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Germany (German: Deutschland) is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered to the north by Denmark, to the east by Poland and the Czech Republic, to the south by Austria and Switzerland, and to the west by France, Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands.
Germany is a federal republic consisting of 16 states (so-called "Bundesländer" or, shortened to, "Länder"). Grouped roughly by geography, these are:
- Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania (Mecklenburg-Vorpommern) - The interior is flat and low-lying, as is most of northern Germany. There are a large number of lakes formed by the action of glaciers long ago. The Baltic Sea Coast has picturesque beaches and steep, dramatic chalk cliffs in some locations Rostock is the largest city with medieval buildings in city centre and the oldest university in the Baltic region
- Lower Saxony (Niedersachsen) is the second largest state by area and fourth largest by population (nearly eight million) among the country's sixteen states. Hanover is the state capital/
- Schleswig-Holstein is a flat area with spectacular skies. It is a area where many Germans holiday.
- Bremen is the smallest of the German states and was once a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and is still one of the most important cities in northern Germany. Bremen has a more than 1200 years of history, and was most of the time an independent city state.
- North Rhine-Westphalia (Nordrhein-Westfalen) - Düsseldorf is the state capital with other main cities such as Bonn, Cologne, Dortmund and Essen
- Rhineland-Palatinate (Rheinland-Pfalz) - The state consists of nine fascinating regions. Each is different and offers a variety of landscape and culture,. Rhineland-Palatinate is the largest wine producing area in Germany and home of 6 of the 9 wine-producing districts in Germany.
- Saarland - Saarbrücken is the capital city of the region of Saarland.
Hesse (Hessen) - Wiesbaden is the capital of Hesse. Wiesbaden is a historic spa city. If staying overnight near Frankfurt Airport consider staying in this small, pretty city. It is much smaller than Frankfurt, but offers a lot.
- Thuringia (Thüringen) - The state capital is Erfurt with other towns being Eisenach - site of Wartburg castle, Jena - town of the biggest university in Thuringia and home to Goethe and Schiller, Mühlhausen - historic home of Johann Sebastian Bach and Weimar - town of Goethe and Schiller
Brandenburg is the heart of historic Prussia and borders on the federal capital of Berlin.
Berlin is the largest city in Germany and has a population of 4.3 million within its metropolitan area. Berlin is best known as the German capital, for its lively night life, for its many hotels, cafes, clubs, and bars, and for its numerous museums, palaces, and other sites of historic interest. The architecture of the city is quite varied.
Saxony (Sachsen) - Outside of Berlin, Saxony contains the two largest and important cities in eastern Germany, Leipzig and Dresden. The state has a long history of independence as a kingdom, and as a result has a strong sense of self-identity. It is home to many historic towns and cities and also the eastern German mountain range, the Ore Mountains or "Erzgebirge.
Baden Wurttemberg covers the old the kingdom of Wurttemberg, the grand-duchy of Baden and the kingdom of Hohenzollern. There are now two tribes living together in the state, Badener in the west and Schwaben in the east. Both speak different dialects with a love-hate relationship towards each other that is nurtured with a lot of humour. Both tribes and other people living have a pride for Baden-Württemberg
- Bavaria (Bayern) - Bavaria is what many non-Germans probably have in mind when they think about Germany. This stereotype includes Lederhosen (leather pants), sausages and lots of beer. Bavaria, however, has much more to offer to the traveller. Along with the Rheinland and Berlin, it is Germany's most popular tourist destination.
Germany has numerous cities of interest to tourists with high quality hotels; these are the top nine travel destinations.
Berlin - the reunified and reinvigorated capital of Germany; known for its division during the Cold War - and the Berlin Wall. Today its a metropolis of diversity with elegant clubs and galleries and traditional restaurants. It is also a haven for shoppers.
- Cologne (Koln) - Germany's fourth-largest city. Cologne was founded by the Romans and is 2000 years old with its huge cathedral, Romanesque churches, and archaeological sites. Cologne also well known for its carnival and its Christopher-Street-Day parade. Don't forget to try the local cuisine and of course the beer "Kolsch".
- Dresden - World-famous for its Frauenkirche and historic centre, the city offers more than the average traveller knows. Great festivals, all kinds of cultural entertainment, vibrant night life, and surrounded by beautiful natural vistas. Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which is one of the world's most important museums and collections. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Grünes Gewölbe are the best known. There is a reason it was once called 'Florence-on-the-Elbe'.
- Dusseldorf (Duesseldorf) - the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia is famous as Germany's capital of fashion, offers a wide scale of fascinating new architecture. Right along the shores of river Rhine, the "Altstadt" and the "Medienhafen" are among the most decent places in Germany to enjoy a vibrant night life! Being one of the country's wealthiest cities, the atmosphere for the tourist is very pleasant. Germans call it "the only metropolis ending with -dorf (German for village)".
- Frankfurt - Germany's leading financial centre, transportation hub, seat of the European Central Bank (ECB), international trade fair centre (Book Fair, Motor Show), hub of multicultural activity (30% Immigrants), and site of numerous world-class museums and theatres. It is also Germany's only city with enough skyscrapers to have a skyline.
- Hamburg - Germany's second-largest city, famous for its harbour as well as its liberal and tolerant culture. Don't miss the Reeperbahn with its night clubs and casinos. Hamburg is also popular for its many musicals.
- Munich (München) - Bavaria's beautiful capital city and Southern Germany's leading city. Third largest city in Germany, Munich is the site of the famous Oktoberfest and the gateway to the Alps.
- Bremen - One of the most important cities in northern Germany, its old town will be of interest to travellers who want a slice of history.
- Hannover - One of Germany's newer "tourist cities", having hosted various international events in recent times.
Text from Wikitravel where additional general information can be found