All about Bavaria
Bavaria is the largest German state located southeast of the country, with a total land area of 70,548 square kilometers or 27,200 square miles. It forms almost one fifth of the total area of Germany, and is also the second most populated state of the country, with around 12.5 million people. Bavaria"s capital is Munich, and is considered as one of the oldest states in all of Europe. Back in the mid first millennium, it was recognized as a duchy or a dukedom in Germany. When the Duke of Bavaria became the Prince-elector of the Holy Roman Empire, it was elevated from a duchy to a formal kingdom, the Kingdom of Bavaria. This lasted for more than a century, and since then, Bavaria has been recognized as a free state.
Bavaria shares its international borders with countries like Austria and the Czech Republic, and even with Switzerland, just across Lake Constance. Its neighboring states include Baden-Wurttemberg, Hesse, Thuringia, and Saxony. One of most recognizable border definitions of Bavaria is the Bavarian Alps, separating the region from Austria. Also within range is the highest peak of Germany, the Zugspitze. Bavaria is separated from the Czech Republic and Bohemia by the Bavarian Forest and the Bohemian Forest.
Bavaria is known for its multi-party system. The biggest parties are the Christian Social Union of Bavaria, and the Social Democratic Part of Germany. The conservative Christian Social Union of Bavaria or CSU has dominated the politics since 1945, and they"ve won every election since then. Bavaria also has a state parliament that"s elected by universal suffrage. This was a fairly new system, because until December 1999, there was a Senate whose members were chosen by the different social and economic groups in Bavaria. The head of the government is the Minister President.
In terms of economy, Bavaria is considered to have one of the largest and healthiest economies in any region of Germany or even Europe. In 2007, the Gross Domestic Product or GDP of Bavaria greatly exceeded 434 billion Euros, or around 600 billion US dollars. Just from this alone, Bavaria is already one of the largest economies in all of Europe, and just 17 countries in the world surpassed that GDP. The companies that carried Bavarian economy"s success were mostly motorcycle and automobile companies, as well as consumer electronics companies. These well-known brands include BMW, Audi, Allianz, Grundig, Siemens, Adidas, and Puma, among others.