Thursday, 5 September 2013

Bavaria - meine Heimat

After my last post on Copenhagen, I was thinking really hard about my next post and what it should be about but then I simply thought that I should write a little something about Bavaria.

Germany has become a quite popular holiday destination and many think initially of Bavaria and its culture and landscape when they think of Germany.

Therefore, it is essential for you to know a little bit more about this part of Germany than the average Oktoberfest tourist does :-)

As all of you know, there are 16 Bundesländer (states) in Germany. 
Three of them, namely Hamburg, Bremen and Berlin, are Stadtstaaten (city-states) since these states only consist of the territory of the respective cities.
Five of the Bundesländer are the 'new' Bundesländer (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Saxony-Anhalt, Thuringia and Saxony). They once were the former German Democratic Republic. Although the east of Berlin was part of it, Berlin is not included in the new Bundesländer today.

So far, so good. Now you know a bit about the Bundesländer. As you can see on the map, Bavaria is the largest Bundesland in size (appr. 70,550 km²). The largest population though can be found in North Rhine-Westphalia with 17.5 million inhabitants compared to 12.5 million in Bavaria.

Bavaria has a special culture and history and is different from the rest of Germany. Well, I admit that this sounds very patriotic but I think I am not the only Bavarian thinking this way.

In this picture, you can see a map of Bavaria and its seven regions. 
Oberfranken, Mittelfranken und Unterfranken belong to Bavaria but the three regions together are called Franconia and represent another region in Germany with its own dialect, culture and history which is quite similiar to the Bavarian dialect and culture. 
Schwaben is also part of the Bavarian state but there they speak the Swabian dialect and belong to the Swabians.

It might be hard to understand the distinction of the different regions in Bavaria when you are not from Germany that is why I am trying to bring 'my Bavaria' a bit closer to you.

I love our traditions and it is sad to see that these have almost disappeared in the big cities and towns. If there is still some traditional event, then it is mostly for the sake of entertainment and tourism.
When you take a look at the countryside, however, you can still find appreciation for our tradition and heritage.

I took this picture in a small village in Oberbayern where they had their annual Dorffest. There are still socities for traditional costumes and this one was for the children of the village and they also rehearse traditional dances and show them at events.

Bavaria is also blessed with a very delicious cuisine (which is not the best for staying slim, trust me ;-) ). People from all over the world know at least one Bavarian dish let alone Bavarian beer.
Our beer is known throughout the world and the world should also know about our excellent wine which is cultivated in the northwestern part of Bavaria, in the area around the city of Würzburg.

I want to write more posts for you about Bavaria and the life there. So stay tuned :-)


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