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2020-06-02 00:00:40

Rugen island: Baltic resort and evidence of the former greatness of the Slavs

Rugen island: Baltic resort and evidence of the former greatness of the Slavs

Rügen is an island in the Baltic Sea, the largest of Germany's islands, which is located in the federal state of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. It is a famous German resort. The relief of the island is strongly rugged bays and capes, which increases the length of the white beaches of the island.

Rügen has a long experience in hospitality: German, Danish and Swedish monarchs and their subjects, rich and not so rich, used to come here to rest. Artists and photographers rushed to capture the famous chalk cliffs, the Nazis were going to take care of the health of their party members. The old train moves along the coast, blowing smoke, rolling tourists, bringing them to the sights.

History with the geography of Fr. Rugen: a Slavic principality and the territory of 4 European countries

History with the geography of Fr. Rugen: a Slavic principality and the territory of 4 European countries

Several archaeological expeditions take place on the territory of Rugen. The history of the local population begins with the Stone Age, so here archaeologists study the ancient mounds, altars, the peculiarities of the cultural layers.

In the early Middle Ages the Slavs lived here, were engaged in cattle breeding and fishing, built ships. The islanders were warriors and experienced navigators, conquered the nearest coast, and raided their neighbors on the Baltic. The Baltic Sea was even called the Sea of Rugs (kovr or ruzhan - the self-name of the local Slavs). In XII century military luck gave out the Rugs: the Danes destroyed the capital of the island and the sanctuary of the pagan Slavic god Svyatovit. Rügen became the territory of the Danish bishopric, and the locals were forced to convert to Christianity. In XIII century the islanders regained their independence, but they voluntarily signed an agreement with the German king and subsequently developed as German lands. The population gradually assimilated to the German and lost their Slavic identity and language.

Napoleon came here in the early 19th century, and the island was French until 1814. Then he went to Denmark, then to Prussia. In 1945, Soviet troops occupied Rügen, after which the island was part of the territory of the German Democratic Republic until the unification of Germany, and the military garrison was located here.

Rügen is a European resort with a long history: a castle for the royal family, a sanatorium for the Nazis.

Rügen is a European resort with a long history: a castle for the royal family, a sanatorium for the Nazis.

Germans began to come to the island in the 19th century, appreciating the incredible beauty of the local beaches, the white chalk cliffs, overgrown with forests, and the identity of the fishing villages.

Not far from Binz, in one of these villages, was the residence of the princely family Putbus. In the early 19th century, the head of this family, Wilhelm von Putbus, was the first to appreciate the potential for profit from hospitality and began to build elegant villas in Binz. Now Binz is the largest and still the most beautiful resort on Rügen, with white beaches and equally white lace villas.

It takes more than a day to visit the local sights:

  • Chalk cliffs overgrown with beech forests in Jasmund National Park
  • Remains of an ancient rampart and a Slavic temple
  • Medieval churches from the 12th century
  • The oldest lighthouse on the Baltic coast
  • Binzaugen Villas and cross-border hunting castle
  • The Nazi sanatorium in Prora.

The island is covered with a unique beech forest. Combined with the white cliffs, beech thickets are incredibly picturesque - in German galleries there are artistic paintings with views of the cliffs of Rügen. The former Cretaceous quarry left behind a bizarre white topography that now protects the Jasmund National Park. Every traveler seeks to capture themselves in front of another Cretaceous celebrity - the "King's Chair" cliffs, over 100 meters high with 2 white protrusions.

To the west of Rugen, nature surprises with the beauty of the lagoons. They are protected by a second national park; the island also has a biosphere reserve.

At Cape Arkona (the so-called capital of the Slavic principality, destroyed by the Danes in the 12th century) are the ruins of a Slavic cult of the IX century, where once stood a wooden idol of the god Svyatovit with the ritual. The remains of the ramparts around, according to archaeologists, are much older.

The island

The island has two lighthouses next to each other. The first lighthouse here appeared in the 1920s. The unusual rectangular shape for lighthouses makes it look like a brick house with a glass tower on the roof, now a museum building. But the new lighthouse, round, was built in 1902.

The Boritz hunting lodge, like the carved Binz villas, was built with money from the von Putbus family. "The lodge looks like a real castle with round prongs on the corners and the tallest in the center. The castle was completed in 1846, and there is an observation deck on the central tower that overlooks the entire island. The castle was built for the rest of the dignitaries: the King of Prussia Friedrich Wilhelm IV, the Danish King Christian VIII, the famous politician Otto von Bismarck, statesmen, writers and other celebrities who came here to breathe the sea air.

Not the most beautiful, but the most grandiose attraction of the island is the unfinished Nazi sanatorium in Prora. The project was large-scale: for the members of the National Socialist Party, many concrete houses were built adjacent to each other, 4.5 km long. Instead of the 20,000-seat auditorium planned at Adolf Hitler's request, a square was laid out in the center. Parts of this building now operate as inexpensive hotels; it has become a favorite destination for young people.


In addition to attractions, Rügen offers guests all kinds of water activities and sports: yachting, windsurfing, kitesurfing. The whole island is dotted with hiking and biking paths through forests and parks: you can simply walk along them and reach the tourist sites.

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Egor Eremeev
Current material has been prepared by Egor Eremeev
Education: Westminster University (Business & Management), London.
Egor studied and lived in the UK for 8 years and graduated from the university of Westminster. He is currently the co-founder and the director of business development at Smapse Education and personally visits foreign schools and universities, interviews students studying in those institutions.
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