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Neckar (region)

From Plochingen to Stuttgart, the Neckar valley is densely populated and covered with industrial areas, including several well-known companies, e.g. Daimler AG, the maker of Mercedes Benz cars, and Mahle GmbH. Between Stuttgart and Lauffen, the Neckar cuts a scenic meandering and in many places steep-sided valley into fossiliferous Triassic limestones and Pleistocene travertine. Along the Neckar's valley in the Odenwald hills, many castles can be found, like Burg Hornberg and Burg Guttenberg in Haßmersheim, but also the closed Obrigheim Nuclear Power Plant and the active Neckarwestheim Nuclear Power Plant. After passing Heidelberg, the Neckar discharges on average 145 m3/s (5,100 cu ft/s) of water into the Rhine, which makes the Neckar its 4th largest tributary, and the 10th largest river in Germany.

The name Neckar was derived from Nicarus and Neccarus from Celtic Nikros, meaning wild water or wild fellow. Since about 1100, Black Forest wood was transported by timber rafting, e.g. to Holland for the use in shipyards.

During the 19th century, traditional horse-drawn boats were replaced by steam boats that used a 155 km (96 mi) long chain in the river to pull themselves upstream. The railway made it possible to transport timber to the port of Heilbronn, limiting timber rafting to the lower part of the Neckar after 1899. Thanks to the construction of 11 locks, ships up to 1500t could travel to Heilbronn in 1935. The Neckar river in southwest Germany, flows from south to north, emptying to the Rhine at Mannheim.

By 1968, the last of 27 locks, at Deizisau, was completed, making the Neckar navigable for cargo ships about 200 km upstream from Mannheim up to the river port of Plochingen, where the Fils joins, and where the Neckar bends, taking a Northwestern instead of a Northeastern direction. Other important ports include Stuttgart, Heilbronn and Mannheim.

The river's course provides a popular route for cyclists, especially during the summer months. Its steep valley sides are used as vineyards, to cultivate mainly Trollinger.

[ source: wikipedia ]

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Most Popular Destinations in Germany

Germany has numerous cities of interest to tourists; these are the top nine travel destinations:

Berlin - the reunified and reinvigorated capital of Germany; known for its division during the Cold War - and the Berlin Wall. Today its a metropolis of diversity with elegant clubs, galleries and traditional restaurants. It is also a haven for shoppers.

Bremen - one of the most important cities in northern Germany, its old town will be of interest to travelers who want a slice of history.

Cologne - Germany's fourth-largest city. Cologne was founded by the Romans and is 2000 years old with its huge cathedral, Romanesque churches, and archaeological sites. Cologne also well known for its carnival and its Christopher-Street-Day parade. Don't forget to try the local cuisine and of course the local beer, called "Kölsch".

Dresden - once called Florence on the Elbe, and world-famous for its Frauenkirche and historic center which was destroyed during the war, the city offers more than what the average traveller can expect: Great festivals, all kinds of cultural entertainment, vibrant night life, and surrounded by beautiful natural vistas. Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which is one of the world's most impressive museums and collections. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Grünes Gewölbe are the most well-known.

Dusseldorf - Germany's capital of fashion, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia offers a wide scale of fascinating new architecture. Right along the shores of river Rhine, the "Altstadt" and the "Medienhafen" are among the best places in Germany to enjoy a vibrant nightlife. Being one of the country's wealthiest cities, the atmosphere is very pleasant. Germans call it "the only metropolis ending with -dorf (German for village)".

Frankfurt - Germany's leading financial center, transportation hub, seat of the European Central Bank (ECB), international trade fair center (Book Fair, Motor Show), hub of multicultural activity (30% Immigrants), and site of numerous world-class museums and theaters. It is also Germany's only city with enough skyscrapers to have a skyline.

Hamburg - Germany's second-largest city, famous for its harbour as well as its liberal and tolerant culture. Don't miss the Reeperbahn with its night clubs and casinos. Hamburg is also popular for its many musicals.

Hannover - One of Germany's newer tourist cities, having hosted various international events in recent times.

Munich - Bavaria's beautiful capital city and Southern Germany's primate city. Third largest city in Germany, Munich is the site of the famous Oktoberfest and the gateway to the Alps.

Nuremberg - Second largest city in Bavaria, after WW2 over 90% of the old-town was destroyed. Today it has already been reconstructed, including the Gothic Kaiserburg Castle (Emperor's Castle of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation). You can also visit the Nazi party rally grounds, the Documentation Centre and Courtroom 600 - venue of the Nuremberg Trails.

[ source: Wikitravel ]

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