Bavaria is a state in the southeast portion of Germany. It was originally called Freistaat Bayern or the Free State of Bavaria, but now is known simply as Bavaria. It covers an area of twenty-seven square miles and has an estimated population of twelve and a half million residents.
Major cities in the state of Bavaria:
The administrative districts (The Regierungsbezirke) of Bavaria include Upper Franconia, Middle Franconia, Lower Franconia, Swabia, Upper Palatinate, Upper Bavaria and Lower Bavaria. The economy of Bavaria is one of the largest and robust economies in Europe. Its adjusted Gross Domestic Product exceeded four hundred and thirty-nine Euros in 2009. This makes its economy the eighteenth largest in the world and the largest in Europe.
Major companies headquarted in the region:
- Bavaria Brewery
- Krauss-Maffei Wegmann
The history of Bavaria can be traced back to the Celts who occuppied the area before occupation by the Roman Empire which contributed greatly to the culture of the region. Cultural influences of the region also came from the Lombards, Goths, Bohemian Slavs, Alamanni and the Thuringians. Around the sixth century, Bavaria fell under the control of the Franks. The Franks acquired the region without much trouble and they used it as a source of manpower for their military. In 550, Garibald I was appointed as the first Frankish duke of the area. Garibald I was a member of the Agilolfing family, a family that would rule until the eighth century.
By the mid-eighth century, law in Bavaria was put into writing. These laws stated that the duke must be chosen by popular election and confirmed by the Frankish King. The duties and powers of the duke were also outlined. These powers include summoning members of the nobility for deliberation, the adminstration of justice and the regulation of commerce. In 749, Tassilo III became the duke of Bavaria. He acknowledged the power of King Pippin the Short, but in 757 refused to give the king a contribution in the war in Aquitaine. He also refused to appear in Frankish assemblies and made political decisions in his own name. His disrespectful attitude and his position as an ally of the Avars caused him to be summoned to Ingelheim, where he was sentenced to death for treachery.
He was pardoned by the King, however and had to renounce his duchy in 794. For the next five years, the brother-in-law of Charlemagne, Gerold ruled Bavari until he was killed in 799 during a battle with the Avars. Bavaria would then be assimilated into the Carolingian Empire. Bavaria would pass through a series of political and geographic changes until it became the Free State of Bavaria in 1918.
A popular attraction in Bavaria is located in the city of Munich and called St. Mary’s Square. In the middle of the square is a tower that is crowned with a statue of the Virgin Mary. This tower is called Mariensaule and was built in the seventeenth century to commemorate the end of the occupation by the Swedish. Another feature of St. Mary’s Square is the Neues Rathaus.
This building was erected in the early twentieth century and was designed in the Gothic architectural style. This tower stands almost three hundred feet high. Also located here is the Viktualienmarkt, the Carillon, Altes Rathaus and the Fischbrunnen. Also located in Munich is the Deutsches Museum. This museum of science and technology was built in 1925 and has many fascinating exhibits that covers areas such as agriculture, chemistry, Marine technologies, aerospace, astronomy, mining and computer science.
Another popular Bavarian attraction is the Tiergarten Nurnberg Zoo. This zoo contains three hundred different animal species and covers and area of almost two hundred acres. It was originally built in 1912 In Nuremburg, but was extensively damaged during World War due to bombing campaigns launched by the Allies. It was then restored completely and is a favorite among visitors to the city of Nuremburg and the state of Bavaria.
Other attractions in Nuremburg:
- Walburga Chapel
- Nazi Party Rally Grounds
- Saint Egidien Church
- Our Lady’s Church
- Hotel Agneshof
- Zeppelin Field
Coburg is another frequent destination for visitors to Bavaria. This town is situated on the Itz River and contains a number of key attractions.
Some of these attractions:
- St. Moriz Church
- Castle Rosenau
- Coburg State Theater
- Sea Star Aquarium
- Veste Coburg Castle
- Gymnasium Casimirianum
- Coburg Doll Museum
- Callenberg Palace
- Basilica of the Vierzehnheiligen
The Rothenburg ob der Taubern is a town in Bavaria that draws visitors from around the world. This is because the town has some of the most well preserved medieval buildings in the state.
Key attractions in the town of Rothenburg ob der Taubern:
- Rothenburg Town Hall
- Medieval Crime Museum
- Rothenburg Historical Vaults
- Kathe Wohlfahrt
- Toppler Castle
- St. Jacob’s Church
- German Christmas Museum
- Medieval Double Bridge
- Councillors’ Tavern
- Siebers Tower
Bamberg is a Bavarian town that was almost completely untouched by the Allied bombings during World War II. The town is home to over four thousand members of the United States Air Force and is itself a popular tourist destination.
Attractions in the city:
- Neue Residenz
- Bamberg Altstadt
- Alte Hofhaltun.
Aschaffenburg is another town to visit during any trip to Bavaria.
This town is referred to as “Bavarian Nice” because of its generally mild climate.