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Stralsund

By 1914 the fortifications along the coast of Prussia (Memel, Pillau, Neufahrwasser), and the coast of Pomerania (Swinemunde, Stralsund, Rugen), were not subordinate to the navy, but to the foot artillery of the army.

Stralsund, with 31,800 inhab., lies on the Strelasund, a strait 2 miles wide, which separates Eugen from the mainland and washes the small fortified island of Dänholm. The town is entirely surrounded ?? water, being connected with the mainland by three moles only. The lofty gabled houses, the towers, and the Gothic churches of brick resemble those of Rostock and Lübeck. The old fortifications had been removed or converted into promenades.

Stralsund was founded about 1209, and soon attained to such prosperity that in the lath cent, it was second in importance, among the Hanseatic towns on the Baltic, to Lübeck alone. The citizens adopted the reformed faith at an early, period, and were therefore on the side of Sweden during the Thirty Years' War. In 1628, aided by Danish and Swedish vessels, they gallantly defended their town against Wallenstein, who had sworn to take it, 'though it had been chained to heaven', but was compelled to abandon the siege after losing 12,000 men. From the Peace of Westphalia in 1648 until 1815, when it became Prussian, the town, belonged to Sweden.

In 1809, when the war between France and Austria broke out, Major Ferdinand von Schill, a distinguished Prussian officer of hussars, quitted Berlin with his regiment without the knowledge of the king, with a view to effect a patriotic rising against the French in N. Germany. His noble effort met with little response, and he and his corps were eventually driven back to Stralsund. The town was taken by storm, and after a heroic defence Schill and most of his corps were killed in the streets. The spot where Schill fell is indicated by an inscription in the pavement of the Fahr-Strasse. His grave is in the N.E. angle of the St. Jürgen Cemetery.

Rügen

Rugen, an island of Germany, in the Baltic, immediately opposite Stralsund, 1-1/2 miles off the north-west coast of Pomerania in Prussia, from which it is separated by the narrow Strelasund, or Bodden. Its shape is exceedingly irregular, and its coastline is broken by numerous bays and peninsulas, sometimes of considerable size. The general name was applied by the natives only to the roughly triangular main trunk of the island, while the larger peninsulas, the landward extremities of which taper to narrow necks of land, were considered to be as distinct from Rügen as the various adjacent smaller islands which were also included for statistical purposes under the name. The chief peninsulas are those of Jasmund and Wittow on the north, and Mönchgut, at one time the property of the monastery of Eldena, on the south-east; and the chief neighboring islands are Ummanz and Hiddensce, both off the north-west coast.

Rügen was the largest island in Imperial Germany. Its greatest length from N. to S. is 32 miles; its greatest breadth is 25 miles; and its area is 377 square miles The surface gradually rises towards the west to Rugard (335 ft.) - the "eye of Rügen" - near Bergen, but the highest point is the Hertaburg (505 ft.) in Jasmund. Erratic blocks are scattered throughout the island, and the roads are made with granite. Though much of Rügen is flat and sandy, the fine beech woods which cover a great part of ¡t, and the bold northern coast scenery combine with the convenient sea-bathing offered by the various villages around the coast to attract large numbers of visitors.

The most beautiful and attractive part of the island is the peninsula of Jasmund, which terminates to the north in the Stubbenkammer (Slavonic for "rock steps"), a sheer chalk cliff, the summit of which, the Königsstuhl, is 420 ft. above the sea. The east of Jasmund Is clothed with an extensive beech wood called the Stubbenitz, in which lies the Borg, or Herta Lake. Connected with Jasmund by the narrow isthmus of Schabe to the west is the peninsula of Wittow, the most fertile part of the island. At its north-west extremity rises the height of Arpona, with a lighthouse.

A ferry connected the island with Stralsund, and from the landing-stage at Altefähr a railway traversed the island, passing the capital Bergen to Sassnitz, on the north-east coast. Hence a regular steamboat service connected with Trelleborg in Sweden, thus affording direct communication between Berlin and Slockholm. The other chief places were Garz, Sagard, Gingst and Putbus, the last being the old capital of ? ?ar?n? of the princes of Putbus, Sassnitz, Guhrcn, Sellin and Lauterbach-Putbus. Schoritz was the birthplace of the patriot and poet, Ernst Moritz Arndt. Ecclesiastically Rügen is divided into 75 parishes, in which the pastoral succession was said in the late 19th Century to he almost hereditary.

The inhabitants were distinguished from those of the mainland by peculiarities of dialect, costume and habits; and even the various peninsulas differ from each other in these particulars. The peninsula of Mönchgut had best preserved its peculiarities, but there, too, primitive simplicity was yielding to the influence of the annual stream of summer visitors. The inhabitant raised some cattle, and Rügen had long been famous for its geese; but the only really considerable industry was fishing - the herring-fishery being especially important. Rügen, with the neighboring islands, formed a governmental department, with a population (1905) of 47,023.

The original Germanic inhabitants of Rügen were dispossessd by Slavs; and there were still various relics of the long reign of pagans that ensued. In the Stubbenitz and elsewhere Huns' or giants' graves were common; and near the Hertha Lake were the ruins of an ancient edifice which some have sought to identify with the the heathen deity Hertha or Nerthus, referred to by Terina. On Arcona in Wittow were the remains of an ancient fortress, enclosing a temple which was destroyed in 1168 by the Danish King Waldemar I when he made himself master of the island. Rügen was ruled by a succession of native princes, under Danish supremacy, until 1218. After being for a century and a half in the possession of a branch of the ruling family in Pomerania, it was finally united with that duchy in 1478, and passed with it into the possession of Sweden in 1648. With the rest of Western Pomerania Rugen belonged to Prussia since 1815.




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Page last modified: 11-07-2011 02:54:47 ZULU