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Southern Germany

Southern Germany

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The term Southern Germany is used to describe a region in the south of Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

. There is no specific boundary to the region, but it usually includes all of Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

 and Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg is one of the 16 states of Germany. Baden-Württemberg is in the southwestern part of the country to the east of the Upper Rhine, and is the third largest in both area and population of Germany's sixteen states, with an area of and 10.7 million inhabitants...

, and the southern part of Hesse
Hesse
Hesse or Hessia is both a cultural region of Germany and the name of an individual German state.* The cultural region of Hesse includes both the State of Hesse and the area known as Rhenish Hesse in the neighbouring Rhineland-Palatinate state...

. The Saarland
Saarland
Saarland is one of the sixteen states of Germany. The capital is Saarbrücken. It has an area of 2570 km² and 1,045,000 inhabitants. In both area and population, it is the smallest state in Germany other than the city-states...

 and Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate
Rhineland-Palatinate is one of the 16 states of the Federal Republic of Germany. It has an area of and about four million inhabitants. The capital is Mainz. English speakers also commonly refer to the state by its German name, Rheinland-Pfalz ....

 are also often included.

Population


Two of the most populous states of Germany, Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria, are part of Southern Germany; they have a combined population of 23,5 million people. In the broader sense (with Rhineland-Palatinate and the Saarland), Southern Germany includes roughly 30 million people. Thus, about 40% of the German population and almost 30% of all native speakers of the German language
German language
German is a West Germanic language, related to and classified alongside English and Dutch. With an estimated 90 – 98 million native speakers, German is one of the world's major languages and is the most widely-spoken first language in the European Union....

 live there.

The region has a Catholic
Catholicism
Catholicism is a broad term for the body of the Catholic faith, its theologies and doctrines, its liturgical, ethical, spiritual, and behavioral characteristics, as well as a religious people as a whole....

 majority, but also a significant Lutheran
Lutheranism
Lutheranism is a major branch of Western Christianity that identifies with the theology of Martin Luther, a German reformer. Luther's efforts to reform the theology and practice of the church launched the Protestant Reformation...

 Protestant
Protestantism
Protestantism is one of the three major groupings within Christianity. It is a movement that began in Germany in the early 16th century as a reaction against medieval Roman Catholic doctrines and practices, especially in regards to salvation, justification, and ecclesiology.The doctrines of the...

 population (especially in Northern Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

 and some parts of Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

 and Franconia
Franconia
Franconia is a region of Germany comprising the northern parts of the modern state of Bavaria, a small part of southern Thuringia, and a region in northeastern Baden-Württemberg called Tauberfranken...

 (Northern Bavaria)), in contrast to the almost entirely Protestant Northern Germany
Northern Germany
- Geography :The key terrain features of North Germany are the marshes along the coastline of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and the geest and heaths inland. Also prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, sandur, glacial valleys, bogs, and Luch...

. Due to the immigration of non-Christians, mainly Turks (see Turks in Germany) during the last decades of the 20th century, there is also a small number (roughly 250.000, i.e. 2-3% of the population) of Muslims.

Natural and cultural borders


The River Main, flowing westward, through Upper
Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia is a Regierungsbezirk of the state of Bavaria, southern Germany. It forms part of the historically significant region of Franconia , all now part of the German Federal State of Bayern .With more than 200 independent breweries which brew...

 and Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia is one of the three administrative regions of Franconia in Bavaria , Germany ....

 and Southern Hesse
Darmstadt (region)
Darmstadt is one of the three Regierungsbezirke of Hesse, Germany, located in the south of the state.- External links :*...

, through the city of Frankfurt, into the River Rhine at Mainz
Mainz
Mainz under the Holy Roman Empire, and previously was a Roman fort city which commanded the west bank of the Rhine and formed part of the northernmost frontier of the Roman Empire...

, is often cited as a natural border between Southern and Middle Germany
Middle Germany
Central Germany is an economic and cultural region in Germany. Its exact borders depend on context, but it is often defined as being a region within the federal states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt, or a smaller part of this region .The name dates from the German Empire, when the region...

 while the border west of Mainz is in that respect less clearly determined. The border between the Palatinate and the Rhineland
Rhineland
Historically, the Rhinelands refers to a loosely-defined region embracing the land on either bank of the River Rhine in central Europe....

 - roughly a line between Bonn
Bonn
Bonn is the 19th largest city in Germany. Located in the Cologne/Bonn Region, about 25 kilometres south of Cologne on the river Rhine in the State of North Rhine-Westphalia, it was the capital of West Germany from 1949 to 1990 and the official seat of government of united Germany from 1990 to 1999....

 and Bingen
Bingen
Bingen may refer to:* Bingen am Rhein, Germany* Bingen, Baden-Württemberg, Germany* Bingen, Washington, United States* Bingen Hauptbahnhof...

, in the mountain ranges (Mittelgebirge
Mittelgebirge
A Mittelgebirge is a relatively low mountain range, a typical geographical feature of Central Europe, especially Central and Southern Germany; it refers to something between hill country and a proper mountain range...

) of the Westerwald
Westerwald
The Westerwald is a low mountain range on the right bank of the River Rhine in the German federal states of Rhineland-Palatinate, Hesse and North Rhine-Westphalia. It is a part of the Rhine Massif...

, the Taunus
Taunus
The Taunus is a low mountain range in Hesse, Germany that composes part of the Rhenish Slate Mountains. It is bounded by the river valleys of Rhine, Main and Lahn. On the opposite side of the Rhine, the mountains are continued by the Hunsrück...

 and the Eifel
Eifel
The Eifel is a low mountain range in western Germany and eastern Belgium. It occupies parts of southwestern North Rhine-Westphalia, northwestern Rhineland-Palatinate and the south of the German-speaking Community of Belgium....

, along the Rhine and Mosel
Mosel
Mosel may mean the following:* Moselle , a European river, named Mosel in German* Mosel , a German appellation, formerly known as Mosel-Saar-Ruwer** Mosel wine, wine produced in the region...

 rivers - is seen as the cultural border between Southern and Western Germany
Western Germany
The geographic term Western Germany is used to describe a region in the west of Germany. The exact area defined by the term is not constant, but it usually includes, but does not have the borders of, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse...

.

To the West
West
West is a noun, adjective, or adverb indicating direction or geography.West is one of the four cardinal directions or compass points. It is the opposite of east and is perpendicular to north and south.By convention, the left side of a map is west....

, the Alsace
Alsace
Alsace is the fifth-smallest of the 27 regions of France in land area , and the smallest in metropolitan France. It is also the seventh-most densely populated region in France and third most densely populated region in metropolitan France, with ca. 220 inhabitants per km²...

 region (and to a lesser extent Lorraine
Lorraine (région)
Lorraine is one of the 27 régions of France. The administrative region has two cities of equal importance, Metz and Nancy. Metz is considered to be the official capital since that is where the regional parliament is situated...

), both since 1945 a part of France
France
The French Republic , The French Republic , The French Republic , (commonly known as France , is a unitary semi-presidential republic in Western Europe with several overseas territories and islands located on other continents and in the Indian, Pacific, and Atlantic oceans. Metropolitan France...

, are culturally, linguistically (see Alsatian dialect and Alemannic dialects) and also in terms of cuisine
Cuisine
Cuisine is a characteristic style of cooking practices and traditions, often associated with a specific culture. Cuisines are often named after the geographic areas or regions that they originate from...

 closer to Baden
Baden
Baden is a historical state on the east bank of the Rhine in the southwest of Germany, now the western part of the Baden-Württemberg of Germany....

, Württemberg
Württemberg
Württemberg , formerly known as Wirtemberg or Wurtemberg, is an area and a former state in southwestern Germany, including parts of the regions Swabia and Franconia....

 and the Palatinate and thus to Southern Germany than to the rest of France.

Southern Germany is also culturally, linguistically and otherwise more similar to German-speaking Switzerland, Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 and German-speaking South Tyrol
South Tyrol
South Tyrol , also known by its Italian name Alto Adige, is an autonomous province in northern Italy. It is one of the two autonomous provinces that make up the autonomous region of Trentino-Alto Adige/Südtirol. The province has an area of and a total population of more than 500,000 inhabitants...

 than to Middle and Northern Germany.

Another, jocular, term is the so-called Weißwurstäquator
Weißwurstäquator
The is a humorous term describing the very different culture and dialect of the southern part of Germany, especially Bavaria, and the rest of the country...

, i.e. the "equator" between regions where the Weißwurst
Weißwurst
Weisswurst is a traditional Bavarian sausage made from very finely minced veal and fresh pork bacon. It is usually flavoured with parsley, lemon, mace, onions, ginger and cardamom, though there are some variations...

 is common and where it is not; this border, however, is more a border between Bavaria
Bavaria
Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of Germany. With an area of , it is the largest state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany...

n culture (sometimes, Austrians
Austrians
Austrians are a nation and ethnic group, consisting of the population of the Republic of Austria and its historical predecessor states who share a common Austrian culture and Austrian descent....

 are considered part of that culture as well (see Austro-Bavarian dialects)) and non-Bavarian Germans
Germans
The Germans are a Germanic ethnic group native to Central Europe. The English term Germans has referred to the German-speaking population of the Holy Roman Empire since the Late Middle Ages....

.

Economically, Southern Germany is the strongest part of Germany, with Baden-Württemberg and Bavaria powerhouses of manufacturing
Manufacturing
Manufacturing is the use of machines, tools and labor to produce goods for use or sale. The term may refer to a range of human activity, from handicraft to high tech, but is most commonly applied to industrial production, in which raw materials are transformed into finished goods on a large scale...

, especially in the automobile
Automobile
An automobile, autocar, motor car or car is a wheeled motor vehicle used for transporting passengers, which also carries its own engine or motor...

 and machinery industry. Furthermore, it is home to some of the country's most prestigious universities (such as the ones in Heidelberg
Heidelberg
-Early history:Between 600,000 and 200,000 years ago, "Heidelberg Man" died at nearby Mauer. His jaw bone was discovered in 1907; with scientific dating, his remains were determined to be the earliest evidence of human life in Europe. In the 5th century BC, a Celtic fortress of refuge and place of...

, Munich
Munich
Munich The city's motto is "" . Before 2006, it was "Weltstadt mit Herz" . Its native name, , is derived from the Old High German Munichen, meaning "by the monks' place". The city's name derives from the monks of the Benedictine order who founded the city; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat...

, Tübingen
Tübingen
Tübingen is a traditional university town in central Baden-Württemberg, Germany. It is situated south of the state capital, Stuttgart, on a ridge between the Neckar and Ammer rivers.-Geography:...

 and Würzburg
Würzburg
Würzburg is a city in the region of Franconia which lies in the northern tip of Bavaria, Germany. Located at the Main River, it is the capital of the Regierungsbezirk Lower Franconia. The regional dialect is Franconian....

).

The specific features of the landscape are rolling hills, Mittelgebirge
Mittelgebirge
A Mittelgebirge is a relatively low mountain range, a typical geographical feature of Central Europe, especially Central and Southern Germany; it refers to something between hill country and a proper mountain range...

 (mid-range mountains). Southern Germany also has a part of the Alps
Alps
The Alps is one of the great mountain range systems of Europe, stretching from Austria and Slovenia in the east through Italy, Switzerland, Liechtenstein and Germany to France in the west....

, in the southeast of the region (Allgäu
Allgäu
The Allgäu is a southern German region in Swabia. It covers the south of Bavarian Swabia and southeastern Baden-Württemberg. The region stretches from the prealpine lands up to the Alps...

 and Bavarian Alps). In the culinary field, both beer
Beer
Beer is the world's most widely consumed andprobably oldest alcoholic beverage; it is the third most popular drink overall, after water and tea. It is produced by the brewing and fermentation of sugars, mainly derived from malted cereal grains, most commonly malted barley and malted wheat...

 and wine
Wine
Wine is an alcoholic beverage, made of fermented fruit juice, usually from grapes. The natural chemical balance of grapes lets them ferment without the addition of sugars, acids, enzymes, or other nutrients. Grape wine is produced by fermenting crushed grapes using various types of yeast. Yeast...

 are produced in lots of varieties almost everywhere in the region. The regional cuisine consists of stew
Stew
A stew is a combination of solid food ingredients that have been cooked in liquid and served in the resultant gravy. Ingredients in a stew can include any combination of vegetables , meat, especially tougher meats suitable for slow-cooking, such as beef. Poultry, sausages, and seafood are also used...

s, sausage
Sausage
A sausage is a food usually made from ground meat , mixed with salt, herbs, and other spices, although vegetarian sausages are available. The word sausage is derived from Old French saussiche, from the Latin word salsus, meaning salted.Typically, a sausage is formed in a casing traditionally made...

s, cabbage
Cabbage
Cabbage is a popular cultivar of the species Brassica oleracea Linne of the Family Brassicaceae and is a leafy green vegetable...

, noodles and other pasta
Pasta
Pasta is a staple food of traditional Italian cuisine, now of worldwide renown. It takes the form of unleavened dough, made in Italy, mostly of durum wheat , water and sometimes eggs. Pasta comes in a variety of different shapes that serve for both decoration and to act as a carrier for the...

 dishes as well as a variety of cakes and tarts.

See also

  • Northern Germany
    Northern Germany
    - Geography :The key terrain features of North Germany are the marshes along the coastline of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and the geest and heaths inland. Also prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, sandur, glacial valleys, bogs, and Luch...

  • Central Germany (geography)
    Central Germany (geography)
    In geography, central Germany describes the areas surrounding the central point of modern-day Germany.The town of Niederdorla, in the state of Thuringia, claims to be the most central town in Germany...

    , Central Germany (cultural area)
  • Western Germany
    Western Germany
    The geographic term Western Germany is used to describe a region in the west of Germany. The exact area defined by the term is not constant, but it usually includes, but does not have the borders of, North Rhine-Westphalia and Hesse...

    , Eastern Germany
    Eastern Germany
    Eastern Germany may refer to:* New federal states of Germany, the states that joined the Federal Republic of Germany after 1990Historically:* Former eastern territories of Germany, territories lost by Germany during and after the two world wars...

  • Weißwurstäquator
    Weißwurstäquator
    The is a humorous term describing the very different culture and dialect of the southern part of Germany, especially Bavaria, and the rest of the country...

  • Upper German
    Upper German
    Upper German is a family of High German dialects spoken primarily in southern Germany, Austria, Switzerland and Northern Italy.-Family tree:Upper German can be generally classified as Alemannic or Austro-Bavarian...

  • Alemannic dialects
  • Austro-Bavarian dialects
  • Franconian dialect