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Free State of Bavaria
Freistaat Bayern
—  State of Germany  —
Flag of Bavaria (striped).svg
Flag
Coat of arms of Bavaria.svg
Coat of arms
Deutschland Lage von Bayern.svg
Coordinates: 48°46′39″N 11°25′52″E / 48.7775, 11.43111
Country Germany
Capital Munich
Government
 • Minister-President Horst Seehofer (CSU)
 • Governing parties CSUWp globe tiny / FDPWp globe tiny
 • Votes in Bundesrat 6 (of 69)
Area
 • Total 70,549.44 km2 (27,239.29 sq mi)
Population (2010-12-31)[1]
 • Total 12,538,696
 • Density 180/km2 (460/sq mi)
Time zone CET (UTC+1)
 • Summer (DST) CEST (UTC+2)
ISO 3166 code DE-BY
GDP/ Nominal € 429,86 billion (2009) [2]
GDP per capita € 33200 (2006)
NUTS Region DE2
Website bayern.de

Bavaria, formally the Free State of Bavaria (German: Freistaat Bayern, pronounced [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈbaɪ.ɐn]  (Speaker Icon.svg listen) is a state of Germany, located in the southeast of the country. With an area of 70,548 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), it is by far the largest German state by area, forming almost 20% of the total land area of Germany. Bavaria is Germany's second most populous state (after North Rhine-Westphalia) with almost 12.5 million inhabitants, more than any of the three sovereign states on its borders. Bavaria's capital is Munich.

One of the oldest states of Europe, it was established as a duchy in the mid first millennium. In the 17th century, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, and Bavaria has since been a free state (republic). Bavaria is a predominantly Catholic state with a distinct culture. Modern Bavaria also includes parts of the historical regions of Franconia and Swabia.

HistoryEdit

The Bavarians emerged in a region north of the Alps, originally inhabited by the Gauls, which had been part of the Roman provinces of Raetia and Noricum. The Bavarians spoke Old High German but, unlike other Germanic groups, did not migrate from elsewhere. Rather, they seem to have coalesced out of other groups left behind by Roman withdrawal late in the 5th century. These peoples may have included the Celtic Boii, some remaining Romans, Marcomanni, Allemanni, Quadi, Thuringians, Goths, Scirians, Rugians, Heruli. The name "Bavarian" ("Baiuvarii") means "Men of Baia" which may indicate Bohemia, the homeland of the Celtic Boii and later of the Marcomanni. They first appear in written sources c. 520. Saint Boniface completed the people's conversion to Christianity in the early-8th century. Bavaria was, for the most part, unaffected by the Protestant Reformation, and even today, most of it is strongly Roman Catholic.

From about 554 to 788, the house of Agilolfing ruled the Duchy of Bavaria, ending with Tassilo III who was deposed by Charlemagne.

Three early dukes are named in Frankish sources: Garibald I may have been appointed to the office by the Merovingian kings and married the Lombard princess Walderada when the church forbade her to King Chlothar I in 555. Their daughter, Theodelinde, became Queen of the Lombards in northern Italy and Garibald was forced to flee to her when he fell out with his Frankish overlords. Garibald's successor, Tassilo I, tried unsuccessfully to hold the eastern frontier against the expansion of Slavs and Avars around 600. Tassilo's son Garibald II seems to have achieved a balance of power between 610 and 616.

After Garibald II little is known of the Bavarians until Duke Theodo I, whose reign may have begun as early as 680. From 696 onwards he invited churchmen from the west to organize churches and strengthen Christianity in his duchy (it is unclear what Bavarian religious life consisted of before this time). His son, Theudebert, led a decisive Bavarian campaign to intervene in a succession dispute in the Lombard Kingdom in 714, and married his sister Guntrud to the Lombard King Liutprand. At Theodo's death the duchy was divided among his sons, but reunited under his grandson Hucbert.

At Hucbert's death (735) the duchy passed to a distant relative named Odilo, from neighbouring Alemannia (modern southwest Germany and northern Switzerland). Odilo issued a law code for Bavaria, completed the process of church organisation in partnership with St. Boniface (739), and tried to intervene in Frankish succession disputes by fighting for the claims of the Carolingian Grifo. He was defeated near Augsburg in 743 but continued to rule until his death in 748.

Middle AgesEdit

Tassilo III (b. 741 - d. after 794) succeeded his father at the age of eight after an unsuccessful attempt by Grifo to rule Bavaria. He initially ruled under Frankish oversight but began to function independently from 763 onwards. He was particularly noted for founding new monasteries and for expanding eastwards, fighting Slavs in the eastern Alps and along the River Danube and colonising these lands. After 781, however, his cousin Charlemagne began to pressure Tassilo to submit and finally deposed him in 788. The deposition was not entirely legitimate. Dissenters attempted a coup against Charlemagne at Tassilo's old capital of Regensburg in 792, led by his own son Pépin the Hunchback (Pronounced Pippin), and the king had to drag Tassilo out of imprisonment to formally renounce his rights and titles at the Assembly of Frankfurt in 794. This is the last appearance of Tassilo in the sources and he probably died a monk. As all of his family were also forced into monasteries, this was the end of the Agilolfing dynasty.

For the next 400 years numerous families held the duchy, rarely for more than three generations. With the revolt of duke Henry the Quarrelsome in 976, Bavaria lost large territories in the south and south east. Among them a mark called "Ostarrichi" which was elevated to a duchy out of own right and given to the Babenberger family. This event marks the birth of Austria. The last, and one of the most important, of these dukes was Henry the Lion of the house of Welf, founder of Munich, de facto the second most powerful man in the empire as the ruler of two duchies. When in 1180, Henry the Lion was deposed as Duke of Saxony and Bavaria by his cousin, Frederick I, Holy Roman Emperor (aka "Barbarossa" for his red beard), Bavaria was awarded as fief to the Wittelsbach family, counts palatinate of Schyren ("Scheyern" in modern German), which ruled from 1180 to 1918. The Electorate of the Palatinate by Rhine ("Kurpfalz" in German) was also acquired by the House of Wittelsbach in 1214.

The first of several divisions of the duchy of Bavaria occurred in 1255. With the extinction of the Hohenstaufen in 1268 also Swabian territories were acquired by the Wittelsbach dukes. Emperor Louis the Bavarian acquired Brandenburg, Tirol, Holland and Hainaut for his House but released the Upper Palatinate for the Palatinate branch of the Wittelsbach in 1329. In 1506 with the Landshut War of Succession the other parts of Bavaria were reunited and Munich became the sole capital.

17th and 18th centuriesEdit

In 1623 the Bavarian duke replaced his relative, the Count Palatine of the Rhine in the early days of the Thirty Years' War and acquired the powerful prince-electoral dignity in the Holy Roman Empire, determining its Emperor thence forward, as well as special legal status under the empire's laws. The country became one of the Jesuite supported counter-reformation centers. During the early and mid-18th century the ambitions of the Bavarian prince electors led to several wars with Austria as well as occupations by Austria (Spanish succession, election of a Wittelsbach emperor instead of a Habsburger). From 1777 onwards and after the old Bavarian branch of the family had died out with elector Max III Joseph, Bavaria and the Electorate of the Palatinate were governed once again in personal union, now by the Palatinian lines.

Kingdom of BavariaEdit

When Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire, Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806, and its area doubled. Tirol was temporarily united, Salzburg temporarily reunited with Bavaria but finally ceded to Austria. In return the Rhenish Palatinate and Franconia were annexed to Bavaria in 1815. Between 1799 and 1817 the leading minister count Montgelas followed a strict policy of modernisation and laid the foundations of administrative structures that survived even the monarchy and are (in their core) valid until today. In 1808 a first and in 1818 a more modern constitution (by the standards of the time) was passed, that established a bicameral Parliament with a House of Lords (Kammer der Reichsräte) and a House of Commons (Kammer der Abgeordneten). The constitution would last until the collapse of the monarchy at the end of World War I.

Bavaria as a part of the German EmpireEdit

Block of Bavarian stamps (1920s) overprinted with "Deutsches Reich"

Bavarian stamps during the German empire period

After the rise of Prussia to prominence Bavaria managed to preserve its independence by playing off the rivalries of Prussia and Austria. Allied to Austria, it was defeated in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War and did not belong to the North German Federation of 1867, but the question of German unity was still alive. When France attacked Prussia in 1870, the south German states Baden, Württemberg and Bavaria joined the Prussian forces and ultimately joined the Federation, which was renamed Deutsches Reich (German Empire) in 1871. Bavaria continued as a monarchy, and it even had some special rights within the federation (such as an army, railways and a postal service of its own).

In the early-20th century Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henrik Ibsen, and other notable artists were drawn to Bavaria, notably to the Schwabing district of Munich, later devastated by World War II.

20th centuryEdit

On November 12, 1918, Ludwig III signed a document, the Anif declaration, releasing both civil and military officers from their oaths; the newly-formed republican government of Socialist premier Kurt Eisner interpreted this as an abdication. To date, however, no member of the house of Wittelsbach has ever formally declared renunciation of the throne. On the other hand, none has ever since officially called upon their Bavarian or Stewart claims. Family members are active in cultural and social life, including the head of the house, HRH Duke Franz in Bavaria. They step back from any announcements on public affairs, showing approval or disapproval solely by HRH's presence or absence.

Eisner was assassinated in February 1919 ultimately leading to a Communist revolt and the short lived Bavarian Socialist Republic being proclaimed 6 April 1919. After violent suppression by elements of the German Army and notably the Freikorps, the Bavarian Socialist Republic fell in May 1919. Right-wing extremist activity further increased, notably the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch led by the National Socialists, and Munich and Nuremberg became Nazi strongholds under the Third Reich. As a manufacturing center, Munich was heavily bombed during World War II and occupied by U.S. troops. The Rhenish Palatinate was detached from Bavaria in 1946 and made part of the new state Rhineland-Palatinate.

Since World War II, Bavaria has been rehabilitated from a poor agrarian province into a prosperous industrial hub. A massive reconstruction effort restored much of Munich's and other places historic cores. The state capital hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics and matches of the Football World Cups of 1974 and 2006 as well as European Track & Field championships. More recently, former state minister-president Edmund Stoiber was the CDU/CSU candidate for chancellor in the 2002 federal election which he lost, and native son Cardinal Joseph Ratzinger was elected Pope Benedict XVI in 2005.

Coat of armsEdit

Bavarian Herald

Bavarian herald Joerg Rugenn wearing a tabard of the arms around 1510

The modern coat of arms of Bavaria was designed by Eduard Ege in 1946, following heraldic traditions.

  • The Golden Lion: At the dexter chief, sable, a lion rampant Or, armed and langued gules. This represents the administrative region of Upper Palatinate.
  • The "Franconian Rake": At the sinister chief, per fess dancetty, gules and argent. This represents the administrative regions of Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia.
  • The Blue Panther: At the dexter base, argent, a panther rampant azure, armed Or and langued gules. This represents the regions of Lower and Upper Bavaria.
  • The Three Lions: At the sinister base, Or, three lions passant guardant sable, armed and langued gules. This represents Swabia.
  • The White-And-Blue inescutcheon: The inescutcheon of white and blue fusils askance was originally the coat of arms of the Counts of Bogen, adopted in 1247 by the Wittelsbachs House. The white-and-blue fusils are indisputably the emblem of Bavaria and these arms today symbolize Bavaria as a whole. Along with the People's Crown, it is officially used as the Minor Coat of Arms.
  • The People's Crown: The coat of arms is surmounted by a crown with a golden band inset with precious stones and decorated with five ornamental leaves. This crown first appeared in the coat of arms to symbolize sovereignty of the people after the royal crown was eschewed in 1923.

GeographyEdit

Bavarian Alps 2002

The Bavarian Alps

Bavaria shares international borders with Austria and the Czech Republic as well as with Switzerland (across Lake Constance). Neighbouring states within Germany are Baden-Württemberg, Hesse, Thuringia and Saxony. Two major rivers flow through the state, the Danube (Donau) and the Main. The Bavarian Alps define the border with Austria, (including the Austrian federal-states of Vorarlberg, Tyrol and Salzburg) and within the range is the highest peak in Germany, the Zugspitze. The Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest form the vast majority of the frontier with the Czech Republic and Bohemia.

The major cities in Bavaria are Munich (München), Nuremberg (Nürnberg), Augsburg, Regensburg, Würzburg, Ingolstadt, Fürth and Erlangen.

Population and areaEdit

Administrative region Population (2009) Area (km2) No. municipalities
Lower Bavaria 1,190,405 9.52% 10,330 14.6% 258 12.5%
Lower Franconia 1,323,273 10.58% 8,531 12.1% 308 15.0%
Upper Franconia 1,077,478 8.62% 7,231 10.2% 214 10.4%
Middle Franconia 1,710,312 13.68% 7,245 10.3% 210 10.2%
Upper Palatinate 1,081,898 8.65% 9,691 13.7% 226 11.0%
Swabia 1,785,761 14.28% 9,992 14.2% 340 16.5%
Upper Bavaria 4,336,552 34.68% 17,530 24.8% 500 24.3%
Total 12,505,567 100.0% 70,549 100.0% 2,056 100.0%

Major citiesEdit

City Inhabitants
31 December 2000
Inhabitants
31 December 2005
Inhabitants
31 December 2008
Munich 1,210,223 1,259,677 1,326,807
Nuremberg 488,400 499,237 503,638
Augsburg 254,982 262,676 263,313
Regensburg 125,676 129,859 133,525
Würzburg 127,966 133,906 133,501
Ingolstadt 115,722 121,314 123,925
Fürth 110,477 113,422 114,071
Erlangen 100,778 103,197 104,980
Bayreuth 74,153 73,997 72,935
Bamberg 69,036 70,081 69,989
Aschaffenburg 67,592 68,642 68,747
Landshut 58,746 61,368 62,606
Kempten (Allgäu) 61,389 61,360 62,135
Rosenheim 58,908 60,226 60,711
Neu-Ulm 50,188 51,410 53,866
Schweinfurt 54,325 54,273 53,588
Passau 50,536 50,651 50,717
Hof 50,741 48,723 47,275
Freising 44,167 45,827 45,654
Straubing 44,014 44,633 44,496

Administrative divisionsEdit

Regierungsbezirke (administrative districts)Edit

Bavarian Admin Districts

Administrative Districts of Bavaria

Bavaria is divided into 7 administrative districts called Regierungsbezirke (singular Regierungsbezirk).

  1. Upper Franconia (German: Oberfranken)
  2. Middle Franconia (Mittelfranken)
  3. Lower Franconia (Unterfranken)
  4. Swabia (Schwaben)
  5. Upper Palatinate (Oberpfalz)
  6. Upper Bavaria (Oberbayern)
  7. Lower Bavaria (Niederbayern)
Karte-Bayern-Landkreise
Rathaus and Marienplatz from Peterskirche - August 2006

Munich

Nürnberg panorama

Nuremberg

Rathaus Augsburg

Augsburg

Stadtansicht Regensburg

Regensburg

Würzburg view

Würzburg

Marktplatz Bayreuth

Bayreuth

BambergAltesRathaus

Bamberg

These administrative regions consist of 71 administrative districts (called Landkreise, singular Landkreis) and 25 independent cities (kreisfreie Städte, singular kreisfreie Stadt)

BezirkeEdit

Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the others are the Landkreise and the Gemeinden or Städte. In the larger states of Germany (including Bavaria) there are Regierungsbezirke which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria. The Bezirke in Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke (e.g. Regierung von Oberbayern), but are a different form of administration (having their own parliaments etc.).

Landkreise/kreisfreie CitiesEdit

Landkreise:

  1. Aichach-Friedberg
  2. Altötting
  3. Amberg-Sulzbach
  4. Ansbach
  5. Aschaffenburg
  6. Augsburg
  7. Bad Kissingen
  8. Bad Tölz-Wolfratshausen
  9. Bamberg
  10. Bayreuth
  11. Berchtesgadener Land
  12. Cham
  13. Coburg
  14. Dachau
  15. Deggendorf
  16. Dillingen an der Donau
  17. Dingolfing-Landau
  18. Donau-Ries
  19. Ebersberg
  20. Eichstätt
  21. Erding
  22. Erlangen-Höchstadt
  23. Forchheim
  24. Freising
  25. Freyung-Grafenau
  26. Fürstenfeldbruck
  27. Fürth
  28. Garmisch-Partenkirchen
  29. Günzburg
  30. Hassberge
  31. Hof
  32. Kelheim
  33. Kitzingen
  34. Kronach
  35. Kulmbach
  1. Landsberg
  2. Landshut
  3. Lichtenfels
  4. Lindau (Bodensee)
  5. Main-Spessart
  6. Miesbach
  7. Miltenberg
  8. Mühldorf am Inn
  9. München (Landkreis München)
  10. Neuburg-Schrobenhausen
  11. Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
  12. Neustadt an der Aisch-Bad Windsheim
  13. Neustadt an der Waldnaab
  14. Neu-Ulm
  15. Nürnberger Land
  16. Oberallgäu
  17. Ostallgäu
  18. Passau
  19. Pfaffenhofen an der Ilm
  20. Regen
  21. Regensburg
  22. Rhön-Grabfeld
  23. Rosenheim
  24. Roth
  25. Rottal-Inn
  26. Schwandorf
  27. Schweinfurt
  28. Starnberg
  29. Straubing-Bogen
  30. Tirschenreuth
  31. Traunstein
  32. Unterallgäu
  33. Weilheim-Schongau
  34. Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen
  35. Wunsiedel im Fichtelgebirge
  36. Würzburg
</li>

</ol>

Kreis-free Cities:

  1. Amberg
  2. Ansbach
  3. Aschaffenburg
  4. Augsburg
  5. Bamberg
  6. Bayreuth
  7. Coburg
  8. Erlangen
  9. Fürth
  10. Hof
  11. Ingolstadt
  12. Kaufbeuren
  13. Kempten
  1. Landshut
  2. Memmingen
  3. Munich (München)
  4. Nuremberg (Nürnberg)
  5. Passau
  6. Regensburg
  7. Rosenheim
  8. Schwabach
  9. Schweinfurt
  10. Straubing
  11. Weiden
  12. Würzburg

Gemeinden (municipalities)Edit

The 71 administrative districts are on the lowest level divided into 2031 municipalities (called Gemeinden, singular Gemeinde). Together with the 25 independent cities (which are in effect municipalities independent of Landkreis administrations), there are a total of 2056 municipalities in Bavaria.

In 44 of the 71 administrative districts, there are a total of 215 unincorporated areas (as of January 1, 2005, called gemeindefreie Gebiete, singular gemeindefreies Gebiet), not belonging to any municipality, all uninhabited, mostly forested areas, but also four lakes (Chiemsee-without islands, Starnberger See-without island Roseninsel, Ammersee, which are the three largest lakes of Bavaria, and Waginger See).

PoliticsEdit

Bavaria has a multi-party system where the biggest parties are the conservative Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), which has dominated politics since 1945 and won every election since then, and the center-left Social Democratic Party of Germany (SPD). The German green party, Alliance '90/The Greens is represented in the parliament as well. Since 2008 Germany's liberal party, the Free Democratic Party and the Free Voters are represented in Bavaria's parliament as well. CSU and FDP agreed in October 2008 to form a coalition, while SPD, Free Voters and the Greens form the opposition.

Bavaria has a unicameral Landtag, or state parliament, elected by universal suffrage. Until December 1999, there was also a Senat, or Senate, whose members were chosen by social and economic groups in Bavaria, but following a referendum in 1998, this institution was abolished. The head of government is the Minister-President.

In 1995 Bavaria introduced direct democracy on the local level in a referendum. This was initiated bottom-up by an association called Mehr Demokratie (More Democracy). This is a grass-roots organization which campaigns for the right to citizen-initiated referendums. In 1997 the Bavarian Supreme Court aggravated the regulations considerably (e.g. by introducing a turn-out quorum). Nevertheless, Bavaria has the most advanced regulations on local direct democracy in Germany. This has led to a spirited citizens' participation in communal and municipal affairs—835 referenda took place from 1995 through 2005.

In the 2003 elections the CSU won more than two thirds of the seats in Landtag—something no party had ever achieved in post-war German history. In the following 2008 elections the CSU lost its absolute majority in the Landtag for the first time in 46 years.[3]

This loss is probably attributed to its push for anti-smoking law, the most stringent in Germany, which became one of the most controversial laws ever enacted in Bavaria. As result, CSU changed its stance and weakened the anti-smoking law to allow some more loopholes. However, the citizens held a successful petition drive in November–December 2009 to call for a total smoking ban. CSU dismissed the petition and demands as unnecessary and frivilous, but the referendum proceeded and the voters overwhelmingly voted for the smoking ban.

File:HorstSeehofer,Groformat,JPG.jpg

Minister-presidents of Bavaria since 1945Edit

Minister-presidents of Bavaria
No. Name Born-Died Party affiliation Begin of Tenure End of Tenure
1 Fritz Schäffer 1888–1967 CSU 1945 1945
2 Wilhelm Hoegner 1887–1980 SPD 1945 1946
3 Hans Ehard 1887–1980 CSU 1946 1954
4 Wilhelm Hoegner 1887–1980 SPD 1954 1957
5 Hanns Seidel 1901–1961 CSU 1957 1960
6 Hans Ehard 1887–1980 CSU 1960 1962
7 Alfons Goppel 1905–1991 CSU 1962 1978
8 Franz Josef Strauß 1915–1988 CSU 1978 1988
9 Max Streibl 1932–1998 CSU 1988 1993
10 Edmund Stoiber *1941 CSU 1993 2007
11 Günther Beckstein *1943 CSU 2007 2008
12 Horst Seehofer *1949 CSU 2008 incumbent

Bavarian citizenshipEdit

The fact that unlike all other German states, Bavaria's constitution provides for Bavarian citizenship is often mentioned as an indicator for Bavarian distinctiveness. Some Bavarians are keen to emphasize that—in accordance with the generous indication of the constitution—they regard everyone

  • born in Bavaria,
  • born to a Bavarian parent,
  • adopted by a Bavarian as a child,
  • married to a Bavarian, or
  • naturalized in Bavaria,

as a fellow-Bavarian; some of those falling under this untechnical definition express pride in being Bavarian. However, state legislation regulating citizenship procedures has never been enacted, the constitution itself provides that all Germans enjoy the same rights as Bavarian citizens, and no office issues certificates concerning a "Bavarian" citizenship. Thus, the notion of Bavarian citizenship bears a cultural and not political meaning.

Many people in the northern part of Bavaria, which was acquired only during the Congress of Vienna, see themselves as Franconians and therefore do not like to be called Bavarians. They have a separate dialect and do not wear traditional Bavarian clothing, but their own.

German-Bavarian relationsEdit

It is a common joke in Germany that Bavaria is not part of Germany, but "near it". In fact a minority seriously agrees with this notion; the Bayernpartei (Bavaria Party) advocates Bavarian independence from Germany. Bavaria was the only state to reject the West German constitution in 1949, but this did not prevent its implementation. One of Germany's principal political parties, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), is replaced in Bavaria by the Christian Social Union of Bavaria (CSU), but in practice the two parties cooperate fully in the Bundestag. Bavaria had its own border police force, separate from the Federal Border Guard, until Austria's EU accession in 1995.

Furthermore, the people from the three northern districts of Bavaria known as Franconia (Mittelfranken, Oberfranken and Unterfranken), do not all consider themselves as Bavarian. They have their own history and celebrate their own identity, which is distinct from southern Bavaria, and symbolized by the Franconian rake (Fränkischer Rechen). The flag is often seen during local festivals. Some Franconians would also like to see their own Bundesland Franken 'Federal State of Franconia'.

EconomyEdit

Bavaria has long had one of the largest and healthiest economies of any region in Germany, or Europe for that matter.[4] Its GDP in 2007 exceeded 434 billion Euros (about 600 bn US$).[5] This makes Bavaria itself one of the largest economies in Europe and only 17 countries in the world have higher GDP.[6] Some large companies headquarted in Bavaria include BMW, Siemens, Rohde & Schwarz, Audi, Munich Re, Allianz, Infineon, MAN, Wacker Chemie, Puma AG,and Adidas AG.

Company namesEdit

The motorcycle and automobile makers BMW (Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works) and Audi, Allianz, Grundig (consumer electronics), Siemens (electricity, telephones, informatics, medical instruments), Continental (Automotive Tire and Electronics), Adidas, Puma, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Group), Infineon and Krauss-Maffei Wegmann have (or had) a Bavarian industrial base.

Bavaria has also given its name to the largest Colombian brewery (Cervecería Bavaria) and a major Dutch brewery (Biermerk Bavaria).

CultureEdit

Germany bavaria alps-church

Bavarian church with Alps in the background

Karwendel-Ahornboden

Though only a relatively small part belongs to the Alps, the perception of Bavaria as an alpine region endures.

Some features of the Bavarian culture and mentality are remarkably distinct from the rest of Germany. Noteworthy differences (especially in rural areas, less significant in the major cities) can be found with respect to:

ReligionEdit

While 56.4% of the population adhere to the Catholic Church,[7] 21% are affiliated with the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria.[8]

Most of Bavaria is predominantely Roman Catholic, but the Evangelical Lutheran Church has a strong presence in large parts of Franconia. Only Saarland has a higher percentage of Catholics among the German states.

The current pope, Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger), was born in Marktl am Inn in Upper Bavaria and was Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich and Freising.

Religion remains important to many in the region, as expressed by the typical Bavarian, Austrian and Swabian greeting: "Grüss Gott!" (Greet God!, originally "es grüsse Dich Gott" - "God may bless you").

TraditionsEdit

Bavarians commonly emphasize pride in their traditions. Traditional costumes collectively known as Tracht are worn on special occasions and include in Altbayern Lederhosen for males and Dirndl for females. Centuries-old folk music is performed. The Maibaum, or Maypole (which in the Middle Ages served as the community's yellow pages, as figurettes on the pole represent the trades of the village), and the bagpipes in the Upper Palatinate region bear witness to the ancient Celtic and Germanic remnants of cultural heritage of the region.

Whether actually in Bavaria, overseas or full of citizens from other nations they continue to cultivate their traditions. They hold festivals and dances to keep their traditions alive. In New York the German American Cultural Society is a larger umbrella group for others such as the Bavarian organizations, which represent a specific part of Germany. They proudly put forth a German Parade called Steuben Parade each year. Various affiliated events take place amongst its groups, one of which is the Bavarian Dancers.

Food and drinkEdit

Bavarians tend to place a great value on food and drink. In addition to their renowned dishes, Bavarians also consume many items of food and drink which are unusual elsewhere in Germany; for example Weisswurst ("white sausage") or in some instances a great variety of nifty entrails. At folk festivals, beer is traditionally served by the litre (the so-called Maß). Bavarians are particularly proud of the traditional Reinheitsgebot, or purity law, initially established by the Duke of Bavaria for the City of Munich (e.g. the court) in 1487 and the duchy in 1516. According to this law, only three ingredients were allowed in beer: water, barley, and hops. In 1906 the Reinheitsgebot made its way to all-German law, and remained a law in Germany until the EU struck it down recently as incompatible with the European common market. German breweries, however, cling to the principle. Bavarians are also known as some of the world's most beer-loving people with an average annual consumption of 170 litres per person, figures are declining in recent years in favour of soft drinks.

Bavaria is also home to the Franconia wine region, which is situated along the Main River in Franconia. The region has produced wine for over 1,000 years and is famous for its use of the Bocksbeutel wine bottle. The production of wine forms an integral part of the regional culture, and many of its villages and cities hold their own wine festivals (Weinfeste) throughout the year.

Language and dialectsEdit

Upper German Languages

Upper German, southern counterpart to Central German, both forming the High German Languages

Three German dialects are spoken in Bavaria: Austro-Bavarian in Old Bavaria (South-East and East), Swabian German (an Alemannic German dialect) in the Bavarian part of Swabia (South West) and East Franconian German in Franconia (North).

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Bavaria edition of Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

EthnographyEdit

Bavarians consider themselves to be egalitarian and informal. Their sociability can be experienced at the annual Oktoberfest, the world's largest beer festival, which welcomes around six million visitors every year, or in the famous beer gardens. In traditional Bavarian beer gardens, patrons may bring their own food and only buy beer from the brewery that runs the beer garden.

In the United States, particularly among German Americans, Bavarian culture is viewed somewhat nostalgically, and many "Bavarian villages", most notably Frankenmuth, Michigan and Leavenworth, Washington, have been founded. Since 1962, the latter has been styled with a Bavarian theme; it is also home to "one of the world's largest collections of nutcrackers" and an Oktoberfest celebration it claims is among the most attended in the world outside of Munich.[9]

Historical buildingsEdit

NeuschwansteinEdit

Castle Neuschwanstein

Neuschwanstein Castle

Neuschwanstein was built for King Ludwig II, as a second home. It sits unfinished.

Famous peopleEdit

There are many famous people who were born or lived in present-day Bavaria:

See alsoEdit

Portal Bavaria

ReferencesEdit

External linksEdit

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This page uses content from the English language Wikipedia. The original content was at Bavaria. The list of authors can be seen in the page history. As with this Familypedia wiki, the content of Wikipedia is available under the Creative Commons License.

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