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Bremen, officially named the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen, is one of the 16 federal states, or Bundesländer, contributing to Germany's territory. The federal state is composed of Bremen and Bremerhaven, both located on the river Weser, flowing into the North Sea. The federal state is situated in the northwestern part of Germany. Its old town stands on a sand dune surrounded by marshes and moors. The two cities, Bremen and Bremerhaven, serve as Germany's second largest port after Hamburg, significantly influencing their history. Due to extensively developed trade and business, Bremen has been one of Germany's free cities for centuries, which means Bremen has been a self-governing entity within the country. For most of its history, Bremen was one of the most developed, liberal, and left-oriented cities, which is true to this day. From its rich history, several cultural sites have been preserved, attracting a number of tourists to this day. Among them belong The Town Musicians of Bremen, The Town Hall, the Roland Statue, and more.
Bremen is the second largest city in Northern Germany after Hamburg. Aside from being one of the most developed industrial cities in the country, Bremen is also known for its abundance of cultural and historical sites. Among them are St Peter's Cathedral, Böttcherstrasse, Schlachte Embankment, Schnoor quarter, and more. However, The Town Musicians of Bremen is reportedly the most well-known landmark within the city. World-renowned fairy-tale writers Brothers Grimm, who wrote tales such as Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs, Cinderella, Rapunzel, Sleeping Beauty, The Frog Prince, and many more, also wrote a story called The Bremen Town Musicians. The tale became the city's pride, and as a tribute, a statue of the Town Musicians was built in the Old Town of Bremen. The story is about a donkey, a dog, a cat, and a rooster who go on a journey to Bremen in search of a better life. Thus, the statue seen in Bremen is a two-meter-tall bronze construction of the animals standing on each other. Besides the statue, a couple of the most visited places in Bremen include the Town Hall and Roland Statue, located in the Old Town's Market Square, both inscribed on the UNESCO World Heritage List. Both the Town Hall and the Roland Statue represent the city's autonomy within both German and European urban society. Bremen has been, for centuries, an independent, self-governing city, represented by the historic Town Hall building, whereas the statue of Roland symbolizes the city's rights and privileges.
Several parks and other green areas can be found within Bremen's borders. The largest is the Bürgerpark, often nicknamed "the green heart of Bremen," which is also classified as one of Germany's most significant urban green spaces. Bürgerpark offers various outdoor activities, such as playgrounds, a jogging track, boat hire, a minigolf course, and an animal enclosure. However, among the local specialties belongs the Rhododendronpark. As the name suggests, the park is filled with over 10,000 rhododendron and azalea bushes, creating the world's second-largest rhododendron collection.
Bremen, together with Bremerhaven, serves as the second largest port in Germany after Hamburg. Since Bremerhaven's history is intertwined with trade which was mainly possible due to the port and access to the sea, the city offers numerous sea attractions. German Maritime Museum is located in the city, showcasing the ships and history of Germany's sailing. Additionally situated In Bremerhaven is a North Sea Aquarium, with animals such as polar bears, seals, penguins, and barnacles, among others.
Bremen is located in northwest Germany, near the North Sea's coast, on both river banks of Weser. Further downstream is where the city of Bremerhaven is located, which is a port city that is a part of the German state officially called the Free Hanseatic City of Bremen. The river Weser cuts directly through the city and region. To the left of the Lower Weser stretch the Weser Marshes, through which the Ochtum flows. The landscape to the right of the Weser is called Elbe-Weser Triangle, often nicknamed the "wet triangle."
The Old Town of Bremen is located on a sand dune with a height of up to 15 meters. The dune developed as a result of wind activity during the postglacial period. As the dune is 40 km long and 3 km wide, the city mainly expanded to the north and south. The dune, as well as Bremen's Old Town, lies within the marshes and moors of the Bremer Lowlands, territorially belonging to the Bremen Federal State. The adjacent lowlands have been filled with smaller settlements, gradually becoming incorporated into the city.
Within Bremen's boundaries, a considerable number of protected areas can be found. Reportedly, 20 nature reserves, 13 landscape protection areas, and 650 legally protected biotopes preserve the diversity of Bremen's nature. The largest nature reserve in the area is Luneplate, which is open to the public. Luneplate, with an area of approximately 1.400, protects the nature of Bremerhaven Fishery Harbor, characterized by marsh grasslands, mudflats, and tidal polder landscapes. The territory is flooded twice a day, as Luneplate lies lower than the Weser high tide. Some of the rarer species inhabiting the region are water buffaloes, the galloway cow, and a considerable number of bird species. Over 10,000 birds use Luneplate as their sleeping environment during winters. Thus, the area is a popular destination among birdwatchers, who can observe various species from the lookout platform or the observation hideaway. Luneplate can also be explored by walking or cycling.
Bremen is located in a temperate oceanic climate due to its proximity to the North Sea. Warm summers and cold, snowy winters are characteristic of the city. Concerning the average temperatures in Bremen, the warmest month is August, with an average daily temperature of 23°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 4°C. February tends to be the driest month in Bremen, with an average of 33 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during June, with an average of 75 mm.
The oldest remains prove inhabitation of marshes and moraines near Bremen since prehistoric times. Bremen is located on the banks of the river, in close proximity to the North Sea's coast. Additionally, the city was situated at the junction of trading routes leading from the Rhine to the Elbe and from the North Sea to southern Germany. For its profitable trading and shipping position, Bremen developed rapidly. In 787, the city became the base of missionary activity in northern Europe. Besides that, in the 10th century, Bremen was granted market rights, further increasing its economic significance. During the Middle Ages, Bremen was part of the Hanseatic League and was known as one of Germany's financial centers. Thirty Years' War, which took place in the 17th century, halted Bremen's development for a while. However, the city was able to repel Swedes as well as Hanoverians. Bremen was an imperial free city and later became Germany's first autonomous republic. The town joined German Confederation, which later transformed into German Empire in 1871. During that time, Bremen posed as a country's leader in international trade and world shipping, reportedly due to expanding the city's port facilities and developing the manufacturing industry.
For most of its existence, Bremen has been an independent city with reportedly significant liberal and left traditions. After World War I, Social Democrats won elections in Bremen. Even after Hitler's rise to power and strongly compromised national elections, only one-third of Bremen's population voted for Nazis in National Elections in 1933. During that time, the majority of Jews living in Bremen were able to leave Germany. The rest of Bremen's Jewish population was deported to the concentration camps in occupied Poland. Being a developed industrial city, Bremen served as headquarters for naval, submarine (U-boot), and airplane construction during the Second World War. Towards the war's end, over 60% of housing stock and most of Bremen's historical Hanseatic city were destroyed by allied bombings. The town later became part of the US occupation zone of West Germany.
Bremen and its adjacent area were reconstructed rather rapidly after the Second World War. Nowadays, Bremen Bundesland, or the federal state, consists of two cities, Bremen and Bremerhaven (Bremen Port). Together with Oldenburg, the three towns form Bremen/Oldenburg Metropolitan Region, inhabited by approximately 2.5 million people. To this day, Bremen bears a reputation as a left-wing city. However, in today's time, the town is governed by a coalition of Social Democrats, The Greens, and The Left.
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