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Reichenau is an island rich in vegetation, but unlike Mainau, it features vegetables, not flowers. In fact, 15% of its area (the island is 5 km [3 mi] long and 1½ km wide) is covered by greenhouses and crops of one kind or another. Though it seems unlikely amid the cabbage, cauliflower, lettuce, and potatoes, Reichenau has three of Europe's most beautiful Romanesque churches. This legacy of Reichenau's past as a monastic center in the early Middle Ages, and its warm microclimate, have earned the island a place on UNESCO's World and Nature Heritage list. Connected to the Bodanrück Peninsula by just a narrow causeway, Reichenau was secure from marauding tribesmen on its fertile island, and the monastic community blossomed from the 8th through the 12th century. Reichenau developed into a major center of learning and the arts. The churches are in each of the island's villages—Oberzell, Mittelzell, and Niederzell, which are separated by only 1 km (½ mi). Along the shore are pleasant pathways for walking or biking.
Reichenau at a Glance
Elsewhere in The Bodensee
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