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Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden with view of Mount Watzmann
Berchtesgaden with view of Mount Watzmann
Coat of arms of Berchtesgaden
Berchtesgaden is located in Germany
Berchtesgaden
Coordinates 47°37′53″N 13°0′15″E / 47.63139°N 13.00417°E / 47.63139; 13.00417
Administration
Country Germany
State Bavaria
Admin. region Upper Bavaria
District Berchtesgadener Land
Mayor Rudolf Schaupp (FW)
Basic statistics
Area 34.78 km2 (13.43 sq mi)
Elevation 700 m  (2297 ft)
Population 7,752  (30 June 2004)
 - Density 223 /km2 (577 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate BGL
Postal code 83471
Area codes +49 8652
Website berchtesgaden.de
Location of Berchtesgaden within Berchtesgadener Land district
Map

Berchtesgaden (German pronunciation: [bɛʁçtəzˈɡaːdən]) is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is located in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border with Austria, some 30 km south of Salzburg and 180 km southeast of Munich. It is situated north of the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden.

Berchtesgaden is often associated with the Mount Watzmann, at 2713 m the third-highest mountain in Germany (after Zugspitze and Hochwanner), which is renowned in the rock climbing community for its Ostwand (East Face), and a deep glacial lake by the name of Königssee (5.2 km²). Another notable peak is the Kehlstein mountain (1835 m) with its Kehlsteinhaus (Eagle's Nest), which offers spectacular views to its visitors.

Berchtesgaden's neighbouring towns are Bischofswiesen, Marktschellenberg, Ramsau and Schönau am Königssee.

Contents

History

First historical note dates back to 1102 and it mentions the area because of its rich salt deposits. Much of Berchtesgaden's wealth has been derived from its salt mines. The town served as independent Fürstpropstei until the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss in 1803. During the Napoleonic wars, Berchtesgaden changed hands a few times such as in 1805 under the Treaty of Pressburg when the area was ceded to Austria. Salzburg was always interested in Berchtesgaden and French troops occupied the area a short time. Berchtesgaden came under Bavarian rule in 1810 and became instantly popular with the Bavarian royal family, which often visited Königssee and maintained a royal hunting residence in the town itself. Nascent tourism started to evolve and a number of artists came to the area, which reportedly gave rise to "Malereck" (literally painter's corner) on the shore of Königssee. The most famous author who lived in Berchtesgaden was Ludwig Ganghofer.

Nazis in Berchtesgaden

US soldiers toast the capture of Berchtesgaden (1945)

The area of Obersalzberg was purchased by the Nazis in the 1920s for their senior leaders to enjoy. Hitler's mountain residence, the Berghof, was located here. Berchtesgaden and its environs (Stanggass) were fitted to serve as an outpost of the German Reichskanzlei office (Imperial Chancellery), which sealed the area's fate as a strategic objective for Allied forces in World War II. Some typical Third Reich buildings in Berchtesgaden include the railway station, that had a reception area for Hitler and his guests, and the post office next to the railway station. The Berchtesgadener Hof Hotel was a hotel where famous visitors stayed, such as Eva Braun, Erwin Rommel, Joseph Goebbels, and Heinrich Himmler, as well as Neville Chamberlain and David Lloyd George. The hotel was torn down in 2006. There is a museum on the spot now, called Haus der Berge.

The Obersalzberg

A number of other relics of the Nazi era can still be found in the area, although only few of them are still well preserved. There is the Kehlsteinhaus (nicknamed "Eagle's Nest" by a French diplomat), which was built as a present for Hitler's 50th birthday in 1939. The remnants of homes of former Nazi leaders such as Adolf Hitler, Hermann Göring and Martin Bormann were all demolished in the early post war years.

The Platterhof was retained and served as a retreat for the American military. It was known as the General Walker Hotel. It was demolished in 2000. The only remaining buildings are the former SS HQ at Hotel Zum Türken and the Kehlsteinhaus. A small part of the Platterhof is also still there. The information centre on the mountain is the former guesthouse Höher Göll. It has an entrance to the Obersalzberg bunker system.

Post war era

After the war, Obersalzberg became a military zone and most of its buildings were seized by the US Army. Hotel Platterhof was rebuilt and renamed General Walker Hotel[1] in 1952. It served as an integral part of the US Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC) for the duration of the Cold War and beyond. The Berghof was demolished in 1953.

In 1995, 50 years after the end of World War II and five years after German reunification, the AFRC Berchtesgaden was turned over to Bavarian authorities to facilitate military spending reductions mandated within the Base Realignment and Closure programme by the United States Congress and the Pentagon during the administration of US President Bill Clinton. The General Walker Hotel was demolished shortly thereafter. Its ruins, along with the remnants of the Berghof, were removed in 1996 to make room for a new bus station serving the bus line to the Kehlsteinhaus and a for the new InterContinental Hotel Resort. The former guest house "Hoher Goell" now serves a new documentation centre. It is the first German museum of its kind to chronicle the entire span of World War II in one spot.

Berchtesgaden today

Aerial view of Berchtesgaden

In 1972, local government reform united the then independent municipalities of Salzberg, Maria Gern and Au (consisting of Oberau and Unterau) under the administration of the town of Berchtesgaden. Another suggested reform uniting all remaining five municipalities in Berchtesgaden valley (Bischofswiesen, Ramsau, Marktschellenberg and Schönau) failed to gain enough popular support; it passed in Berchtesgaden and failed everywhere else.

The Nationalpark Berchtesgaden was established in 1978 and has gradually become one of Berchtesgaden's largest draws. Luckily, mass tourism is confined to a few popular spots, which gives alternative, nature seeking tourists more than enough space to find peace and quiet in the park. Major tourist draws are the Königssee, the salt mine (with a new sound and light show inaugurated in 2007), the Kehlsteinhaus and the new Dokumentationszentrum Obersalzberg.

Recreational and competitive sports have also grown in importance. Although Berchtesgaden's ski slopes are not among the largest in the Alps, they can easily accommodate everyone; from beginners to very competitive skiers and boarders. The Königssee bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton track has hosted ski-running and a number of international bobsleigh, luge, and skeleton events and competitions. Berchtesgaden's most famous sports personality is Georg Hackl, a multiple Olympic medal winner. The city is also home to the International Luge Federation (FIL).

Berchtesgaden has virtually no manufacturing industry, unlike the northern part of Berchtesgadener Land and the Salzburg area.

There is a Berchtesgaden train stop in Salzburgerland.

Notable people

External links


Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Europe : Central Europe : Germany : Bavaria : Berchtesgaden
St. Bartolomä Church, on the Königsee near Berchtesgaden
St. Bartolomä Church, on the Königsee near Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden [1] is a small, picturesque and historic town (population 9,000) located in the southeast of the German state of Bavaria, within a small enclave surrounded on three sides by the Austrian border. The town lies some 30 km south of the Austrian city of Salzburg and some 180 km south-east of Munich.

The basics

The town is located in a valley at 500 to 1100 m altitude in the south-eastern part of the German Alps and is surrounded by high mountains called Untersberg in the North, Obersalzberg in the east and further south by the Watzmann. Berchtesgaden and neighbouring Bad Reichenhall are famous for their salt mines. The production of table salt guaranteed in the medieval ages a safe source of revenue and it still does today. Therefore, a visit to the salt mine of Berchtesgaden is definitely on the to do list.

In more recent history, the name of Berchtesgaden became well known to the general public for more unfortunate reasons: the Nazi dictator of Germany, Adolf Hitler, had his summer getaway on the peak in a complex of buildings known as the Berghof at Obersalzberg. A house was built for him at the peak of the mountain above Obersalzberg, but he only visited it a couple of times. It is known in German as the Kehlsteinhaus, and was dubbed “The Eagles Nest” by the occupying American forces after the war. All the buildings and bunkers of the Berghof were destroyed at the end of the World War II and nowadays a documentation centre can be found close to the place on the Obersalzberg. The Kehlsteinhaus is accessible via bus from Obersalzberg, and has now been converted to a restaurant.

Berchtesgaden has its fair share of tourism all around the year, and has retained its original charming character. House fronts around the market place, palace and elsewhere in Berchtesgaden are decorated with murals.

Talk

Standard German is well understood in Bavaria; most local people, however, speak their local dialect between themselves. Being a tourist destination, English and often French are usually understood.

Getting there

By plane

International travellers wishing to visit Bavaria and Berchtesgaden should have no problems to book a flight to Munich, home to a large international airport. Alternatively, if there is no direct flight to Munich with your airline, you could book a flight via Frankfurt and travel to Munich with the ICE high speed train. Alternatively you can fly to Salzburg in Austria and travel then to Berchtesgaden via train (70 minutes) or bus (~40 minutes), both direct connections. The distances are only 20 km from Salzburg and about 190 km from Munich Airport. Crossing the German-Austrian border is no problem due to the Schengen Treaty.

By train

Berchtesgaden has a train station and is well connected to Munich and Frankfurt. From Austria, a train from Salzburg is likely the best option.

By road

Driving from Munich on the A8 to Salzburg you find Berchtesgaden sign posted shortly before the Austrian border and it is another 20 km from there to Berchtesgaden. (If you travel in a hire car make sure that you pre-order winter equipment since most of the rental car companies in Germany provide you only with “summer wheels” which are most unsuitable in and around Berchtesgaden from October to April). Note also that in order to drive on a motorway in Austria it is necessary to purchase and display a 'vignette', or tax disk. These can be bought from roadside service stations.

Get around

The bus system in Berchtesgaden is as good as in the rest of Bavaria: buses run twice or once an hour and you can reach the outmost places with them. Be sure to get a timetable (”Busfahrplan“).

  • Kehlsteinhaus [2] (the "Eagle's Nest") is located at 1,834 m altitude on top of Berchtesgaden and provides a marvellous and unforgettable view over the eastern alps. You can reach it by foot, public transport, but it is not accessible by car. The Kehlsteinhaus was constructed as a present for Hitler on his 50th birthday, although he visited relatively few times. However, the house is interesting as a historical site because it remains with only minor alterations from its original state. At the end of the war, the famed American 101st Airborne Division took control of the house, and it was spared from the destruction suffered by other Nazi leadership buildings in Berchtesgaden, although most of the Nazi era artifacts were looted. Tickets for this attraction can be purchased at the tour center above Berchtesgaden in the village of Obersalzberg.
  • Königsee [3] is located 3 miles south of Berchtesgaden and is famous for the lake Königsee, which is the deepest lake in the alps and is surrounded by very steep mountain that raise up 2000 m above the lake level. You can make a boat trip to the other side of the lake to visit the world famous “Kloster St. Bartolomä”, the smaller lake “Obersee” and enjoy the wildlife of the national park. Hiking is very popular in summer and tours around the lake are sign posted. Routes are prepared by the “Deutsche Alpenverein” and they indicate usually how long it takes to get to your destination and they indicate how difficult they are.
    Lake Konigsee 2006
    Lake Konigsee 2006
  • Jenner Mountain [4] is on the east side of the Königssee and due to the cable car an easy possibility to have an excellent view over the Berchtesgaden valley.
  • The Hintersee is a small lake in nearby Ramsau b. Berchtesgaden.
  • Berchtesgaden Salt Mine [5] is one of the two saltmines in the Salzberg. The other one is on the Austrian side.
  • Rossfeld is 3 miles from Berchtesgaden and 1600 m high a very beautiful spot for walks in the sunshine and above the clouds or skiing. There are several restaurants that offer local food at reasonable pricing and you can rest there and take a bath in the sun on chairs that are provided on a rental bases. The Rossfeld can be reached on a toll road or by bus. The toll road is very well maintained and free of snow and ice all around the year.
Sledding at Obersalzburg during carnival
Sledding at Obersalzburg during carnival
  • Obersalzbergbahn [6] is the second, smaller cable car in Berchtesgaden and will bring you onto the Obersalzberg but not upon it's top. The the upper station you can enjoy a summer bob sledding run.

Things to do

Despite being in a remote location, Berchtesgaden and nearby Königsee possess world class sport facilities. The bobsleigh run (Bobbahn) at Königssee is regular venue for world-cup races, but tourists also can run it down in guest-bobs. The ice arena (“Eishalle”) in Berchtesgaden is opened half the year and popular among locals and sportsmen from nearby Austria. There's a cheap combi-ticket for ice arena and “Watzmanntherme”. The Therme is just a few meters away and probably unmatched for being embedded in a spectacular scenic landscape, surrounded by mountains and snow caped peaks and features as giant action whirl pool, hydro massage facilities, salt water pools, 80m slide with light and sound effects www.watzmanntherme.de.

Around Berchtesgaden are several slopes for skiing such as Golf and Ski am Obersalzberg, Götschen, Rossfeld and Jenner. First one is fitted for beginners, the Jenner is for advanced skiers. There are also several runs for cross-country skiing and very advanced skiers might be interested in ski touring in the Berchtesgaden Alps. From late January on sunny weather is common but the risk of avalanches is rising.

If you stay in Berchtesgaden you will have significant reduction of most entrance fees via the “Kurtaxe”.

  • Wilderness trail
  • Horse drawn sleigh in Berchtesgaden, Germany 2005

Eat

More details under Bavarian cuisine

You will find plenty of nice and original Bavarian restaurants as well as Greek, Chinese, Turkish and Italian restaurants. The pricing in most places is modest by German standards and international visitors will often view that as a bargain. Obviously being in Bavaria and in the middle of the alps you should try the local specialities such as Knödel, Schweinehaxe, wild deer (very seldom), Bratwurst, Leberkase, Weisswurst, Kartoffelsalat, Gulasch Bratkartoffeln, Kaiserschmarn, fish - and lots of more things.

  • Berggaststätte Kehlsteinhaus 1.834 m 83471 Berchtesgaden Obersalzberg +49(0)8652/2969. Enjoy your drink and food above the clouds.
  • Braustüberl Berchtesgaden Brauhausstraße 13 83471 Berchtesgaden +49(0)8652/976724. This is local beer brewery and a possibility to taste Berchtesgadener beer.
  • Gasthaus Bier-Adam Marktplatz 22 83471 Berchtesgaden +49(0)8652/2390. If you like to enjoy dinner in a smoke free atmosphere go here.
  • Gasthof Goldener Bär Weihnachtsschützenplatz 4 83471 Berchtesgaden +49(0)8652/2590. Good local food, a bit smoky though.
  • Euphoria , Grolmanstrasse 52, Phone [0[8652 / 27540, deutsches Essen, you get served for 5-10 Euro/ person,
  • Blockhaus , Bergmannstrasse 94, Phone [0[8652 / 18897, deutsches Essen, value for money 15 Euro,
  • Rani , Waidmannsluster 10, Phone [0[8652 / 26034, this place serves international food, >30 Euro,
  • Cueva , Lorchheimer-Str 52, Phone [0[8652 / 15327, spanish food - paella rica, >15 Euro,
  • Zum See Wirt, Mühlbauerstr. 64, Phone [0[8652 / 20334, deutsches Essen, voted best deli in town

Drink

Bavarians love their beer and one of the most beloved is the wheat beer (Weißbier). It is a cloudy, unfiltered beer commonly consumed earlier in the day with a Weißwurst and sweet mustard. In the cold wintertime it is nice to finish your diner with a local “Schnaps” from the Enzian Brauerei Grassl. It makes you feel nice and warm after a long day out on slopes.

Sleep

There is a good range of accommodation ranging from budget to moderately expensive. Many local people enjoy “bed and breakfast” for a very good price. You can spot those places by searching for the signs that read “Zimmer frei” or “Zimmer zu vermieten”, or use the web link from Berchtesgadener Land. In the last years holiday flats became very popular, you will find them via “Ferienwohnung”.

  • Treff Alpenhotel Kronprinz Berchtesgaden, am Brandholz. Near the city center.
  • Hotel InterContinental Resort Berchtesgaden, situated high above Berchtesgaden on the Obersalzberg. The hotel is a modern building and offers rooms and suites for up to 2500 Euro/day and is therefore Berchtesgaden's most expensive place to sleep.
  • Berchtesgaden is thankfully largely free of crime, mugging or travel scams
  • Avalanches can occur in remote areas when the temperature rises in February till April and at steep slopes above 30%. The Lawinenlagebericht [7] will give you detailed information: level 3 and higher is dangerous but you should always have a local guide with you
  • Having lots of snow on a road with 15% slope can be dangerous
This is a usable article. It has information for getting in as well as some complete entries for restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please plunge forward and help it grow!

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From LoveToKnow 1911

BERCHTESGADEN, a town of Germany, beautifully situated on the south-eastern confines of the kingdom of Bavaria, 1700 ft. above the sea on the southern declivity of the Untersberg, 6 m. S.S.E. from Reichenhall by rail. Pop. (1900) 10,046. It is celebrated for its extensive mines of rock-salt, which were worked as early as 1174. The town contains three old churches, of which the early Gothic abbey church with its Romanesque cloister is most notable, and some good houses. Apart from the salt-mines, its industries include toys and other small articles of wood, horn and ivory, for which the place has long been famous. The district of Berchtesgaden was formerly an independent spiritual principality, founded in ltoo and secularized in 1803. The abbey is now a royal castle, and in the neighbourhtood a hunting-lodge was built by King Maximilian II. in 1852.


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Simple English

Berchtesgaden

Berchtesgaden
Coordinates 47°37′53″N 13°0′15″E / 47.63139°N 13.00417°E / 47.63139; 13.00417
Administration
Country Germany
State Bavaria
Admin. region Upper Bavaria
District Berchtesgadener Land
Mayor Franz Rasp (CSU)
Basic statistics
Area 34.78 km2 (13.43 sq mi)
Elevation 700 m  (2297 ft)
Population 7,752  (30 June 2004)
 - Density 223 /km2 (577 /sq mi)
Other information
Time zone CET/CEST (UTC+1/+2)
Licence plate BGL
Postal code 83471
Area codes +49 8652
Website berchtesgaden.de
Location of Berchtesgaden within Berchtesgadener Land district

Berchtesgaden (IPA: [bɛʁçtəsˈgaːdən]) is a municipality in the German Bavarian Alps. It is found in the south district of Berchtesgadener Land in Bavaria, near the border to Austria. It lies north of the Nationalpark Berchtesgaden.









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