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Rügen Island

 

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Rügen is Germany’s largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.

The “gateway” to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via the Rügen Bridge and Causeway, two routes crossing the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea.

Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons (Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King’s Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island.

The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin and Thiessow.

Rügen is very popular as a tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches.

GEOGRAPHY

The main body of the island, known as Muttland, is surrounded by several peninsulas. To the north lie the peninsulas of Wittow and Jasmund, connected to each other by the Schaabe sandbar and to Muttland by the Schmale Heide, an embankment at Lietzow and the Wittow Ferry. The northern peninsulas are separated from Muttland by several lagoons or bodden, the largest of which are the Großer Jasmunder Bodden and Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden. Major peninsulas in the south are Zudar and Mönchgut which both face the Bay of Greifswald.

Rügen has a total area of 926.4 km2, or 974 km2 if the adjacent small islands are included. The maximum diameter is 51.4 km from north to south, and 42.8 km from east to west. Of an overall 574 km-long coastline, 56 km are sandy Baltic Sea beaches, and 2.8 km sandy bodden beaches. The highest elevations are on the Jasmund peninsula: Piekberg (161 m) and Königsstuhl (117 m).

The northern part of the Bay of Greifswald, the Rügischer Bodden, is a large bay in the south of Rügen island, with the island of Vilm lying just offshore. At the western end of the bay, the peninsula of Zudar runs out to the southernmost point of Rügen (Palmer Ort), at the eastern end the highly indented peninsula of Mönchgut projects into the sea. This peninsula ends in the east at the cape of Nordperd near Göhren and in the south at the cape of Südperd by Thiessow. In the west of the peninsula of Mönchgut a narrow, 5-km-long bar, the Reddevitz Höft, separates the two bays of Having and Hagensche Wiek.

In the north-east of the island of Rügen is formed by the peninsula of Jasmund, which is joined to the heart of the island, Muttland, by the bar of Schmale Heide between Binz-Prora and Sassnitz-Mukran and by a rail and road embankment at Lietzow. The Schmale Heide separates the outer bay of Prorer Wiek from the lagoon of the Kleiner Jasmunder Bodden. On the peninsula of Jasmund are the Piekberg (161 m above sea level (NN)), the highest point on Rügen, and the Königsstuhl, a 118-metre-high chalk cliff in Stubbenkammer, which forms the most striking landmark on the island. Another bar, the Schaabe, links Jasmund to the peninsula of Wittow in the north of Rügen. The Schaabe, in turn, separates the outer bay of Tromper Wiek from the lagoon of the Großer Jasmunder Bodden. The peninsula of Wittow and the and long, narrow peninsula of Bug to the west are separated from the main body of Rügen by the Rassower Strom, the Breetzer Bodden and the Breeger Bodden. The Wittow peninsula is adjoined in the north by Cape Arkona. Just under a kilometre to the northwest, located at 54°41′ N, is the northernmost point of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Below this cliff (Gellort) on the shoreline is the Siebenschneiderstein – the fourth largest glacial erratic boulder on Rügen.

The northwestern and western sides of Rügen are also highly indented, but a little flatter. Offshore are the larger islands of Hiddensee and Ummanz as well as the smaller islands Öhe Liebitz and Heuwiese. Sand removal and deposition by the Baltic Sea has to be constantly countered by dredging operations to the north and south of Hiddensee, otherwise Hiddensee would merge with Rügen within a few years. Rügen is dotted with many glacial erratic boulders, of which the 22 largest belong to legally-protected geotopes (see also:Erratics on and around Rügen).

CLIMATE

The climate is in the temperate zone. The winters are not particularly cold, with mean temperatures in January and February of 0.0 °C (32.0 °F); and summers are mild and temperate, with a mean temperature in August of 16.3 °C (61.3 °F). There is an average rainfall of 520–560 millimetres (20–22 in) and approximately 1800–1870 hours of sunshine annually.

HISTORY

The Baltic Sea Island was an important holiday area of the former GDR.

The island Rügen is populated since the Stone Age. This has been proved by discoveries made in the lagoon. Moreover you can find many stone monuments such as megalithic tombs and sacrificial stones which have survived into our time. The residents of Rügen used to belong to the East Germanic tribe of the “Rugier” from which the island’s name originated. From the beginning of the 7th century Rügen was part of the West-Slavic Empire of the “Ranen”. For a couple of centuries this tribe determined the history of the Baltic Sea region.langte weit über die Grenzen des Ranenreiches hinaus Bedeutung. Their fleet and the favorable geographical location built the basis for this supremacy.

The temple fortress Arkona was dedicated to the god Svantovit and gained importance far beyond the periphery of the empire of the “Ranen”. The Svantovit temple in the hill fort of Cape Arkona was destroyed in 1168 by the Danish king Waldemar I, this ended both the territorial as well as the religious independence of the “Ranen”. Rügen became a Danish principality which changed its face. Danish monasteries were formed and German colonists were brought into the country. The cultural element of the Slavs soon vanished and the “Ranen” merged into what we know now as the German nation. In addition to building up the population they formed new cities such as Stralsund.

In 1304 a storm devastated the island and flooded the headland between Mönchgut and Ruden. After the death of the last Slavic count Wizlaw III in 1325, Rügen found itself in successive wars until 1354. The end result was the handing over of possession to the Holy Roman Empire

In the centuries that followed, possession changed hands between Pomerania, Sweden, Prussia, Denmark and again back to Sweden. Even the French held possession over Rügen for a short period of time during the Napoleonic War. It wasn’t until 1818 that the disputes over Rügen were settled and the island became the Prussian province Pomerania. After the end of the Second World War Rügen became part of the GDR. The island was one of the most important holiday regions of the GDR. The FDGB (Federation of German Trade Unions) arranged the allocation of hotel stays, summer camps and camp sites.

Since the reunification the island of Rügen belongs to the province of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Tourism continues to be the biggest economic sector.

TOURIST RESORTS

Rügen is one of the most popular holiday destinations in Germany. The island receives about one quarter of all overnight stays in Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania. Most visitors come to Rügen between April and October, the peak season being from June to August, but its quiet atmosphere in winter is also appreciated.

The first bathing facility on Rügen opened in 1794 at the mineral-rich spring in Sagard. In 1818, the Putbus village of Lauterbach became Rügen’s first seaside resort. In the 1860s Sassnitz became a seaside resort, followed by Binz in the 1880s. During World War II Prora was constructed as a mass tourist resort but it was never finished.

Today the most popular seaside resorts are the Schaabe beaches between Altenkirchen and Juliusruh including Drewoldke, Glowe and Breege, and the eastern beaches between Sassnitz and Göhren including Neu Mukran, Prora, Binz, Sellin and Baabe. The latter are accessible via an historic narrow gauge railway employing steam locomotives, called the Rügensche Bäderbahn. Tourist destinations, other than seaside resorts, include Cape Arkona, the wood-covered Stubbenkammer hills on Jasmund with interesting chalk cliff formations, the wood-covered Granitz hills with their Jagdschloß or hunting lodge, the classicist buildings of Putbus and the inland villages of Bergen auf Rügen, Ralswiek and Gingst.

The island offers a huge variety of different beach and shore areas. Rügen is often visited by windsurfers and kitesurfers and offers more than fifteen different locations for surfing. The most popular locations are Dranske, Rosengarten, Wiek, Suhrendorf and Neu Mukran.

On the peninsula of Jasmund is the Jasmund National Park, which consists of the beech forest of Stubnitz, including the famous chalk cliffs of Rügen. On the Königsstuhl itself is the Königsstuhl National Park Centre, which has a multivision cinema and audio-guide exhibitions with information about the national park in several languages.

TRANSPORT

Rail

The railway network consists of the electrified standard gauge stretch of the Deutsche Bahn Stralsund (Rügendamm)-Bergen-Sassnitz line (timetable route (KBS) 195), Lietzow-Binz (KBS 197), the non-electrified routes Bergen-Putbus-Lauterbach Mole of the PRESS (KBS 198) and the narrow gauge stretch (750 mm (2 ft 5 1⁄2 in)) of the Rügen Resort Railway (Rasender Roland): Lauterbach Mole-Putbus-Binz-Sellin-Göhren (KBS 199).

In addition to regional trains, there are also Intercity services from Binz via Bergen and Stralsund to Berlin, Hamburg Frankfurt, Stuttgart and the Ruhr. Night train services to Munich, Basle and the Ruhr area were deleted from the timetable on 9 December 2007, despite massive protests from the local hotel industry.

Bus

The bus service on Rügen is operated by the Rügener Personennahverkehr. Since 1996 it has been continuously expanded, and has developed an integral clock-face schedule. There is a service between all major towns and municipalities on the island at least every two hours, sometimes more frequently during peak season. Throughout the year, buses now run at least every hour on the routes between Sassnitz-Binz-Bergen, Schaprode–Bergen–Klein Zicker, Bergen/Sassnitz-Altenkirchen-Wiek-Dranske and the Altenkirchen-Putgarten near Cape Arkona. In addition, the bus service is well-linked with the railway, especially in Bergen, but also at other railway stations.

Road

Until October 2007, individual traffic from the mainland to the island of Rügen was mainly route along the two-lane Rügendamm causeway, running between Stralsund and Altefähr over the sound of Strelasund.

The cornerstone for a second crossing over the Strelasund was laid on 31 August 2004. This bridge, the Rügen Bridge, running parallel to the Rügendamm, has a length of about 4.1 kilometres and a vertical clearance for ships of 42 metres, and was on opened on 20 October 2007. In order to relieve the town of Stralsund, a ring road has been built in the last few years, coming from the southwest. The B 96 federal road between Stralsund and Greifswald is also connected via an access road to the A 20 motorway. The B 96 runs from Stralsund via Bergen to Sassnitz. Here a new route with bypasses is planned (the “New B 96”).

The main tourist attractions of Cape Arkona, the Königsstuhl and the Granitz hunting lodge are, however, car-free in order to protect the countryside, as is the island of Hiddensee which belongs to Vorpommern-Rügen district. All these destinations can be reached using public transport, without needing a car.

Cycling

Rügen has a signposted network of cycle paths. The condition and signing of this network varies considerably from one place to another, from very good in the seaside resorts to poor in the area between Garz and Zudar. There is a circular cycle path around the whole island. During the summer season there is the option on some routes to carry bicycles on the buses. This is always possible on the railways.

Ship

Two car ferries belonging to the Weiße Flotte operate every half-an-hour between the Zudar peninsula on Rügen and Stahlbrode on the mainland, halfway between Stralsund and Greifswald .

Another Weiße Flotte car ferry, the Wittow Ferry runs from the heartland of Rügen (Muttland) to Wittow.

A ferry sails from Sassnitz ferry port in Mukran to the Danish island of Bornholm, to Swedish Trelleborg, to Klaipeda in the Baltic states, to Baltijsk and to St. Petersburg.

The island of Hiddensee, which also belongs to the county of Vorpommern-Rügen, is connected by a regular ferry service from Schaprode to Rügen, and is increasingly integrated into the clock-schedule timetable on the main island. In addition, there is a regular ship service from Stralsund, Wiek and Breege to Hiddensee. Tourist services include ferry connections from Lauterbach to Gager, and between Sassnitz, Binz, Sellin and Göhren. There are also round-trips mainly from Sassnitz, but also from Lohme, to the Königsstuhl. Pleasure steamers also ply between the resorts and Peenemünde on Usedom, where there is a connection to the Usedom Railway (UBB).

Ferries

Sassnitz–Neu Mukran is the international ferry terminal on Rügen, with ferry services to

  • Trelleborg (Sweden, served by Scandlines),
  • Rønne (Bornholm, Denmark, served by Bornholmstrafikken),
  • Klaipėda (Memel, Lithuania, served by DFDS Lisco),
  • Baltiysk (Pillau, Kaliningrad Oblast, Russia, served by DFDS Lisco),
  • Saint Petersburg (Russia, served by TransRussiaExpress),
  • Ust-Luga (near Saint Petersburg, Russia; planned).

Sassnitz-Mukran is the largest railway ferry terminal in Germany and the only one in Europe where different tracks allow switching from standard gauge to broad gauge.

Local passenger ferries connect the piers of Sassnitz, Binz, Sellin and Göhren with the adjacent islands of Hiddensee, Vilm and Greifswalder Oie. Passenger and car ferries connect Rügen’s centre of Muttland, to both Wittow in Rügen’s north via the Wittow Ferry and to the mainland via the Glewitz Ferry (Glewitzer Fähre) between Stahlbrode near Greifswald and Glewitz on Rügen’s Zudar peninsula.

Aviation

Rügen Airport is located about 8 km from Bergen. After the Wende, the first sightseeing flights over the island were offered on the former agricultural airfield. In May 1993, the first tarmac runway was inaugurated. Since then, charter flights to Berlin, Hamburg and other cities in Europe have been available.

The Baltic Sea Airport Stralsund also offers flights to and from the region of Western Pomerania. The larger Rostock–Laage Airport offers regular international destinations.

Activities

Baumwipfelpfad Baumwipfelpfad Naturerbe Zentrum Rugen Naturerbe Zentrum Rugen Reederei Adler-Schiffe  Reederei Adler-Schiffe Rugen-Kite Rugen-Kite
Experimenta Rugen Experimenta Rugen Schlosspark von Putbus Schlosspark von Putbus Inselrodelbahn Inselrodelbahn Seebruecke Sellin  Seebruecke Sellin

 

Accommodation

 

Car Rental

 

SYLT BEACHES

KdF – Koloss von Ruegen

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Binz beach

Binz Beach

 

Seebruecke Sellin 

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