Moulded by man

Nearly 100 kilometres south-east of Berlin there is a landscape unique in central Europe. As a result of the last iceage, about 20.000 years ago, the ri¬ver Spree became divided into a finely dissected network of streams. A large inland delta was formed. Today the streams flow through a mea¬dow landscape moulded by human beings for hundred of years and offering a bounty of plant and ani¬mal life. Many, which have either already died out elsewhere, are still be found in the Spreewald biosphere reserve, but are still endangered.

This unique cultural landscape was proclaimed a nature reserve in 1990 and received UNESCO recognition as a biosphere reserve in March 1991. With that, the roughly 474 square kilometre Spreewald biosphere reserve finds itself today part of a network of 350 extensive conservation areas world-wide. In the populated areas of the Spreewald live about 50.000 people in 37 villa¬ges and 2 towns. Lübbenau, with its large punting harbour, is considered to be the capital of the Spreewald.