These rivers are the Elbe, Ems, Oder, Rhine, and Weser, all of which are important waterways. In the northernmost part of the country, the important Kiel Canal links the Baltic to the North Sea. The wide river valleys, as well as land along the seacoasts, have soft, fertile soil. Between the valleys are large areas covered with sand and gravel. These areas are called heathlands. The sand and gravel were buried by glaciers, which moved across much of Europe thousands of years ago. The glaciers also formed many small lakes in the region.
The Bavarian Alps
The Alps are the largest mountain system in Europe. The peaks rise more than 6,000 feet. The highest point in Germany, the 9,721-foot peak, Zugspitzes, in this region. The region has many lakes including the Chiemsee, Starnbergersee, and Ammersee. The lower part of Bavaria has very fertile soil where a lot of its grains are picked.
The Black Forest
South of the South German Hills is the Black Forest, a mountainous region which gets it name from its dark fir and spruce trees that cover the mountainsides. The region has granite and sandstone uplands with deep, narrow valleys. It averages between 2,500 and 3,000 feet above sea level, with some peaks rising more than 4,000 feet. The region is the source of the Danube and Neckar rivers. It is also known for its mineral springs.
The Central Uplands
The plains of northern Germany extend southward into an area of ancient mountains sometimes called the central uplands. These Uplands are a series of mountains that range from almost flat to sharp. They are covered with rock and poor soil. Most of the plateaus are from 1,000 to 2,500 feet above sea level. Two of them, the Harz Mountains and the Thuringian Forest, have peaks that rise more than 3,000 feet. Rivers in the region have cut steep, narrow valleys. In the northwest by the Rhine River, are Germany’s largest slate mountains, the Rhineland Schiefergebirge. Here, grains and root crops are grown in the flat areas, and orchards and vineyards are found on slopes overlooking the Ilm River.
The South German Hills
This region includes a series of long, parallel ridges called escarpments. Sheep are raised on these rocky ridges. Lowlands between the ridges have fertile clay soil. Some of these lowlands are among the best farmlands in Germany. Along the southern edge of the hill region are large areas covered with sand and gravel. Ancient glaciers deposited this soil.
The Romantic River
The Rhine River is known as The Romantic River because it flows through beautiful countryside’s, hills, century old villages, and vineyards. The Rhine (also known as the Rhineland) is famous for its wines. Wine festivals, and the beautiful scenery make this a popular sight for tourists. The dozen of ruined castles that overlook the Rhine are the best spots to take a break. With breath taking scenes, and eye-catching castles, this was every couple’s dream of a first date.
A small section of Europe’s most famous mountains, the Alps, extend into the state of Bavaria in southern Germany. Bavaria is the largest of Germany’s sixteen states. But the part of Bavaria with the true Alpine mountains is really small. More of the area is taken up by smaller foothills of the Alps. One of the tallest of all the Alpine peaks, Zugspitze, is located in Bavaria. Zugspitze is Germany’s highest mountain and is 9,721 feet high.
The Berlin Wall
During the early 1950’s the border between two states was guarded by watchtowers and wrapped with wire from the eastern side. But a group of people, about 3.5 million, continued to leave the country through Berlin. However, on August 12, 1961 an 11 foot high concrete wall was built overnight, dividing the east from the west. The wall symbolized a barrier to freedom that was available in West Germany. Turning the former capital into a divided city, at least 72 people lost their lives trying to cross the wall. In the late 1980’s, a popular protest began and the opening of the wall began. On November 9,1989 a flood of Germans from both East and West passed through. Pieces of the wall have now become popular souvenirs, and the monument itself has also become an even popular place to visit by tourist.