SEVENSEAS Marine Conservation & Travel Issue 14, July 2016 - Page 91

The National Park Center Königsstuhl supports the beech-forest National Park “Jasmund” at the German Baltic Sea coast of the island of Rügen. It is a world leading example of a self-sustaining visitor and education center, where tourists finance themselves to become inspired supporters of national parks.

The Jasmund National Park is located on Rügen Island in Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Germany. It is famous for the great chalk cliffs, which form the coast line for 12 km at more than a hundred metres above sea level. The white cliffs stand out from the blue of the Baltic Sea and are framed by the green of the ancient beech forests. Travelers coming from Sweden to Germany are welcomed by this scenery of Jasmund’s coast as first impression of Central Europe.

The most significant chalk rock is the so-called Königsstuhl (German = “king’s chair”) with an altitude of 117 metres above sea level. The chalk cliff coast of Rügen is like a cradle of tourism in Germany. At the end of 18th century, painters discovered the exceptional natural beauty, and they were followed by writers, scientists and royals. So it became a tourist destination more than 200 years ago. It is also an area with a history in nature conservation, having been protected since 1929 as a nature reserve.

Behind the cliffs, the beech forests, springs, streams and mires are also part of the national park, as well as a 500 metre strip of the Baltic Sea. Consisting of only 31 km², this is the smallest national park in Germany. The old nature reserve was enlarged and designated as a national park in 1990, under the East-German National Park Programme a few days before the German reunification.

On 25 June 2011, the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany were inscribed as an extension of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians to the UNESCO World Heritage List. Nearly 500 ha of the Jasmund National Park are included as a component part in the trilateral serial property of the Primeval Beech Forests of the Carpathians and the Ancient Beech Forests of Germany.