Mecklenburg

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Mecklenburg (Low German: Mekelnborg) is a historical region in northern Germany comprising the western and larger part of the federal-state Mecklenburg-Vorpommern. The largest cities of the region are Rostock, Schwerin, and Neubrandenburg.

The name Mecklenburg derives from a castle named "Mikilenburg" (Old German: "big castle"), located between the cities of Schwerin and Wismar. It was the ancestral seat of the House of Mecklenburg and for a time divided into Mecklenburg-Schwerin and Mecklenburg-Strelitz among the same dynasty.

Linguistically Mecklenburgers retain and use many features of the plattdeutsch, or Low German dialects or language.

Contents

Geography

Mecklenburg is known for its mostly flat countryside. Much of the terrain forms a morass, with ponds, marshes and fields as common features, with small forests interspersed. The terrain changes as one moves north towards the Baltic Sea.

Under the peat of Mecklenburg are sometimes found deposits of ancient lava flows. Traditionally, at least in the countryside, the stone from these flows is cut and used in the construction of homes, often in joint use with cement, brick and wood, forming a unique look to the exterior of country houses.

Mecklenburg has productive farming, but the land is most suitable for grazing purposes. Nonetheless Mecklenburg is a relatively poor region of Germany with a rate of unemployment from 13–20%; traditionally Mecklenburg has been one of the poorer German areas. The area has seen an increase in tourism, particularly with regard to the beaches at the Baltic Sea, Isle of Rügen, the Mecklenburg Lakeland (Mecklenburgische Seenplatte), the Mecklenburg Switzerland (Mecklenburgische Schweiz) with its pristine nature, and the old Hanseatic towns well known for the famous Brick Gothic churches.

History

Early history

Mecklenburg is the site of many prehistoric dolmen tombs. Its earliest organised inhabitants may have had Celtic origins. By no later than 100 BC the area had been populated by pre-Christian Germanic peoples.

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