Bavaria (/bəˈvɛəriə/; German and Bavarian: Bayern [ˈbaɪɐn]), officially the Free State of Bavaria (German and Bavarian: Freistaat Bayern [ˈfʁaɪʃtaːt ˈbaɪɐn]), is a landlocked federal state of Germany, occupying its southeastern corner. With an area of 70,550.19 square kilometres (27,200 sq mi), Bavaria is the largest German state by land area comprising roughly a fifth of the total land area of Germany. With 13 million inhabitants, it is Germany's second-most-populous state after North Rhine-Westphalia. Bavaria's main cities are Munich (its capital and largest city and also the third largest city in Germany) and Nuremberg.
The history of Bavaria includes its earliest settlement by Iron Age Celtic tribes, followed by the conquests of the Roman Empire in the 1st century BC, when the territory was incorporated into the provinces of Raetia and Noricum. It became a stem duchy in the 6th century AD following the collapse of the Western Roman Empire. It was later incorporated into the Holy Roman Empire, became an independent kingdom, joined the Prussian-led German Empire while retaining its title of kingdom, and finally became a state of the Federal Republic of Germany.
The Duchy of Bavaria dates back to the year 555. In the 17th century AD, the Duke of Bavaria became a Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire. The Kingdom of Bavaria existed from 1806 to 1918, when Bavaria became a republic. In 1946, the Free State of Bavaria re-organised itself on democratic lines after the Second World War.
Bavaria has a unique culture, largely because of the state's Catholic majority and conservative traditions. Bavarians have traditionally been proud of their culture, which includes a language, cuisine, architecture, festivals such as Oktoberfest and elements of Alpine symbolism. The state also has the second largest economy among the German states by GDP figures, giving it a status as a rather wealthy German region.
Free State of Bavaria
|Anthem: Bayernhymne (German)|
"Hymn of Bavaria"
|• Body||Landtag of Bavaria|
|• Minister-President||Markus Söder (CSU – Christian Social Union of Bavaria)|
|• Governing parties||CSU / FW|
|• Bundesrat votes||6 (of 69)|
|• Total||70,550.19 km2 (27,239.58 sq mi)|
(2017-12-31)"Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes". Bayerisches Landesamt für Statistik und Datenverarbeitung (in German). September 2018.
|• Density||180/km2 (480/sq mi)|
Bayer (m), Bayerin (f) (German)
|Time zone||UTC+1 (CET)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC+2 (CEST)|
|ISO 3166 code||DE-BY|
|GDP (nominal)||€568/ $668 billion (2016)|
|GDP per capita||€43,000/ $50,500 (2015)|
The Bavarians emerged in a region north of the Alps, previously inhabited by Celts, which had been part of the Roman provinces of Raetia and Noricum. The Bavarians spoke Old High German, but, unlike other Germanic groups, they probably did not migrate from elsewhere. Rather, they seem to have coalesced out of other groups left behind by the 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 circa 520. A 17th century Jewish chronicler David Solomon Ganz, citing Cyriacus Spangenberg, claimed that the diocese was named after an ancient Bohemian king, Boiia, in the 14th century BC.
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 Hugbert.
At Hugbert's death (735) the duchy passed to a distant relative named Odilo, from neighboring Alemannia (modern southwest Germany and northern Switzerland). Odilo issued a law code for Bavaria, completed the process of church organization 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. Saint Boniface completed the people's conversion to Christianity in the early 8th century.
Tassilo III (b. 741 – d. after 796) 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. 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. The territory of Ostarrichi was elevated to a duchy in its own right and given to the Babenberger family. This event marks the founding of Austria.
The last, and one of the most important, of the dukes of Bavaria was Henry the Lion of the house of Welf, founder of Munich, and 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 (a.k.a. "Barbarossa" for his red beard), Bavaria was awarded as fief to the Wittelsbach family, counts palatinate of Schyren ("Scheyern" in modern German). They ruled for 738 years, from 1180 to 1918. The Electorate of the Palatinate by Rhine (Kurpfalz in German) was also acquired by the House of Wittelsbach in 1214, which they would subsequently hold for six centuries.
The first of several divisions of the duchy of Bavaria occurred in 1255. With the extinction of the Hohenstaufen in 1268, Swabian territories were acquired by the Wittelsbach dukes. Emperor Louis the Bavarian acquired Brandenburg, Tyrol, Holland and Hainaut for his House but released the Upper Palatinate for the Palatinate branch of the Wittelsbach in 1329. In the 14th and 15th centuries, upper and lower Bavaria were repeatedly subdivided. Four Duchies existed after the division of 1392: Bavaria-Straubing, Bavaria-Landshut, Bavaria-Ingolstadt and Bavaria-Munich. In 1506 with the Landshut War of Succession, the other parts of Bavaria were reunited, and Munich became the sole capital.
In 1623 the Bavarian duke replaced his relative of the Palatinate branch, the Electorate of the Palatinate 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 Jesuit-supported counter-reformation centres. 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 (War of the Spanish Succession, election of a Wittelsbach emperor instead of a Habsburger). From 1777 onwards and after the younger 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. The new state also comprised the Duchies of Jülich and Berg as these on their part were in personal union with the Palatinate.
When Napoleon abolished the Holy Roman Empire, Bavaria became a kingdom in 1806 due, in part, to the Confederation of the Rhine. Its area doubled after the Duchy of Jülich was ceded to France, as the Electoral Palatinate was divided between France and the Grand Duchy of Baden. The Duchy of Berg was given to Jerome Bonaparte. The Tyrol and Salzburg were temporarily reunited with Bavaria but finally ceded to Austria by the Congress of Vienna. In return Bavaria was allowed to annex the modern-day region of Palatinate to the west of the Rhine and Franconia in 1815. Between 1799 and 1817, the leading minister, Count Montgelas, followed a strict policy of modernisation; he laid the foundations of administrative structures that survived the monarchy and retain core validity in the 21st century. In May 1808 a first constitution was passed by Maximilian I, being modernized in 1818. This second version established a bicameral Parliament with a House of Lords (Kammer der Reichsräte) and a House of Commons (Kammer der Abgeordneten). That constitution was followed until the collapse of the monarchy at the end of World War I.
After the rise of Prussia to power in the early 18th century, Bavaria preserved its independence by playing off the rivalry of Prussia and Austria. Allied to Austria, it was defeated along with Austrian in the 1866 Austro-Prussian War and was not incorporated into the North German Federation of 1867, but the question of German unity was still alive. When France declared war on Prussia in 1870, the south German states Baden, Württemberg, Hessen-Darmstadt and Bavaria joined the Prussian forces (whereas Austria did not) and ultimately joined the Federation, which was renamed Deutsches Reich (German Empire) in 1871 while Austria did not. Bavaria continued as a monarchy, and it had some special rights within the federation (such as an army, railways, postal service and a diplomatic body of its own).
When Bavaria became part of the newly formed German Empire, this action was considered controversial by Bavarian nationalists who had wanted to retain independence from the rest of Germany, as Austria had. As Bavaria had a majority-Catholic population, many people resented being ruled by the mostly Protestant northerners of Prussia. As a direct result of the Bavarian-Prussian feud, political parties formed to encourage Bavaria to break away and regain its independence. Although the idea of Bavarian separatism was popular in the late 19th and early 20th century, apart from a small minority such as the Bavaria Party, most Bavarians have accepted that Bavaria is part of Germany.
In the early 20th century, Wassily Kandinsky, Paul Klee, Henrik Ibsen, and other artists were drawn to Bavaria, especially to the Schwabing district of Munich, a center of international artistic activity. This area was devastated by bombing and invasion during World War II.
Free State has been an adopted designation after the abolition of monarchy in the aftermath of World War I in several German states. On 12 November 1918, Ludwig III signed a document, the Anif declaration, releasing both civil and military officers from their oaths; the newly formed republican government, or "People's State" 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 Stuart claims. Family members are active in cultural and social life, including the head of the house, Franz, Duke of Bavaria. They step back from any announcements on public affairs, showing approval or disapproval solely by Franz's presence or absence.
Eisner was assassinated in February 1919, ultimately leading to a Communist revolt and the short-lived Bavarian Soviet Republic being proclaimed 6 April 1919. After violent suppression by elements of the German Army and notably the Freikorps, the Bavarian Soviet Republic fell in May 1919. The Bamberg Constitution (Bamberger Verfassung) was enacted on 12 or 14 August 1919 and came into force on 15 September 1919 creating the Free State of Bavaria within the Weimar Republic. Extremist activity further increased, notably the 1923 Beer Hall Putsch led by the National Socialists, and Munich and Nuremberg became seen as Nazi strongholds under the Third Reich of Adolf Hitler. However, in the crucial German federal election, March 1933, the Nazis received less than 50% of the votes cast in Bavaria.
As a manufacturing centre, Munich was heavily bombed during World War II and was occupied by U.S. troops, becoming a major part of the American Zone of Allied-occupied Germany (1945–47) and then of "Bizonia".
The Rhenish Palatinate was detached from Bavaria in 1946 and made part of the new state Rhineland-Palatinate. During the Cold War, Bavaria was part of West Germany. In 1949, the Free State of Bavaria chose not to sign the Founding Treaty (Gründungsvertrag) for the formation of the Federal Republic of Germany, opposing the division of Germany into two states, after World War II. The Bavarian Parliament did not sign the Basic Law of Germany, mainly because it was seen as not granting sufficient powers to the individual Länder, but at the same time decided that it would still come into force in Bavaria if two-thirds of the other Länder ratified it. All of the other Länder ratified it, and so it became law.
Bavarians have often emphasized a separate national identity and considered themselves as "Bavarians" first, "Germans" second. This feeling started to come about more strongly among Bavarians when the Kingdom of Bavaria joined the Protestant Prussian-dominated German Empire while the Bavarian nationalists wanted to keep Bavaria as Catholic and an independent state. Nowadays, aside from the minority Bavaria Party, most Bavarians accept that Bavaria is part of Germany. Another consideration is that Bavarians foster different cultural identities: Franconia in the north, speaking East Franconian German; Bavarian Swabia in the south west, speaking Swabian German; and Altbayern (so-called "Old Bavaria", the regions forming the "historic", pentagon-shaped Bavaria before the acquisitions through the Vienna Congress, at present the districts of the Upper Palatinate, Lower and Upper Bavaria) speaking Austro-Bavarian. In Munich, the Old Bavarian dialect was widely spread, but nowadays High German is predominantly spoken there. Moreover, by the expulsion of German speakers from Eastern Europe, Bavaria has received a large populations that were not traditionally Bavarian. In particular, the Sudeten Germans, expelled from neighboring Czechoslovakia, have been deemed to have become the "fourth tribe" of Bavarians.
Uniquely among German states, Bavaria has two official flags of equal status, one with a white and blue stripe, the other with white and blue lozenges. Either may be used by civilians and government offices, who are free to choose between them. Unofficial versions of the flag, especially a lozenge style with coat of arms, are sometimes used by civilians.
The modern coat of arms of Bavaria was designed by Eduard Ege in 1946, following heraldic traditions.
Bavaria shares international borders with Austria (Salzburg, Tyrol, Upper Austria and Vorarlberg) and the Czech Republic (Karlovy Vary, Plzeň and South Bohemian Regions), as well as with Switzerland (across Lake Constance to the Canton of St. Gallen). Because all of these countries are part of the Schengen Area, the border is completely open. 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 geographic centre of the European Union is located in the north-western corner of Bavaria.
Bavaria is divided into 7 administrative districts called Regierungsbezirke (singular Regierungsbezirk).
|Administrative region||Capital||Population (2011)||Area (km2)||No. municipalities|
Bezirke (districts) are the third communal layer in Bavaria; the others are the Landkreise and the Gemeinden or Städte. The Bezirke in Bavaria are territorially identical with the Regierungsbezirke, but they are self-governing regional corporation, having their own parliaments. In the other larger states of Germany, there are Regierungsbezirke which are only administrative divisions and not self-governing entities as the Bezirke in Bavaria.
The second communal layer exists out of 71 rural districts (called Landkreise, singular Landkreis) that are comparable to counties. They share the same administrative responsibilities as the 25 independent cities (Kreisfreie Städte, singular Kreisfreie Stadt).
The 71 administrative districts are on the lowest level divided into 2,031 regular municipalities (called Gemeinden, singular Gemeinde). Together with the 25 independent cities (kreisfreie Städte, which are in effect municipalities independent of Landkreis administrations), there are a total of 2,056 municipalities in Bavaria.
In 44 of the 71 administrative districts, there are a total of 215 unincorporated areas (as of 1 January 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).
Bavaria has a multi-party system dominated by the conservative Christian Social Union (CSU), which has won every election since 1945, and the center-left Social Democrats (SPD) dominates in Munich. Thus far Wilhelm Hoegner has been the only SPD candidate to ever become Minister-President; notable successors in office include multi-term Federal Minister Franz Josef Strauss, a key figure among West German conservatives during the Cold War years, and Edmund Stoiber, who both failed with their bids for Chancellorship. The German Greens and the center-right Free Voters have been represented in the state parliament since 1986 and 2008 respectively.
In the 2003 elections the CSU won a ⅔ supermajority – something no party had ever achieved in post-war Germany. However, in the subsequent 2008 elections the CSU lost the absolute majority for the first time in 46 years. The losses were partly attributed by some to the CSU's stance for an anti-smoking bill. (A first anti-smoking law had been proposed by the CSU and passed but was watered down after the election, after which a referendum enforced a strict anti-smoking bill with a large majority).
The last state elections were held on 14 October 2018 in which the CSU lost its absolute majority in the state parliament in part due to the party's stances as part of the federal government, winning 37.2% of the vote; the party's second worst election outcome in its history. The Greens who had surged in the polls leading up to the election have replaced the social-democratic SPD as the second biggest force in the Landtag with 17.5% of the vote. The SPD lost over half of its previous share compared to 2013 with a mere 9.7% in 2018. The liberals of the FDP were again able to reach the 5%-threshold in order to receive mandates in parliament after they were not part of the Landtag after the 2013 elections. Also entering the new parliament will be the right-wing populist Alternative for Germany (AfD) with 10.2% of the vote. The center-right Free Voters party gained 11.6% of the vote and formed a government coalition with the CSU which lead to the subsequent reelection of Markus Söder as Minister-President of Bavaria.
The Constitution of Bavaria of the Free State of Bavaria was enacted on 8 December 1946. The new Bavarian Constitution became the basis for the Bavarian State after the Second World War.
Bavaria has a unicameral Landtag (English: 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 Bavarian State Government consists of the Minister-President of Bavaria, 11 Ministers and 6 Secretaries of State. The Minister-President is elected for a period of five years by the State Parliament and is head of state. With the approval of the State Parliament he appoints the members of the State Government. The State Government is composed of the:
Political processes also take place in the 7 regions (Regierungsbezirke or Bezirke) in Bavaria, in the 71 administrative districts (Landkreise) and the 25 towns and cities forming their own districts (kreisfreie Städte), and in the 2,031 local authorities (Gemeinden).
In 1995 Bavaria introduced direct democracy on the local level in a referendum. This was initiated bottom-up by an association called Mehr Demokratie (English: 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 (including 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.
|Ministers-President of Bavaria|
|No.||Name||Born and died||Party affiliation||Begin of tenure||End of tenure|
|8||Franz Josef Strauß||1915–1988||CSU||1978||1988|
Unlike most German states (Länder), which simply designate themselves as "State of" (Land [...]), Bavaria uses the style of "Free State of Bavaria" (Freistaat Bayern). The difference from other states is purely terminological, as German constitutional law does not draw a distinction between "States" and "Free States". The situation is thus analogous to the United States, where some states use the style "Commonwealth" rather than "State". The choice of "Free State", a creation of the early 20th century and intended to be a German alternative to (or translation of) the Latin-derived "republic", has historical reasons, Bavaria having been styled that way even before the current 1946 Constitution was enacted (in 1918 after the de facto abdication of Ludwig III). Two other states, Saxony and Thuringia, also use the style "Free State"; unlike Bavaria, however, these were not part of the original states when the Grundgesetz was enacted but joined the federation later on, in 1990, as a result of German reunification. Saxony had used the designation as "Free State" from 1918 to 1952.
In July 2017, Bavaria's parliament enacted a new revision of the "Gefährdergesetz", allowing the authorities to imprison a person for a three months term, renewable indefinitely, when he or she has not committed a crime but it is assumed that he or she might commit a crime "in the near future". Critics like the prominent journalist Heribert Prantl have called the law "shameful" and compared it to Guantanamo Bay detention camp, assessed it to be in violation of the European Convention on Human Rights, and also compared it to the legal situation in Russia, where a similar law allows for imprisonment for a maximum term of two years (i.e., not indefinitely)
Bavaria has long had one of the largest economies of any region in Germany, or Europe for that matter. Its GDP in 2007 exceeded €434 billion (about U.S. $600 billion). This makes Bavaria itself one of the largest economies in Europe and only 20 countries in the world have a higher GDP. Some large companies headquartered in Bavaria include BMW, Siemens, Rohde & Schwarz, Audi, Munich Re, Allianz, Infineon, MAN, Wacker Chemie, Puma, Adidas, and Ruf. Bavaria has a GDP per capita of over U.S. $48,000. Meaning that if it were its own independent country it would rank 7th or 8th in the world. Bavaria has strong economic ties with Austria, the Czech Republic, Switzerland, and Northern Italy.
The motorcycle and automobile maker BMW Bayerische Motoren-Werke, or Bavarian Motor Works in English, Audi, Allianz, Grundig (consumer electronics), Siemens (electricity, telephones, informatics, medical instruments), Amazon, Weltbild (trade) Patrizia Immobilien (real estate management) Continental (Automotive Tire and Electronics), Nintendo, Adidas, Puma, HypoVereinsbank (UniCredit Group), Infineon, Krauss-Maffei Wegmann, MAN Diesel & Turbo, KUKA, OSRAM and Ruf have (or had) a Bavarian industrial base.
|Unemployment rate in %||5.5||5.3||6.0||6.9||6.9||7.8||6.8||5.3||4.2||4.8||4.5||3.8||3.7||3.8||3.8||3.6||3.5||3.2|
Bavaria has a population of approximately 12.9 million inhabitants (2016). 8 of the 80 largest cities in Germany are located within Bavaria with Munich being the largest (1,450,381 inhabitants and apx. 5.7 million when including the broader metropolitan area), followed by Nuremberg (509,975 inhabitants) and Augsburg (286,374 inhabitants). All other cities in Bavaria had less than 150,000 inhabitants in 2015. Population density in Bavaria was 182 per sq. kilometre, below the national average of 227 per square kilometre. Foreign nationals resident in Bavaria (both immigrants and refugees/asylum seekers) were principally persons from other EU countries and Turkey.
|Top-ten foreign resident populations|
The state's population continues to decline 
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 religion, traditions, and language.
Bavarian culture (Altbayern) has a long and predominant tradition of Catholic faith. Pope emeritus Benedict XVI (Joseph Alois Ratzinger) was born in Marktl am Inn in Upper Bavaria and was Cardinal-Archbishop of Munich and Freising. Otherwise, the culturally Franconian and Swabian regions of the modern State of Bavaria are historically more diverse in religiosity, with both Catholic and Protestant traditions. In 1925, 70.0% of the Bavarian population was Catholic, 28.8% was Protestant, 0.7% was Jewish, and 0.5% was placed in other religious categories.
As of 2016 50.5% of Bavarians adhered to Catholicism (a decline from 70.4% in 1970). 18.8% of the population adheres to the Evangelical Lutheran Church in Bavaria, which has also declined since 1970. Muslims make up 4.0% of the population of Bavaria. 24% of Bavarians are irreligious or adhere to other religions.
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. There are a lot of traditional Bavarian sports disciplines, e.g. the Aperschnalzen is an old tradition of competitive whipcracking.
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 City 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.
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 variety of entrails. At folk festivals and in many beer gardens, beer is traditionally served by the litre (in a Maß). Bavarians are particularly proud of the traditional Reinheitsgebot, or beer purity law, initially established by the Duke of Bavaria for the City of Munich (i.e. 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 partly struck it down in 1987 as incompatible with the European common market. German breweries, however, cling to the principle, and Bavarian breweries still comply with it in order to distinguish their beer brands. Bavarians are also known as some of the world's most beer-loving people with an average annual consumption of 170 litres per person, although figures have been declining in recent years.
Bavaria is also home to the Franconia wine region, which is situated along the Main River in Franconia. The region has produced wine (Frankenwein) 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.
Mainly three German dialects are spoken in Bavaria: Austro-Bavarian in Old Bavaria (Upper Bavaria, Lower Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate), Swabian German (an Alemannic German dialect) in the Bavarian part of Swabia (South West) and East Franconian German in Franconia (North). In the small town Ludwigsstadt in the north, district Kronach in Upper Franconia, Thuringian dialect is spoken. In the 20th century an increasing part of the population began to speak Standard German, mainly in the cities.
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 but buy beer only from the brewery that runs the beer garden.
In the United States, particularly among German Americans, Bavarian culture is viewed somewhat nostalgically, and several "Bavarian villages" have been founded, most notably Frankenmuth, Michigan; Helen, Georgia; and Leavenworth, Washington. Since 1962, the latter has been styled with a Bavarian theme and is home to an Oktoberfest celebration it claims is among the most attended in the world outside of Munich.
Bavaria is home to several football clubs including FC Bayern Munich, 1. FC Nürnberg, FC Augsburg, TSV 1860 Munich, FC Ingolstadt 04 and SpVgg Greuther Fürth. Bayern Munich is the most popular and successful football team in Germany having won a record 27 German titles. They are followed by 1. FC Nürnberg who have won 9 titles. SpVgg Greuther Fürth have won 3 championships while TSV 1860 Munich have been champions once. FC Bayern won the German championship 27 times (record) and the UEFA Champions League 5 times.
Many famous people have been born or lived in present-day Bavaria:
The Bavarian Soviet Republic (German: Bayerische Räterepublik) was the short-lived unrecognised socialist state in Bavaria during the German Revolution of 1918–19. It took the form of a workers' council republic. Its name is variously rendered in English as the Bavarian Council Republic or the Munich Soviet Republic (German: Münchner Räterepublik; the German name Räterepublik means a republic of councils or committees; council or committee is also the meaning of the Russian word soviet) after its capital, Munich. It was established in April 1919 after the demise of Kurt Eisner's People's State of Bavaria and sought independence from the also newly proclaimed Weimar Republic. It was overthrown less than a month later by elements of the German Army and the paramilitary Freikorps.Christian Social Union in Bavaria
The Christian Social Union in Bavaria (Christlich-Soziale Union in Bayern , CSU) is a Christian-democratic and conservative political party in Germany. The CSU operates only in Bavaria while its larger counterpart, the Christian Democratic Union (CDU), operates in the other fifteen states of Germany. It differs from the CDU by being somewhat more conservative in social matters. The CSU is considered an effective successor of the Weimar-era Catholic Bavarian People's Party (BVP).At the federal level, the CSU forms a common faction in the Bundestag with the CDU, which is frequently referred to as the Union Faction (die Unionsfraktion). The CSU has had 46 seats in the Bundestag since the 2017 federal election, making it the smallest of the seven parties represented. Until the 2013 federal election, the CDU/CSU formed federal government in coalition with the Free Democratic Party (FDP). The CSU is a member of the European People's Party (EPP) and the International Democrat Union. The CSU currently has three ministers in the cabinet of Germany of the federal government in Berlin, including party leader Horst Seehofer who is Federal Minister of the Interior while party member Markus Söder serves as Minister-President of Bavaria, a position that CSU representatives have held from 1946 to 1954 and again since 1957.Duchy of Bavaria
The Duchy of Bavaria (German: Herzogtum Bayern) was a frontier region in the southeastern part of the Merovingian kingdom from the sixth through the eighth century. It was settled by Bavarian tribes and ruled by dukes (duces) under Frankish overlordship. A new duchy was created from this area during the decline of the Carolingian Empire in the late ninth century. It became one of the stem duchies of the East Frankish realm which evolved as the Kingdom of Germany and the Holy Roman Empire.
During internal struggles of the ruling Ottonian dynasty, the Bavarian territory was considerably diminished by the separation of the newly established Duchy of Carinthia in 976. Between 1070 and 1180 the Holy Roman Emperors were again strongly opposed by Bavaria, especially by the ducal House of Welf. In the final conflict between the Welf and Hohenstaufen dynasties, Duke Henry the Lion was banned and deprived of his Bavarian and Saxon fiefs by Emperor Frederick Barbarossa. Frederick passed Bavaria over to the House of Wittelsbach, which held it until 1918. The Bavarian dukes were raised to prince-electors during the Thirty Years' War in 1623.Empress Elisabeth of Austria
Elisabeth of Austria (24 December 1837 – 10 September 1898) was Empress of Austria and Queen of Hungary, and many other titles by marriage to Emperor Franz Joseph I.
Elisabeth was born into the royal Bavarian house of Wittelsbach. Nicknamed "Sisi", she enjoyed an informal upbringing before marrying Emperor Franz Joseph I at the age of sixteen. The marriage thrust her into the much more formal Habsburg court life, for which she was unprepared and which she found uncongenial. Early in the marriage she was at odds with her mother-in-law, Archduchess Sophie, who took over the rearing of Elisabeth's daughters, one of whom, Sophie, died in infancy. The birth of a male heir, Rudolf, improved her standing at court, but her health suffered under the strain, and she would often visit Hungary for its more relaxed environment. She came to develop a deep kinship with Hungary, and helped to bring about the dual monarchy of Austria–Hungary in 1867.
The death of her only son and his mistress Mary Vetsera, in a murder–suicide at his hunting lodge at Mayerling in 1889 was a blow from which Elisabeth never recovered. She withdrew from court duties and travelled widely, unaccompanied by her family. In 1890, she had a palace built on the Greek Island of Corfu that she visited often. The palace Achilleion, featuring an elaborate mythological motif, served as a refuge. She was obsessively concerned with maintaining her youthful figure and beauty, which were already legendary during her life. While travelling in Geneva in 1898, she was stabbed to death by an Italian anarchist named Luigi Lucheni. Elisabeth was the longest serving Empress of Austria at 44 years.FC Bayern Munich
Fußball-Club Bayern München e.V., commonly known as FC Bayern München (German pronunciation: [ʔɛf tseː ˈbaɪɐn ˈmʏnçn̩]), FCB, Bayern Munich, or FC Bayern, is a German sports club based in Munich, Bavaria (Bayern). It is best known for its professional football team, which plays in the Bundesliga, the top tier of the German football league system, and is the most successful club in German football history, having won a record 28 national titles and 18 national cups.FC Bayern was founded in 1900 by 11 football players, led by Franz John. Although Bayern won its first national championship in 1932, the club was not selected for the Bundesliga at its inception in 1963. The club had its period of greatest success in the middle of the 1970s when, under the captaincy of Franz Beckenbauer, it won the European Cup three times in a row (1974–1976). Overall, Bayern has reached ten European Cup/UEFA Champions League finals, most recently winning their fifth title in 2013 as part of a continental treble. Bayern has also won one UEFA Cup, one European Cup Winners' Cup, one UEFA Super Cup, one FIFA Club World Cup and two Intercontinental Cups, making it one of the most successful European clubs internationally and the only German club to have won both international titles. Since the formation of the Bundesliga, Bayern has been the dominant club in German football, winning 27 titles, including six consecutively since 2013. They have traditional local rivalries with 1860 Munich and 1. FC Nürnberg, as well as with Borussia Dortmund since the mid-1990s.
Since the beginning of the 2005–06 season, Bayern has played its home games at the Allianz Arena. Previously the team had played at Munich's Olympiastadion for 33 years. The team colours are red and white, and the team crest shows the white and blue flag of Bavaria. In terms of revenue, Bayern Munich is the biggest sports club in Germany and the fourth highest-earning football club in the world, generating €587.8 million in 2017. For the 2017–18 season, Bayern reported a revenue of €657.4 million and an operating profit of €136.5 million. This was Bayern's 26th year in a row with a profit. In November 2018, Bayern had 291,000 official members and there are 4,433 officially registered fan clubs with over 390,000 members. The club has other departments for chess, handball, basketball, gymnastics, bowling, table tennis and senior football with more than 1,100 active members. As of January 2019, FC Bayern is ranked joint second in the current UEFA club coefficient rankings.House of Wittelsbach
The House of Wittelsbach (German pronunciation: [ˈvɪtəlsbax]) is a European royal family and a German dynasty from Bavaria.
Members of the family reigned as Dukes of Merania (1153–1180/82), Dukes, Electors and Kings of Bavaria (1180–1918), Counts Palatine of the Rhine (1214–1803 and 1816–1918), Margraves of Brandenburg (1323–1373), Counts of Holland, Hainaut and Zeeland (1345–1432), Elector-Archbishops of Cologne (1583–1761), Dukes of Jülich and Berg (1614–1794/1806), Kings of Sweden (1441–1448 and 1654–1720) and Dukes of Bremen-Verden (1654–1719).
The family also provided two Holy Roman Emperors (1328–1347/1742–1745), one King of the Romans (1400–1410), two Anti-Kings of Bohemia (1619–20/1742–43), one King of Hungary (1305–1309), one King of Denmark and Norway (1440–1447) and one King of Greece (1832–1862).
The family's head, since 1996, is Franz, Duke of Bavaria.Illuminati
The Illuminati (plural of Latin illuminatus, "enlightened") is a name given to several groups, both real and fictitious. Historically, the name usually refers to the Bavarian Illuminati, an Enlightenment-era secret society founded on 1 May 1776. The society's goals were to oppose superstition, obscurantism, religious influence over public life, and abuses of state power. "The order of the day," they wrote in their general statutes, "is to put an end to the machinations of the purveyors of injustice, to control them without dominating them." The Illuminati—along with Freemasonry and other secret societies—were outlawed through edict by the Bavarian ruler Charles Theodore with the encouragement of the Catholic Church, in 1784, 1785, 1787, and 1790. In the following several years, the group was vilified by conservative and religious critics who claimed that they continued underground and were responsible for the French Revolution.
Many influential intellectuals and progressive politicians counted themselves as members, including Ferdinand of Brunswick and the diplomat Xavier von Zwack, who was the Order's second-in-command. It attracted literary men such as Johann Wolfgang von Goethe and Johann Gottfried Herder and the reigning dukes of Gotha and Weimar.In subsequent use, "Illuminati" has referred to various organisations which have claimed or have been claimed to be connected to the original Bavarian Illuminati or similar secret societies, though these links have been unsubstantiated. These organisations have often been alleged to conspire to control world affairs, by masterminding events and planting agents in government and corporations, in order to gain political power and influence and to establish a New World Order. Central to some of the more widely known and elaborate conspiracy theories, the Illuminati have been depicted as lurking in the shadows and pulling the strings and levers of power in dozens of novels, films, television shows, comics, video games, and music videos.Kingdom of Bavaria
The Kingdom of Bavaria (German: Königreich Bayern; Austro-Bavarian: Kinereich Bayern) was a German state that succeeded the former Electorate of Bavaria in 1805 and continued to exist until 1918. The Bavarian Elector Maximilian IV Joseph of the House of Wittelsbach became the first King of Bavaria in 1805 as Maximilian I Joseph. The crown would go on being held by the Wittelsbachs until the kingdom came to an end in 1918. Most of Bavaria's present-day borders were established after 1814 with the Treaty of Paris, in which Bavaria ceded Tyrol and Vorarlberg to the Austrian Empire while receiving Aschaffenburg and Würzburg. With the unification of Germany into the German Empire in 1871, the kingdom became a federal state of the new Empire and was second in size, power, and wealth only to the leading state, the Kingdom of Prussia. In 1918, Bavaria became a republic, and the kingdom was thus succeeded by the current Free State of Bavaria.List of cities and towns in Germany
This is a complete list of the 2,056 towns and cities in Germany (as of January 1st, 2019). Only independent municipalities that have the right to call themselves Stadt are included. Historically, this title was associated with town privileges but today it is a mere honorific title. The title can be bestowed to a municipality by its respective state government and is generally given to such municipalities that have either had historic town rights or have attained considerable size and importance more recently. In this list, only the town names are given. For more restricted lists with more details, see:
List of cities in Germany by population (only Großstädte, i.e. cities over 100,000 population)
Metropolitan Regions in GermanyNumbers of cities and towns in the German states:
Bavaria: 317 towns and cities
Baden-Württemberg: 313 towns and cities
North Rhine-Westphalia: 272 towns and cities
Hesse: 191 towns and cities
Saxony: 169 towns and cities
Lower Saxony: 159 towns and cities
Rhineland-Palatinate: 129 towns and cities
Thuringia: 121 towns and cities
Brandenburg: 113 towns and cities
Saxony-Anhalt: 104 towns and cities
Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania: 84 towns and cities, see list
Schleswig-Holstein: 63 towns and cities
Saarland: 17 towns and cities
Bremen: 2 cities
Berlin: 1 city
Hamburg: 1 cityLouis IV, Holy Roman Emperor
Louis IV (German: Ludwig; 1 April 1282 – 11 October 1347), called the Bavarian, of the house of Wittelsbach, was King of the Romans from 1314, King of Italy from 1327, and Holy Roman Emperor from 1328.
Louis IV was Duke of Upper Bavaria from 1294/1301 together with his elder brother Rudolf I, served as Margrave of Brandenburg until 1323, as Count Palatine of the Rhine until 1329, and he became Duke of Lower Bavaria in 1340. He obtained the titles Count of Hainaut, Holland, Zeeland, and Friesland in 1345 when his wife Margaret inherited them.Lower Bavaria
Lower Bavaria (German: Niederbayern, Austro-Bavarian: Niadabayern) is one of the seven administrative regions of Bavaria, Germany, located in the east of the state.Ludwig II of Bavaria
Ludwig II (German: Ludwig Otto Friedrich Wilhelm; English: Louis Otto Frederick William; 25 August 1845 – 13 June 1886) was King of Bavaria from 1864 until his death in 1886. He is sometimes called the Swan King or der Märchenkönig ("the Fairy Tale King"). He also held the titles of Count Palatine of the Rhine, Duke of Bavaria, Duke of Franconia, and Duke in Swabia.He succeeded to the throne aged 18. Two years later Bavaria and Austria fought a war against Prussia, which they lost. However, in the Franco-Prussian War of 1870 Bavaria sided with Prussia against France, and after the Prussian victory it became part of the new German Empire led by Prussia. Though Bavaria retained a degree of autonomy on some matters within the new German Reich, Ludwig increasingly withdrew from day-to-day affairs of state in favour of extravagant artistic and architectural projects. He commissioned the construction of two lavish palaces and Neuschwanstein Castle, and he was a devoted patron of the composer Richard Wagner. Ludwig spent all his royal revenues (although not state funds as is commonly thought) on these projects, borrowed extensively, and defied all attempts by his ministers to restrain him. This extravagance was used against him to declare him insane, an accusation which has since come under scrutiny. Today, his architectural and artistic legacy includes many of Bavaria's most important tourist attractions.Ludwig I of Bavaria
Ludwig I (also rendered in English as Louis I; 25 August 1786 – 29 February 1868) was king of Bavaria from 1825 until the 1848 revolutions in the German states.Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich
Ludwig Maximilian University of Munich (also referred to as LMU or the University of Munich, in German: Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität München) is a public research university located in Munich, Germany.
The University of Munich is Germany's sixth-oldest university in continuous operation. Originally established in Ingolstadt in 1472 by Duke Ludwig IX of Bavaria-Landshut, the university was moved in 1800 to Landshut by King Maximilian I of Bavaria when Ingolstadt was threatened by the French, before being relocated to its present-day location in Munich in 1826 by King Ludwig I of Bavaria. In 1802, the university was officially named Ludwig-Maximilians-Universität by King Maximilian I of Bavaria in his as well as the university's original founder's honour.The University of Munich has, particularly since the 19th century, been considered as one of Germany's as well as one of Europe's most prestigious universities; with 42 Nobel laureates (as of 2017) associated with the university, it ranks 16th worldwide by number of Nobel laureates. Among these were Wilhelm Röntgen, Max Planck, Werner Heisenberg, Otto Hahn and Thomas Mann. Pope Benedict XVI was also a student and professor at the university. The LMU has recently been conferred the title of "elite university" under the German Universities Excellence Initiative.
LMU is currently the second-largest university in Germany in terms of student population; in the winter semester of 2015/2016, the university had a total of 51,025 matriculated students. Of these, 8,671 were freshmen while international students totalled 7,812 or almost 15% of the student population. As for operating budget, the university records in 2015 a total of 660.0 million Euros in funding without the university hospital; with the university hospital, the university has a total funding amounting to approximately 1.7 billion euros.Maximilian I Joseph of Bavaria
Maximilian I Joseph (27 May 1756 – 13 October 1825) was Duke of Zweibrücken from 1795 to 1799, prince-elector of Bavaria (as Maximilian IV Joseph) from 1799 to 1806, then King of Bavaria (as Maximilian I Joseph) from 1806 to 1825. He was a member of the House of Palatinate-Birkenfeld-Zweibrücken, a branch of the House of Wittelsbach.Munich
Munich (; German: München [ˈmʏnçn̩] (listen); Austro-Bavarian: Minga [ˈmɪŋ(ː)ɐ] Polish: Monachium) is the capital and most populous city of Bavaria, the second most populous German federal state. With a population of around 1.5 million, it is the third-largest city in Germany, after Berlin and Hamburg, as well as the 12th-largest city in the European Union. The city's metropolitan region is home to 6 million people. Straddling the banks of the River Isar (a tributary of the Danube) north of the Bavarian Alps, it is the seat of the Bavarian administrative region of Upper Bavaria, while being the most densely populated municipality in Germany (4,500 people per km²). Munich is the second-largest city in the Bavarian dialect area, after the Austrian capital of Vienna.
The city is a global centre of art, science, technology, finance, publishing, culture, innovation, education, business, and tourism and enjoys a very high standard and quality of living, reaching first in Germany and third worldwide according to the 2018 Mercer survey, and being rated the world's most liveable city by the Monocle's Quality of Life Survey 2018. According to the Globalization and World Rankings Research Institute Munich is considered an alpha-world city, as of 2015. Munich is a major international center of engineering, science, innovation, and research, exemplified by the presence of two research universities, a multitude of scientific institutions in the city and its surroundings, and world class technology and science museums like the Deutsches Museum and BMW Museum.. Munich houses many multinational companies and its economy is based on high tech, automobiles, the service sector and creative industries, as well as IT, biotechnology, engineering and electronics among many others.
The name of the city is derived from the Old/Middle High German term Munichen, meaning "by the monks". It derives from the monks of the Benedictine order, who ran a monastery at the place that was later to become the Old Town of Munich; hence the monk depicted on the city's coat of arms. Munich was first mentioned in 1158. Catholic Munich strongly resisted the Reformation and was a political point of divergence during the resulting Thirty Years' War, but remained physically untouched despite an occupation by the Protestant Swedes. Once Bavaria was established as a sovereign kingdom in 1806, it became a major European centre of arts, architecture, culture and science. In 1918, during the German Revolution, the ruling house of Wittelsbach, which had governed Bavaria since 1180, was forced to abdicate in Munich and a short-lived socialist republic was declared.
In the 1920s, Munich became home to several political factions, among them the NSDAP. The first attempt of the Nazi movement to take over the German government in 1923 with the Beer Hall Putsch was stopped by the Bavarian police in Munich with gunfire. After the Nazis' rise to power, Munich was declared their "Capital of the Movement". During World War II, Munich was heavily bombed and more than 50% of the entire city and up to 90% of the historic centre were destroyed. After the end of postwar American occupation in 1949, there was a great increase in population and economic power during the years of Wirtschaftswunder, or "economic miracle". Unlike many other German cities which were heavily bombed, Munich restored most of its traditional cityscape and hosted the 1972 Summer Olympics. The 1980s brought strong economic growth, high-tech industries and scientific institutions, and population growth. The city is home to major corporations like BMW, Siemens, MAN, Linde, Allianz and MunichRE.
Munich is home to many universities, museums and theatres. Its numerous architectural attractions, sports events, exhibitions and its annual Oktoberfest attract considerable tourism. Munich is one of the most prosperous and fastest growing cities in Germany. It is a top-ranked destination for migration and expatriate location. Munich hosts more than 530,000 people of foreign background, making up 37.7% of its population.Neuschwanstein Castle
Neuschwanstein Castle (German: Schloss Neuschwanstein, pronounced [nɔʏˈʃvaːnʃtaɪn], English: "New Swanstone Castle"; Southern Bavarian: Schloss Neischwanstoa) is a 19th-century Romanesque Revival palace on a rugged hill above the village of Hohenschwangau near Füssen in southwest Bavaria, Germany. The palace was commissioned by Ludwig II of Bavaria as a retreat and in honour of Richard Wagner. Ludwig paid for the palace out of his personal fortune and by means of extensive borrowing, rather than Bavarian public funds.
The castle was intended as a home for the king, until he died in 1886. It was open to the public shortly after his death. Since then more than 61 million people have visited Neuschwanstein Castle. More than 1.3 million people visit annually, with as many as 6,000 per day in the summer.Regensburg
Regensburg (German pronunciation: [ˈʁeːɡŋ̍sbʊɐ̯k] (listen); Latin: Castra-Regina; Polish: Ratyzbona; Czech: Řezno; French: Ratisbonne; older English: Ratisbon; Bavarian: Rengschburg or Rengschburch) is a city in south-east Germany, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen rivers. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regensburg is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg. The city is the political, economic and cultural centre and capital of the Upper Palatinate.
The medieval centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2014, Regensburg was among the top sights and travel attractions in Germany.Upper Bavaria
Upper Bavaria (German: Oberbayern, Austro-Bavarian: Obabayern) is one of the seven administrative districts of Bavaria, Germany.