Usedom is a Baltic Sea island on the border between Germany and Poland. It is situated north of the Szczecin Lagoon /Stettiner Haff estuary of the River Oder in Pomerania. Most of the island belongs to the German district of Ostvorpommern in the Federal State of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, with the exception of the eastern part and the city of ?winouj?cie/Swinemünde which is in PolishWest Pomeranian Voivodeship. Its area is 445 km² (the German part 373 km²; the Polish part 72 km²).
The island is separated to the east from the neighbouring island of Wolin by the ?wina (German: Swine) strait (or river), which is the main route connecting Szczecin Bay with the Pomeranian Bay, a part of the Baltic Sea. The strait between the island and the mainland is called Peenestrom; it is an underwater extension of the valley of the Peene river, which flows into the westernmost part of Szczecin Bay. The island is mostly plain, partly covered by marshes. The main town on the island is ?winouj?cie, which has more inhabitants than the rest of the island. Another town, giving its name to the island, is called Usedom. The largest municipality in the German part is Heringsdorf (from 2005 to 2006 called Dreikaiserbäder (which means “Three Emperors’ Baths”). There are many popular tourist resorts on the northern coast, including the three Dreikaiserbäder cities of Ahlbeck, Heringsdorf and Bansin, as well as ?winouj?cie andZinnowitz. Economic activities include agriculture, fishing, animal husbandry, food processing and timber production.
The Isle of Usedom is one of Germany’s major holiday and recreation areas due to its beaches, its natural beauty and a number of elegant seaside towns such as Zinnowitz and Heringsdorf, which have been frequented by the German and international nobility as well as the general public. Many hotels and bed and breakfast establishments are available on both sides of the German-Polish border. In addition to the coastline, the hinterland features nature reserves, castles, lakes and historic villages.
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