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Brandenburg an der Havel


With around 72,000 inhabitants, Brandenburg an der Havel is the third largest and, in terms of area, the largest independent city and one of the four regional centers of the German state of Brandenburg. The Slavic eponymous Brandenburg was first mentioned in writing in 928 or 929. Urban structures did not develop until after the German conquest in the 12th century. A document from 1170 names the old town in Brandenburg for the first time as a city under German law. Because of its long history and because it gave its name to the whole of Brandenburg, it is also known as the “cradle of the Mark”.


Brennaburg Castle was taken from King Heinrich I of the Hevellers in winter 927 to 928. Otto I founded a diocese here in 948, which was first subordinated to the Archbishop of Mainz, in 968 assigned to the newly established Archdiocese of Magdeburg, but destroyed again in 983 by the pagan Wends and then re-established by Albrecht the Bear in 1153. After Bishop Matthias von Jagow converted to the Protestant Church in 1539 and the Catholic service in the cathedral ceased in 1544, the diocese was administered by the Elector until 1598, then it was abolished and the monastery property was partly converted into electoral domains and partly sold to nobles. But the cathedral chapter remained, which was not legally repealed until 1810, but was renewed again in 1826. Of the twelve canon positions, which were all conferred by the king, nine have since belonged to the nobility and three to the clergy. In November 1848 the seat of the Prussian National Assembly was moved to Brandenburg, where it was opened on November 27th and dissolved again on December 5th, 1848.



Brandenburg an der Havel is located on an area of ​​228.8 square kilometers in the west of the state of Brandenburg, about 70 kilometers from Berlin and is part of its agglomeration.

The city is located on the Havel River, which is important for inland shipping, between Potsdam and the confluence with the Elbe near Havelberg. In the urban area, the Havel branches out into several branches and canals that form some islands that characterize the cityscape. There are also ten natural lakes, most of which are flowed through by the Havel or connected to it. Only the Gördensee and Bohnenländer See, located in the glacial Bohnenland-Görden-Rinne, as well as the Heilige See have no natural inflow and outflow to the Havel. These are drained through artificial ditches, the Bohnenländer See over the Eisengraben from the Butter Laake, the Gördensee over the Quenzgraben. The largest lakes in the city are the Plauer See with an area of ​​around 640 hectares and the Beetzsee, which can be seen on the map as the northeastern tip of the city area. In the lakes there are several islands such as Buhnenwerder between Plauer, Breitling and Möserschem See. Buhnenwerder is also the name of an island in the Beetzsee. The Riewendsee, northeast of the Beetzsee, is an exclave of the city. Although it belongs to Brandenburg, it is completely surrounded by other municipal or urban areas. Conversely, the narrow area corridor from Beetzsee and Riewendsee separates the Beetzsee municipality almost completely from the rest of the Potsdam-Mittelmark district. The Havel, in turn, separates the historic landscapes of Havelland in the north and Zauche in the south. The city owns shares in both landscapes. Other natural rivers besides the Havel are the Plane rivers, which have their source in Fläming, and their tributaries Temnitz and Sandfurthgraben and the Buckau and their tributaries Verlorenwasser. Plane and Buckau each flow into the Breitlingsee. The river Emster, which flows into the Havel between the districts of Wust and Gollwitz, was expanded and widened like a canal in the 19th century. There are also some canals, such as the Jakobsgraben, the Brandenburg City Canal and the Silo Canal, which were created as waterways at different times.

The highest point in the urban area with over 70 meters is at the southern end of the urban area south of the motorway. In the city center, the Marienberg reaches a height of almost 68 meters. It was the highest elevation up to the incorporation of painke in 1993 and belongs to an ice age chain of hills in the ice edge layer 1 c of the Brandenburg phase of the Weichsel ice age. The 63 meter high vineyard near Klein Kreutz, which was later used for viticulture, was built in peripheral location 2. In the southeast of the urban area, Brandenburg between Kirchmöser and Mahlenzien has a share in the high plateau of the Karower Platte formed in the main ice-edge location. On this, for example, lies the Mühlenberg, which, like the Marienberg, was historically used as a Telegrafenberg.

The soils are generally rather sandy and in some cases not very fertile. Around 75 percent of the urban area is used for agricultural purposes, swamp areas or bodies of water. The agricultural areas of the city also include the forests of Gördenwald, Neustädter Heide and Neu-Plauer Forst, which together with smaller forest areas make up around 20 percent of the communal area. The dominant planting in these areas is the monoculture of the pine, although lately more and more people have moved away from them and switched to planting mixed vegetation.

City structure
Brandenburg an der Havel is divided into eight districts, two of which are referred to as city or districts. The three medieval town centers today form the districts of Altstadt, Neustadt, to which the districts of Göttin and PAINKE belong since 1993, and the cathedral with Klein Kreutz and Saaringen since 1993 and Gollwitz and Wust since 2003. In the 20th century, three new districts were planned in the historic district of the old town. These were Görden in the 1920s, north from 1959 and finally the Hohenstücke slab construction area from 1972. In 1952 the independent town of Plaue and the municipality of Kirchmöser were incorporated, which are now part of the town or district. The Mahlenzien district has belonged to Kirchmöser since 1993. Overall, the city is divided into around 50 city and districts, localities and residential areas. In the north of the municipality of Beetzsee is the Brielower extension, to the west of this Butterlake and again to the north of Bohnenland.


Neighboring districts, cities and municipalities
The independent city of Brandenburg an der Havel is almost completely surrounded by the Potsdam-Mittelmark district. The Havelland district also borders the urban area over a few kilometers in the extreme northwest and northeast. The neighboring cities and communities are clockwise: in the northwest the community Milower Land in the Havelland district, in the north the city Havelsee and the communities Beetzsee and Roskow in Potsdam-Mittelmark. Beetzseeheide, Päwesin in Potsdam-Mittelmark and the Havelland town of Nauen are located on the shores of the Beetzsee and Riewendsee lakes, which are part of the city. The community of Groß Kreutz borders Brandenburg in the east, Lehnin, Wollin and Wenzlow monasteries to the south and Rosenau, Wusterwitz and Bensdorf to the west. They are all in turn in the district of Potsdam-Mittelmark.

Environment and nature protection
Protected areas
In the 1990s, the lowlands of the Fiener Bruch and adjacent areas were designated as an EU bird sanctuary Fiener Bruch as part of the Natura 2000 network. In the extreme southwest, Brandenburg an der Havel has a small share of this bird sanctuary.

The island of Buhnenwerder in the Beetzsee is designated as the seagull island of Buhnenwerder as a nature reserve. It was already declared a nature reserve on April 1, 1930 by an ordinance of the district president. This makes it the oldest nature reserve in the city of Brandenburg. On the island there was a large breeding colony of black-headed gulls, which was the aim of the protection. The Volksbund Naturschutz had leased Buhnenwerder as early as 1929 and set up an observation station. During the egg-laying period, the breeding colony was monitored and protected from the clutches being looted. Buhnenwerder was also the subject of scientific work on black-headed gulls at an early stage. Young animals and migratory behavior were documented.

During the Second World War, the clutches on the island were massively looted and Buhnenwerder was used as a military training area, which led to the breeding colony disappearing. However, after the area was placed under protection again after the end of the war, the birds were quickly reintroduced. However, stocks have been declining since the late 1950s. Other species on the island include common tern, reed warbler, reed bunting, bittern and European pond turtle.

Landscape change
Since around 1180, the Havel has been dammed by dams near the Brandenburg Cathedral Island in order to operate water mills, south of the Mühlendamm between Cathedral Island and Neustadt, to the north three dams in the course of Krakauer Straße. Because of the low gradient of the river, the Brandenburg mill dam caused the water level to rise by more than a meter 64 km upstream in Spandau. As a result, wetlands were created by human hands on the central Havel, while the high medieval state development was characterized elsewhere by the drainage of marshland.

In the north of the urban area, in the old town forest, are the Gördensee and the Bohnenländer See, which formed in a glacial channel, the Bohnenland-Görden-Rinne. The lakes have no natural runoff. Since the creation of drainage ditches, the iron ditch from Bohnenländer and the Quenzgraben from Gördensee, both have lost significantly in volume and area, and the lakes are affected by a pronounced and unnatural silting process. In the late 18th century, for example, the Gördensee was about twice as long north-south and about 50 percent larger water area than at the beginning of the 21st century. The lost bodies of water are covered by boggy, swampy soils and an extensive belt of reeds. Due to the ongoing siltation, both lakes are described as dying lakes.



The city of Brandenburg has a temperate climate. This is influenced from the east by the continental climate and from the west by the Atlantic maritime climate. The significant rainfall is distributed over the whole year. There are no pronounced dry months. The average annual rainfall for Havelsee is 539 mm. The driest month is February with a rainfall of 32 mm, while the most rainfall falls in June with an average of 64 mm. The annual average temperature is 9.1 ° C. The warmest month in comparison is July with an average of 18.4 ° C. In January, the coldest month of the year, the average temperature is −0.2 ° C.