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Constance is situated in south-west Germany in the state of Baden Württemberg and shares its border with the Swiss town of Kreuzlingen. It lies on the shores of the River Rhine and Lake Constance, central Europe’s second largest lake, where the borders of Austria, Germany and Switzerland converge. Constance is the economic and cultural centre of the Lake Constance region. It is an attractive business location (light industry, commerce, high technology), one of Germany’s most popular holiday destinations and a lively university town. With its beautiful location, its model infrastructure and its diverse range of cultural and recreational facilities, the town offers its 86,000 inhabitants a high quality of life.
The town has a long and rich historical tradition. First settlements were erected in Constance Bay in 2000 BC and the town was given its name Constantia by the Romans in the 4th century AD. Constance has a well-preserved medieval town and numerous historical buildings from the Romanesque, Gothic and Baroque periods. The “Council” building was the venue for the only legitimate papal election north of the Alps, of Pope Martin V in 1417. The building has been used for concerts and other events since the beginning of the 20th century. The town has an attractive shopping centre with a shopping mall “Lago”, chain stores and small specialist shops. There is an array of cafés, restaurants, ice cream parlours, pubs and wine bars. Constance is the home of the oldest running theatre in Germany and of the famous Southwest German Philharmonic Orchestra. There are several museums, art galleries, as well as cultural establishments offering a broad spectrum of events: art and documentary exhibitions, concerts in all music genres, theatre and cabaret, lectures, workshops, readings, performances and parties. The town also has various cinemas, clubs and a casino.
A wide range of festivals and events takes place in Constance throughout the year. These include the Alemannic Street Carnival in February/March and the International Lake Constance Week in May, which awaits its visitors with colourful harbour activities, action-packed water shows, a water sports and boat exhibition, as well as fascinating sailing regattas and rowing competitions. In July the Wine Festival is celebrated. A particular highlight in August is the “Seenachtsfest“ (Lake Night Festival), a diverse programme of entertainment between Constance and Kreuzlingen culminating in a spectacular firework display on the lake. In September/October the “Oktoberfest” is celebrated, offering beer tents, sweet and savoury treats, fairground rides and other activities. In October/November the Constance Autumn Jazz Festival takes place and the year ends with the magical, traditional Christmas market and various New Year’s Eve events.
Constance is the perfect location for all kinds of outdoor leisure activities. The region has an excellent network of routes for walking, cycling and inline skating tours. The beaches are a major summer attraction for relaxing in the sun and swimming in the lake or the Rhine. The lake offers various water sports such as sailing, canoeing and diving, and the nearby Alps provide winter and summertime enjoyment for skiers, snowboarders, walkers and climbers.
Constance is also an ideal starting point for excursions to the many attractions in Germany, Switzerland, Austria, France and Liechtenstein. On the town’s doorstep is the famous flower Island of Mainau and the Island of Reichenau, a UNESCO world heritage site. Boat trips can be taken to beautiful towns around the lake, such as Meersburg, Überlingen and Lindau. The lakeside town of Friedrichshafen is home of the Zeppelin airships and the Austrian town of Bregenz is renowned for its summer festival, with spectacular opera and musical performances on a floating stage in the lake. A boat trip along one of the most beautiful parts of the Rhine takes you to the magnificent Rhine Falls at the Swiss town of Schaffhausen. Major cities such as Zurich, Basel, Strasbourg, Stuttgart, Munich and Milan are easily reachable from Constance.