The Isle of Usedom is one of Germany’s sunniest, most beautiful islands in the Baltic Sea. It was first named “Uznoimia civitas” by the missionary Bishop Otto von Bamberg in 1125, after a village of the same name in the southwest of the island. There have been various attempts to explain the meaning of “Uznoimia”. It might well be based on the Slavic word “znoj” for river, or “bathed in water”. The name “Uznoimia” changed over the years until it became “Usedum” in 1420.
History of the Isle of Usedom
Mecklenburg-West Pomerania, which is known for its abundance of water, is Germany’s most northeastern state and also one of its most popular holiday destinations. It borders the states of Schleswig-Holstein and Lower Saxony to the west, the state of Brandenburg to the south, and Poland to the east. Its entire north is bounded by the Baltic Sea. The islands of Usedom and Rugia lie in the northeastern part of Mecklenburg-West Pomerania.
Settled since the Stone Age, Usedom was taken over by the Slavs around the sixth century. In the tenth century, they built a fortress named Urbs Osna, which the Danes destroyed in 1119. German immigrants began to settle on Usedom in the 13th century, and it became part of the German cultural sphere as residence of the Pomeranian dukes. Over the centuries, numerous hamlets and fishing villages arose, only to be ravaged in armed conflicts with the Swedes. During the Great Northern War / (1700-1721), the island passed to Prussia in 1713 and thus became part of Germany. The eastern part went to Poland after World War II.
In the 19th century tourism gradually evolved on Usedom because of its proximity to Berlin. The inventions of rail transport and the automobile allowed more and more people to discover the beauty of this sunny island. Indeed, it became one of the most attractive holiday resorts of those days. In the early 1930’s Usedom’s remote location and ideal weather conditions led to construction of a rocket test site in Peenemünde, which comprises the western side. Later, the Nazis (the “Third Reich”) used it to develop rockets for military purposes. It was here that Wernher von Braun and his engineers built the world’s first large rocket, which could achieve altitudes of some 175 km before returning to earth. Thus Peenemünde is also called the cradle of space flight. Rocket technology At that time, German aeronautical technology was said to be ten years ahead the general state of technology. These technological achievements were, however, soon deployed for military purposes. V-2 rockets (the world’s first long-range ballistic missile) were launched by the German Wehrmacht against Allied targets and their civilian population during the Second World War. The internationally renowned exhibition of the Peenemünde Historical Technical Museum bears witness to the outstanding technical expertise of the first rocket pioneers and the horrifying use of technological inventions.
Tourism in Usedom
Nowadays, Usedom is a famous holiday resort. From Peenemünde as far as to the “Kaiserbäder” (Imperial spas) Bansin, Heringsdorf and Ahlbeck, the island lives for tourism only. Numerous hotels and guest houses of the Baltic seaside resorts provide all amenities for their guests. Little bed and breakfast inns offer cosy and comfortable accommodation at idyllic sites all the year round.
Your are not up-to-date if you think of Usedom only in terms of holiday rentals, Baltic Sea beaches and unspoiled nature. In the last few years, the island has become popular for its attractive and varied cultural life. Especially in summer, Usedom has plenty of events on offer: Outdoor concerts at different places, theatre performances, international fashion events, sport events or various museum exhibitions. The famous spa style hotels dating back to the days of the German emperor, the pier in Ahlbeck, Europe’s largest butterfly farm in Trassenheide, the diving bell at the Zinnowitz pier, and the museums in Peenemünde are well known beyond the country’s borders. Every year, they attract thousands of visitors.
source: Usedom Information