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Brombachsee, Bavaria, Germany

Also known as: Lake Brombach, Brombach Lake, Brombachsee Lake, Brombachvorsperre

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Map: Brombachsee, Bavaria, Germany

As the largest lake in the man-made Franconian Lake District, Brombachsee--also known as Lake Brombach or Brombachvorsperre--is an impressive and popular destination. This lake covers more than 3,100 acres with a maximum depth of 105 feet (32 meters). Brombachsee was created in 2000 to control area flooding. The German water management project that established the Franconian Lake District is the largest of its kind in the history of Germany.

Brombachsee is part of the Altmuhl-Brombach Speichersystem (reservoir system), situated in Roth County and Weissenburg-Gunzenhausen County. The Altmuhl River was fitted with a diversion dam which forces water into the Altmuhl Basin and then through a diversion channel to Brombachsee. Lake Brombach's reservoir has made a significant difference in improving the overly-dry northern areas and decreasing the flooding in the region through inter-basin water control schemes. Located about 23 miles (37 kilometers) southwest of Nuremberg, which is also the city with the closest major airport, Brombachsee is the largest artificial reservoir in Germany, with a length of 3.1 miles (5.1 kilometers), an area of 4.9 square miles (12.7 square kilometers) and a 10.9-mile-long (17.5-kilometer-long) shoreline.

The Franconian Lake District comprises a total of five separate lakes and several more ponds and smaller waterways. This young district is fairly large in total size, with total lake area equivalent to that of the Upper Bavarian Lake District. Begun in the 1980s, this water management project was designed to redirect waters from the basin of the Danube to the north, which is a traditionally dry area; its ultimate goal is to decrease the amount of flooding that occurs in the Altmuhl Valley. The Lake Brombach dam was completed in 1999, allowing the lake to be created the year after. Visitors to the area who are not aware of the origins may not realize that these lakes were artificially created; they appear natural and seem to fit perfectly into their unspoiled surrounding hillsides, forests, and full beaches. Surrounding Brombachsee and throughout the Franconian Lake District is an impressive 932 miles (1,500 kilometers) of maintained cycling trails as well as a network of walking trails and paths that is well-kept and easy to navigate and follow. Four recreation centers are found around the lake, and sailboat slips number more than 1,000.

The five lakes in the Franconian Lake District include Brombachsee, Altmuhlsee (Altmuhl Lake), Rothsee (Roth Lake), Hahnenkammsee and Dennenloher See (Dennenloher Lake). Brombachsee is made up of three adjoining bodies of water, all artificially created: Great Brombach Lake (Grosser Brombachsee) covers 2,150 acres and occupies the entire eastern half of the lake. Small Brombach Lake (Kleiner Brombachsee) makes up the wide southwestern arm of Brombachsee, with an area of about 590 acres. Small Brombach Lake is the preferred location for water activities, with its accommodatingly placid waters. It is a very popular water sport destination for locals and travelers; along its large beaches, vacationers can be found swimming, sailing, fishing, boating, surfing, wind surfing, water skiing and paddle boating; really, most every water recreation is found here. Small Brombach Lake is also higher lying than Great Brombach Lake, and is divided from the main lake by a 59-foot (18-meter) dam. This is an auxiliary dam, or check dam, as is the one that separates Igelsbachsee from Great Brombach Lake. Igelsbachsee (or Igelsbachsperre) is the thinner northwestern arm of Brombachsee, with a 4-mile (6.4 kilometer) shoreline and water depths up to 38 feet (11.5 meters). It too is higher lying than Great Brombach Lake; a 52-foot (16-meter) dam separates the two lakes.

The MS Brombachsee, the biggest European Trimaran passenger ship, operates daily on Brombachsee. This large ship crosses the lake regularly and docks at five locations on Brombachsee. Touring the lake by boat is another popular and relaxing activity.

Spalt, the "Hops and Beer Town," is found lakeside on Brombachsee and is considered to be the heart of the Franconian Lake District. The Old Town in Spalt boasts very old "hops houses" with roofs that were designed with gables that were used to dry and store the locally grown hops. Also preserved are remains of walls and towers from earlier eras, along with splendid architecture and unique buildings. This area is known for its lovely small-town feel, where taking a stroll allows sightseers to view ruins of the Benedictine abbey from which Spalt emerged around 800 A.D. Although Spalt has always been a tourism destination, its popularity has increased since the creation of the Franconian Lake District. Replete with a wide variety of outdoor activities and local and area attractions, this town is well loved by individual travelers as well as couples, families, those traveling with children and group tours of all sizes and ages. Nature lovers travel here for the serene backdrop and unspoiled new coastlines. Fossils are commonly found in the limestone in this region, most notably a recent discovery of archaeopteryx fossils. Amateur archaeologists find the area a wonderful destination for discovering bits of the past, even beyond these fossils. More than a dozen castles stand in the district, as do 26 palaces. Ruins of note include the Limes wall, which was once the boundary of the Roman Empire. The Hassberge Nature Reserve is a diverse attraction with its natural beauty, full woods, open fields, peaks and valleys--and its many vestiges of military roads and trade routes from ancient times.

Bavaria, the largest state in Germany, is known for its pride in traditional aspects of its culture. From food to costume to dance, visitors to Bavaria will have no trouble finding evidence of its deeply traditional roots. The area is known for its wine making, and its hearty foods are the perfect match for the local wines and beers served by its inhabitants with great respect and pride. The choices and novelty of the dishes are sure to delight everyone. Lovers of Octoberfests won't be disappointed in this region.

Retirees who are interested in the quiet life along a serene lake should consider real estate in this region, which would make a wonderful retirement location. Although there are hotels and other kinds of lodging available in the area, including Spalt and other towns close by, visitors give high praise to the experience to be had in renting self-catering holiday lodging. Single-family homes that retain the authentic flavor of the Bavarian culture are available as vacation properties and summer holidays, as are apartments, small cottages, charming downtown apartments, and many variations beyond these. The history of the homes and area is preserved with great love and care, but visitors will also find the advantages of modern amenities in most available rentals.

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