Rügen (; also lat. Rugia, Ruegen or Rugia Island) is Germany's largest island by area. It is located off the Pomeranian coast in the Baltic Sea and belongs to the state of Mecklenburg-Western Pomerania.
The "gateway" to Rügen island is the Hanseatic city of Stralsund, where it is linked to the mainland by road and railway via the Rügen Bridge and Causeway, two routes crossing the two-kilometre-wide Strelasund, a sound of the Baltic Sea.
Rügen has a maximum length of 51.4 km (from north to south), a maximum width of 42.8 km in the south and an area of 926 km². The coast is characterized by numerous sandy beaches, lagoons ( Bodden) and open bays (Wieke), as well as projecting peninsulas and headlands. In June 2011, UNESCO awarded the status of a World Heritage Site to the Jasmund National Park, famous for its vast stands of beeches and chalk cliffs like King's Chair, the main landmark of Rügen island.
The island of Rügen is part of the district of Vorpommern-Rügen, with its county seat in Stralsund. The towns on Rügen are: Bergen, Sassnitz, Putbus and Garz. In addition, there are the Baltic seaside resorts of Binz, Baabe, Göhren, Sellin and Thiessow.
Rügen is very popular as a tourist destination because of its resort architecture, the diverse landscape and its long, sandy beaches.
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Rügen was a Kreis (district) in the northeastern part of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. The district of Rügen was created in 1806 by the Swedish administration of Swedish Pomerania. At first it was named Amt Bergen, in 1810 it was renamed to Kreis Bergen. On 4 September 2011, Rügen was merged to Vorpommern-Rügen.
The district was bordered entirely by the Baltic Sea. The nearest districts were Nordvorpommern and the district-free city Stralsund. The district covered the islands Rügen and Hiddensee, and several small islands like Ummanz and Vilm. It was thus the only district of Germany which consists solely of islands.
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