The Free State of Thuringia – German: Freistaat Thüringen – is a state of Germany, located in the central part of the country. It has an area of 16,171 square kilometres (6,244 sq mi) and 2.29 million inhabitants, making it the sixth smallest by area and the fifth smallest by population of Germany’s sixteen states. Its capital is Erfurt. Thuringia has been known by the nickname of “the green heart of Germany” (das grüne Herz Deutschlands) from the late 19th century, due to the dense forest that covers the terrain. Thuringia is well known in Germany for nature and winter sports. It is home to the Rennsteig, Germany’s most famous hiking trail, and the winter resort of Oberhof. In the last two Winter Olympics, half the gold medals taken by medal table leader Germany were by Thuringia athletes.