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Germany's Upper Spreewald: Under the spell of one of Germany's most unexpectedly charming regions

If you imagine what Amsterdam or Venice may have looked like 500 years ago, replacing carnival masks and wooden clogs with large head dresses and pickles, you’d be somewhere on your way to understanding Germany’s Spreewald.

Just an hour from Berlin, this flat rural region is a UNESCO Biosphere Reserve known for its miles of small waterways and flat-bottomed boats that have enchanted mostly German travelers for over a century. It’s also the last outpost of two Slavic groups, the Sorbs and Wends, whose traditions still linger on for visitors, though the language has nearly died out apart from the bilingual signs for the towns. 


Burg, orBórkowy in Sorbian, is one of the principal towns with historic architecture and a laid-back feel. It's oldest part, Burg-Dorf, dates back to 1315, while Burg-Kolonie and Burg-Kauper were originally more spread out settlements. There's a small, but incredibly resourceful Heimat Museum (Am Hafen 1, 03096 Burg) that provides insig…

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