The Online Encyclopedia and Dictionary







Map of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania highlighting the district Rügen

Rügen (Polish Rugia) is the largest German island. It is situated off the coast of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania in the Baltic Sea. Its area is 935 km² and its population was 73,000 in 2001. Together with the neighboring smaller islands Rügen Hiddensee and Ummanz it is administrated as the district Rügen.


Rügen is mainly accessible by a bridge connecting the island with the city of Stralsund on the mainland. There are also ferry connections from Stralsund, Greifswald and Wolgast . The island has some crowded tourist resorts along the eastern coast as well as quiet and lonely places in the west. There are three nature reserves extending at least partially on the island:

  • Vorpommern Lagoon Area National Park (Vorpommersche Boddenlandschaft); the west coast of Rügen and the island of Hiddensee are parts of this large national park.
  • Jasmund National Park; a small park including the famous chalk cliffs (Königsstuhl).
  • Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve ; a nature reserve consisting of the peninsulas in the southeast.


Rügen was populated since about 4000 BC. It was later settled by the Germanic tribe Rugians who gave their name to the island. In the 7th century Slavic peoples came to settle the place. Many traces of their life can be found today. Rügen became a Slavic principality with the political and religious centre in the fortified temple of Świętowit at Cape Arkona, the northernmost point of Rügen. In 1168 the place was destroyed by Danish invaders. The now weakened principality became receptive to Christianisation. A monarchy was established in Rügen under Danish influence.

  • 1162-1170 Tezlaw
  • 1170-1217 Jaromar I
  • 1218-1249 Wislaw I
  • 1249-1260 Jaromar II
  • 1260-1302 Wislaw II
  • 1303-1325 Wislaw III

1325 In 1325, Rügen was conquered by the Dukes of Pomerania, which established their own principality.

  • 1325-1326 Warcislaw IV
  • 1326-1368 Boguslaw V, Warcislaw V, Barnim IV
  • 1368-1372 Warcislaw VI, Boguslaw VI
  • 1372-1394 Warcislaw VI
  • 1394-1415 Warcislaw VIII
  • 1415-1432 Swietobor II
  • 1432-1451 Barnim VIII
  • 1451-1457 Warcislaw IX
  • 1457-1478 Warcislaw X

Rügen was a part of Swedish Pomerania from 1648 to 1815; afterwards it became a part of Prussia. In 1816 the first bathing resort was founded (Putbus). Later more resorts were established, and Rügen remained the most famous holiday resort of Germany until World War II.

In 1936 the bridge connecting Rügen with the mainland was constructed. The Nazis added a resort of outstanding ugliness: Prora, planned by the Kraft durch Freude ("Strength through joy") organisation, which aimed to occupy people's free time. However, Prora was never completed.

Rügen regained its status as a holiday island after the German reunification; now it has surpassed Sylt as the most popular German island again.

See also

The contents of this article are licensed from under the GNU Free Documentation License. How to see transparent copy