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Kiel, the capital and most populous city

Kiel is the capital of Schleswig-Holstein. Schleswig-Holstein is located in West Germany. Kiel is located at the head of Kieler Frde which is an inlet of the Baltic Sea. During World War II three-fourths of the city was destroyed by bombs. Kiel was a major naval base during the war. Kiel’s major industries now are shipbuilding and also building machines such as the diesel engine. They also manufacture electric and electronic products. Kiel also is known for brewing and the proccessing of food, such as fish.

The medievel Church of St. Nicholas overlooks the Old Market which still survives from Old Town. It was built between1233-1244. The Old Market has been rebuilt in modern style and is used as a center for a network of shopping streets. There are no cars allowed in this area. A modern Cultural Center has replaced the castle that used to guard Old Town. The western shore of the Frde is where the Kiel’s famous Oceanographic Institute and the State Parliament are locacted. The Kieler Frde is the best natural harbor on the Baltic. That is why it has been the principal base for the German Navy. In 1866 Kiel became part of Prussia.

Kiel saw a rapid growth in population between 1866 and 1914. While the Nazi’s were in control Hitler built up the Navy in Kiel. Kiel’s economy got away from its large concern with the Navy and shipbuilding after the war. Kiel is the place that all German yachtsmen dream of. Kiel also has a nice sized university. The school offers a large array of subjects and was founded in 1665. Many of the students like to sail in there spare time. Kiel is also the home to one of Germany’s largest indoor shopping centers. Kiel is also a popular place for Olympic sailing competitions.

In 1994 the population of Kiel was 248,930. Kiel is the most economically important city in Schleswig-Holtstein, as well as the largest. Kiel was founded in 1242 and then in 1284 joined the Hanseatic League. Kiel aslo became the home of the dukes of Holstein. Kiel was passed to Denmark in 1866. The sailors mutiny that started at the end of World War I started the socialist revolution in Germany. Kiel is the home of many museums, such as the oldest art gallery and Botanic Gardens in Germany. The sailing and yachting events of the 1972 summer Olympics were held in Kiel.

Kiel holds an annual Kieler Woche in June and it is a large cultural festival. The Kiel Canal is a shortcut for the many ships going between the North Sea and the Baltic Sea. It was at one time called the Kaiser Wilhelm Canal. The officail German name of the canal is the Nord-Ostsee-Kanal. The canal shortens the trip around Denmark by approximetly 300 miles. The German government started building the canal in 1887 and comleted it in 1895, and it has been inlarged since then. Then canal is 36 feet deep 61. 3 miles long and ranges in width between 336 feet and 531 feet.

The canal was also damaged by the bombs that hit the area during World War II. It is said that the Kiel Canal is used by more ships than any other maritime waterway. The canal is spanned by 7 high level bridges. Due to the great military and commercial importance of the canal it was internationalized in the Treaty of Versailles. The direct administration of the canal however was left with the Germans. Schleswig-Holstein is a state of Germany and is located in the northwest part of the country. The state has a population of 2,595,000 as of 1994 and has an area of 6050 square miles.

Besides Kiel some of the other major cities are Lbeck, Flensburg, and Neumnster. The Eider River forms a historic border between Schleswig, which is in the north, and Holstein, which is in the south. Schleswig-Holstein has a good economy. It has good natural harbors and is a low-lying region. The state also has good fertile agricultural land except for in the center. Farming and cattle raising are popular on these lands. Agriculture is only 1/10 of the states output. The state also has some oil fields. Some popular tourist resorts are the southern Baltic Coast, and the the islands of Sylt and Fohr.

There are historic centers located in Eutin, Lbeck, and Schleswig. The Kiel Canal was not the first canal in the area between the North and Baltic Sea. King Christian VII of Denmark built what was called the Eiderkanal. The Eiderkanal was only 43kilometer long. It was part of a 175km long waterway Kiel to mouth of the Eider at Tonnig. The Eiderkanal was completed in 1784. The canal was very narrow, only 29m wide at the surface. The water was only 3 meters deep, but it could be used by vessels that were up to 300 tons. It was considered an important shipping route.

There were many plans to widen the Eiderkanal but many decades went be without and improvements. Emperor Wilhelm started laying the foundation on June 3rd 1887. It took eight years to build, with a total of about 8,900 workers during that time. They struggled with trying to get the water deep enough. The Kiel Canal was officaily opened June 20, 1895. The Hohenzollern was the first yacht to use the canal. On board that ship was Emperor Wilhelm II. The yacht was followed by 24 ships. Fourteen of the ships were from other seabearing countries.

Almost all of them were naval vessels. The traffic was starting to increase and so between 1907 and 1914 the canal’s cross-section would be greatly increased. It was completed with to large locks in Brunsbuttel and Holtenau. Before the world wars the canal was a political issue. Since the Second World War it has been open to all traffic. The 100th anniversary of the canal was celebrated on June 20, 1995. The celebration was in a way like the opening celebration with a large yacht leading ships from other nations. The canal was widened and dreged in 1965.

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