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Children play at the beach on the shores of Roth Lake, while harried parents let the sun melt their cares away. In the background sailboats glide across the surface of the lake, and windsurfers dart back and forth trying to catch any available breeze. Roth Lake (Rothsee in German) is part of the Franconian Lake District in Bavaria. The lake is a popular weekend getaway for German families and a destination for tourists from across the world who come to experience the beauty and culture of Bavaria.
Rothsee is the largest natural lake in the District of Roth with 544 surface acres of water. The lake serves as a storage reservoir for water pumped from the Danube River by way of the Main-Danube Canal. A dam with a small hydroelectric power plant generates electricity as water is discharged into lower lakes and rivers. Rothsee is divided into two parts, with 124 surface acres of water before the dam and the remainder on the main lock side. The lake includes a marina and is the popular site to boat, sail and windsurf. There are several public recreation areas around Roth Lake, including one at the lock with a viewing platform. A 7.5-mile riverside walk wraps around the lake's shore for walking and cycling, and a 1.25-mile "fish walk" along the lake's southern shore provides access to the lake and information on the fish species. Perch, roach, bream, carp, catfish and pike can all be found in Rothsee.
The northwest corner of Roth Lake is a designated Nature Reserve. The 25-acre reserve was established to protect the birds and wildlife that use the lake. Viewing areas let visitors bird watch, and an observation pavilion houses exhibits on the lake's habitat. There are also outside display areas sometimes used by area school children. Rothsee is a family-friendly lake with activities and playgrounds accessible to families with small children.
Waterfront cafes, holiday cottages and villas dot the area around Roth Lake. Its proximity to the city of Nuremberg makes it the ideal weekend destination, and Nuremberg provides visitors with all the cultural amenities of a major city. Rothsee is part of the Altmuhl Valley and near the Altmuhltal Nature Park. In addition to the historic architecture including Roman towers and medieval castles, the park is also known for its fossils. Families can go fossil hunting in some of the area's limestone quarries, and museums display the fossils found in the valley - over 800 species in total. Perhaps the most important find to date is the Archaeopteryx, nine of which were found in the valley. The small reptile-like bird might provide the link between dinosaurs and birds. The search is under way for the tenth Archaeopteryx, and budding paleontologists will find plenty of treasure to fascinate them around Roth Lake.
With its beautiful water, charming countryside and ample public recreation opportunities, Rothsee is the perfect place for a weekend family getaway. Add the rich history of the Altmuhl Valley and the fascinating fossils of Altmuhltal Nature Park, and Rothsee becomes an extraordinary destination for anyone who wants to experience all that Bavaria has to offer.
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