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Brandenburg is one of 16 federal states contributing to Germany's territory. The region is located in the country's northeastern part, forming a border with Poland to the east. Brandenburg also neighbors the state of Mecklenburg–West Pomerania to the north, Saxony to the south, Saxony-Anhalt to the west, and Lower Saxony to the northwest. In the center of the region is Germany's capital city, Berlin. However, Berlin is a separate federal state. Thus, the role of the capital city of Brandenburg is assumed by Potsdam, located to the south of Berlin. Among the prominent attractions besides Potsdam belongs Spreewald, a biosphere reserve intertwined with numerous streams and waterways. The abundance of flowing water, preserved nature, and hiking trails are presumably the reason for Spreewald's considerable popularity. Brandenburg, the area closest to the country's capital, historically represented the heart of the Prussian kingdom. From that era, several cultural and historic sites can be found in the region, mainly in the capital, Potsdam.
Potsdam, the capital city of Brandenburg, is located in the central part of the region, in close proximity to Berlin. Potsdam significantly changed its face during the last 300 years, as at that time, it became one of the residences of Prussian kings. The city is filled with Baroque and Classicist architecture and several significant historical landmarks. The town nowadays poses one of the most significant attractions within Brandenburg's borders. Reportedly one of the most visited places in Potsdam is Sanssouci Palace for its gardens and vineyard. The palace was one of the favorite settlements of king Frederick the Great, who used it as his summer retreat. The Picture Gallery and New Chambers are also part of the palace. UNESCO protects the whole complex as a National Heritage Site. Except for the palace, Dutch Quarter, Marble Palace, and Cecilienhof Palace represent some of the most popular touristic destinations.
In terms of natural attractions, Spreewald, of Spree Forest, is one of the popular stops in the territory. Spreewald is among 15 biosphere reserves in Germany. Approximately 5,000 species of animals and plants can be found in the Spree Forest, located south of Berlin. The area is regarded as a "canoeist's paradise," as approximately 1,500 streams flow through the region. For that reason, people visiting Spreewald often visit to enjoy water activities such as boating, paddling, and canoeing. Yet, the forests are filled not only with waterways but also with a considerable number of walking, cycling, and hiking trails, widening the range of outdoor attractions. Tropical Islands, Europe's largest tropical holiday world, is located near Spreewald. The complex contains Germany's highest waterslide tower, several saunas, spas, and numerous pools. Thus, Tropical Islands pose another popular touristic attraction, mostly for families with kids.
Brandenburg is located in the northeastern part of Germany, surrounding the country's capital, Berlin. River Odra forms a natural border with Poland to the east. Concerning the region's waters, over 3,000 lakes can be found within Brandenburg's borders. Local soils are mainly composed of sand, with numerous fertile areas, as half of the territory is used for agriculture. Among the most significant crops belongs rye, wheat, barley, potatoes, sugar beets, rapeseed, and fodder. In terms of economy, Brandenburg is one of Germany's poorest states. Among the leading industries developed in the territory are engineering, steelmaking, metalworking, paper production, food processing, petroleum refining, and mining. The most significant resource is lignite, mined in Lusatia. Brandenburg surrounds Berlin, which is the most populous city in Germany. Presumably, for that reason, Brandenburg is one of the states with the least density of population in the country.
The only national park in the Brandenburg territory is the Lower Oder Valley National Park, which also is the only River Floodplain National Park in Germany. The landscape of the natural park is characterized by polders set up for flood protection. Remnants of pristine forests, such as Gellmersdorf Forest and Gartzer Schrey, can be found across the area. The park's main objective is to protect various habitats, such as grasslands, moors, marches, and woods, which provide home and refuge to several rare species, among them otters, black terns, great bitterns, and corncrakes.
Regarding Brandenburg's climate, the region is located in a moderate climate with maritime influences predominating in the western parts and continental climate dominating the eastern part of the territory. The warmest month in Brandenburg's capital, Potsdam, is July, with an average daily temperature of 25°C, while January is the coldest month, with an average temperature of 3°C. October tends to be the driest month in Potsdam, with an average of 35 mm of rainfall. The most precipitation falls during June, with an average of 71 mm.
Brandenburg, a federal state encircling Germany's capital, Berlin, shares most of its history with the capital. As the adjacent area of the country's capital, it formed a foundation stone in establishing Germany's first unified state. In contrast to surrounding countries, Germany has been fragmented into smaller states and self-governing areas for a relatively long time. The country started to shape into the form we know today in the middle of the Dark Ages. Concerning Brandenburg itself, the territory was first inhabited by Slavic tribes. During the 12th century, German kings and emperors established control over the pagan Slav population of Brandenburg. At that time, the Slav population was Germanized; German and Slav people intermarried and were Christianized. During the rule of Luxembourgs, Brandenburg became a prince-elector within the Holy Roman Empire.
In the 17th century, Brandenburg's elector was crowned the Prussian king. Thus, Brandenburg became part of Prussia. Due to the central position of Brandenburg within the Kingdom of Prussia, the region developed, and the population increased significantly. Despite the Seven Years' War and attacks from Russia and Austria, Brandenburg, with the capital, Berlin, represented the heart of the country.
Brandeburg remained part of Prussia until the end of the Second World War, when Prussia was dissolved in 1947. After the Second World War, Germany's territory was divided into East Germany, formed by the previous Soviet Zone of occupation, and the Federal Republic of Germany, constituted by the Allies. Brandenburg was part of East Germany and under Soviet influence at that time. As a region, Brandenburg was divided into smaller districts. However, the federal state of Brandenburg was re-established in 1990 upon the reunification of East Germany with West Germany, forming Germany as we know it today.
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