When the glaciers melted 10,000 to 15,000 years ago, Brandenburg's Schorfheide was left behind with a richly segmented terrain that could be used as a textbook for the Ice Age.

The sparsely populated land, vast forests juxtaposed with open countryside and countless bodies of water provide habitats for rare flora and fauna. Beavers, otters and 16 of the 22 species of bat found in Germany live in the Schorfheide-Chorin Biosphere Reserve along with white-tailed and lesser-spotted eagles, ospreys, black storks and cranes. Plus, white storks can be spotted in almost every village in the local area. The countryside has also been shaped by centuries of human cultivation. The fortified enclosures of former places of worship, stately homes and forest villages with half-timbered houses delight visitors just as much as Chorin Abbey, a landmark of the Brick Gothic style.

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