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The jewel of the Hesse Region of Germany, the Edersee (see=lake) draws holiday visitors like a magnet. The large reservoir, created by damming the Eder River near Waldeck, is a watery paradise to the thousands of lakelubbers who arrive here each year. The 2,900+-acre lake offers all types of holiday lodgings, boat rentals, hiking and cycling paths, ruins, castles and medieval towns all within an afternoon's travel. The nearly 100-year-old reservoir has been a holiday tradition for generations of German and Dutch visitors, many of whom could not imagine a summer without the Edersee.
Over 40 miles of shoreline host hostels, camping grounds, guest houses, holiday villas, pensions and holiday apartments. Swimming beaches are plentiful, and boat and sailboat rentals offer their services to lake visitors. Most of the shoreline is public land, and small first-time fishermen often hook their first catch from the lakefront. Experienced anglers come equipped with tackle, license and a copy of the fishing rules to try their luck for perch, zander, catfish, bass and monster pike. Some resort areas cater to sailing enthusiasts, and others entertain large numbers of water skiers. Scuba divers enjoy diving in specified areas.
The lake is divided into two zones, one of which prohibits gasoline motors and sailboats. That area offers electric motor boat rentals and sailboats equipped with solar power. Paddle boats, canoes and kayaks are welcome everywhere that isn't posted and especially enjoy the many bays and inlets. For the non-boater, commercial boat cruises are always available from several spots around the lake. Plenty of restaurants, cafes and formal dining establishments assure no visitor will go hungry.
Many people come in winter to hear the famous sound of the "Singing Sea." The sound is the result of variations between day and night temperatures and fluctuating water levels causing a roaring sound as the ice expands and rubs together. Ice fishing is popular, as are ice skating, sledding on the low hills and cross-country skiing. A famed downhill ski area is located less than an hour away. And there are always adventurous souls attempting kite-skiing, ice-boating and other extreme sports.
The Edersee lake level changes considerably over the course of the average summer. In spring, the level is high but as the drier summer progresses, the lake level drops, uncovering the ruins of villages, churches, bridges and cemeteries submerged when the dam was first built in 1914. Tours in late summer lead visitors to see these sights. As the dam was built to generate hydro power, reduce flooding, and provide additional water to the Mittelland Canal, it became a valuable target during World War II. When destroyed in 1943 using specially-designed rolling bombs, the resulting wave of water killed many people. The dam was immediately rebuilt using forced labor and was back in operation within the year. A museum detailing the history of the dam, its destruction and rebuilding is housed near the dam and is open to the public. Also near the dam, an 'aquapark' has been constructed as a scale model of the Edersee, with water slides and water activities for the enjoyment of both children and adults who don't wish to swim in the open lake.
A cycling path extends all of the way around Edersee, where lovely views of the lake may be seen through the trees from the higher elevation of the surrounding hills. Many cyclists shorten their trip by hopping on one of the ferry boats that run regularly scheduled routes across the lake. On the northern shore of the lake, a tourists railroad leads up the hill toward 11th century Castle Waldeck. A cable car route in the same area lifts sightseers above the treetops to enjoy the sight of Edersee rimmed by lush ancient forest. The Edersee area is particularly popular with Dutch holiday-makers because of the Royal House of Waldeck; Princess Emma of Waldeck-Pyrmont was the second wife of King Willem III, 1879, the ancestress of all subsequent Dutch queens.
Edersee is blessed with several protected areas surrounding the lake. The Knull Wildlife Park contains large sections of copper beech forest which is no longer used for lumbering. A visit to the Edersee wildlife park in Edertal-Hemfurth allows visitors to view wolves, lynxes and bison in enclosures, while red deer, mouflon and fallow deer freely roam the park. The Kellerwald National Park Center provides ecological information about the hidden wilderness of the Keller Forest. Park rangers lead guided tours into some areas of the parks while other areas are open to hiking, climbing and bird watching.
Real estate may be available near the lake, though not lakefront. The many small towns are picturesque and friendly - an ideal spot to secure a holiday house. Edersee deserves a week or a month's visit to do justice to the many sights and activities around the lake. Once you come to Edersee, you'll wonder how you ever spent holidays elsewhere. Come and see what you're missing.
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