This article is a general introduction to French literature. For detailed information on French literature in specific historic periods, see the separate historical articles in the template to the right. French literature is speaking, literature written in the French language by citizens of France. Literature written in French language, by citizens of other nations such as Belgium, Canada, Algeria, etc. is referred to as Francophone literature. France itself ranks first in the list of Nobel Prizes in literature by country. French literature has been for French people an object of national pride for centuries, it has been one of the most influential components of the literature of Europe; the French language is a Romance language derived from Latin and influenced principally by Celtic and Frankish. Beginning in the 11th century, literature written in medieval French was one of the oldest vernacular literatures in western Europe and it became a key source of literary themes in the Middle Ages across the continent.
Although the European prominence of French literature was eclipsed in part by vernacular literature in Italy in the 14th century, literature in France in the 16th century underwent a major creative evolution, through the political and artistic programs of the Ancien Régime, French literature came to dominate European letters in the 17th century. In the 18th century, French became the literary lingua franca and diplomatic language of western Europe, French letters have had a profound impact on all European and American literary traditions while at the same time being influenced by these other national traditions Africa, the far East have brought the French language to non-European cultures that are transforming and adding to the French literary experience today. Under the aristocratic ideals of the Ancien Régime, the nationalist spirit of post-revolutionary France, the mass educational ideals of the Third Republic and modern France, the French have come to have a profound cultural attachment to their literary heritage.
Today, French schools emphasize the study of novels and poetry. The literary arts are sponsored by the state and literary prizes are major news; the Académie française and the Institut de France are important linguistic and artistic institutions in France, French television features shows on writers and poets. Literature matters to the people of France and plays an important role in their sense of identity; as of 2006, French literary people have been awarded more Nobel Prizes in Literature than novelists and essayists of any other country. In 1964 Jean-Paul Sartre was awarded the Nobel Prize in Literature, but he declined it, stating that "It is not the same thing if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre or if I sign Jean-Paul Sartre, Nobel Prize winner. A writer must refuse to allow himself to be transformed into an institution if it takes place in the most honorable form." For most of the 20th century, French authors had more Literature Nobel Prizes than those of any other nation. The following French or French language authors have won a Nobel Prize in Literature: 1901 – Sully Prudhomme 1904 – Frédéric Mistral 1911 – Maurice Maeterlinck 1915 – Romain Rolland 1921 – Anatole France 1927 – Henri Bergson 1937 – Roger Martin du Gard 1947 – André Gide 1952 – François Mauriac 1957 – Albert Camus 1960 – Saint-John Perse 1964 – Jean-Paul Sartre 1969 – Samuel Beckett 1985 – Claude Simon 2000 – Gao Xingjian 2008 – J. M. G.
Le Clézio 2014 – Patrick Modiano Grand Prix de Littérature Policière – created in 1948, for crime and detective fiction. Grand Prix du roman de l'Académie française – created 1918. Prix Décembre – created in 1989. Prix Femina – created 1904, decided each year by an female jury, although the authors of the winning works do not have to be women. Prix Goncourt – created 1903, given to the author of "the best and most imaginative prose work of the year". Prix Goncourt des Lycéens – created in 1987. Prix Littéraire Valery Larbaud – created in 1957. Prix Médicis – created 1958, awarded to an author whose "fame does not yet match their talent." Prix Renaudot – created in 1926. Prix Tour-Apollo Award – 1972–1990, given to the best science fiction novel published in French during the preceding year. Prix des Deux Magots – created in 1933. Middle Ages anonymous – La Chanson de Roland Chrétien de Troyes – Yvain ou le Chevalier au Lion, Lancelot, ou le Chevalier à la charrette various – Tristan et Iseult anonymous – Lancelot-Graal known as the prose Lancelot or the Vulgate Cycle Guillaume de Lorris and Jean de Meung – Roman de la Rose Christine de Pizan – "The Book of the City of Ladies" 16th century François Rabelais – La vie de Gargantua et de Pantagruel 17th century Honoré d'Urfé – L'Astrée Madame de Lafayette – La Princesse de Clèves 18th century Abbé Prévost – Manon Lescaut Voltaire – Candide, Zadig ou la Destinée Jean-Jacques Rousseau – Julie, ou la nouvelle Héloïse Denis Diderot – Jacques le fataliste (Jacques the Fata
A château is a manor house or residence of the lord of the manor or a country house of nobility or gentry, with or without fortifications, originally—and still most frequently—in French-speaking regions. The word "chateau" is a French word that has entered the English language, where its meaning is more specific than it is in French; the French word "chateau" denotes buildings as diverse as a medieval fortress, a Renaissance palace and a 19th-century country house. Care should therefore be taken when translating the French word château into English, noting the nature of the building in question. Most French châteaux are "palaces" or "country houses" and not "castles", for these the English word "chateau" is appropriate. Sometimes the word "palace" is more appropriate. To give an outstanding example, the Château de Versailles is so called because it was located in the countryside when it was built, but it does not bear any resemblance to a castle, so it is known in English as the Palace of Versailles.
In French where clarification is needed, the term château fort is used to describe a castle, such as Château fort de Roquetaillade. The urban counterpart of château is palais, which in French is applied only to grand houses in a city; this usage is again different from that of the term "palace" in English, where there is no requirement that a palace must be in a city, but the word is used for buildings other than the grandest royal residences. The expression hôtel particulier is used for an urban "private house" of a grand sort. A château is a "power house", as Sir John Summerson dubbed the British and Irish "stately homes" that are the British Isles' architectural counterparts to French châteaux, it is the personal badge of a family that, with some official rank, locally represents the royal authority. However, the quality of the residences could vary from royal châteaux owned by royalty and the wealthy elite near larger towns to run-down châteaux vacated by poor nobility and officials in the countryside isolated and vulnerable.
A château was supported by its terres, composing a demesne that rendered the society of the château self-sufficient, in the manner of the historic Roman and Early Medieval villa system. The open villas of Rome in the times of Pliny the Elder and Emperor Tiberius began to be walled-in, fortified in the 3rd century AD, thus evolving to castellar "châteaux". In modern usage, a château retains some enclosures that are distant descendants of these fortifying outworks: a fenced, closeable forecourt a gatehouse or a keeper's lodge, supporting outbuildings. Besides the cour d'honneur entrance, the château might have an inner cour, inside, in the private residence, the château faces a and discreetly enclosed park. In the city of Paris, the Louvre and the Luxembourg represented the original château but lost their château etymology, becoming "palaces" when the City enclosed them. In the U. S. the word château took root selectively, in the Gilded Age resort town of Newport, Rhode Island, the châteaux were called "cottages", north of Wilmington, Delaware, in the rich, rural "Château Country" centred upon the powerful Du Pont family, château is used with its original definition.
In Canada in English, château denotes a hotel, not a house, applies only to the largest, most elaborate railway hotels built in the Canadian Railroad golden age, such as the Château Lake Louise, in Lake Louise, the Château Laurier, in Ottawa, the Château Montebello, in Montebello and the most famous Château Frontenac, in Quebec City. Moreover, in other French-speaking European regions, such as Wallonia, the word Château is used with the same definition. In Belgium, a strong French architectural influence is evident in the seventeenth-century Château des Comtes de Marchin and the eighteenth-century Château de Seneffe. There are many estates with true châteaux on them in Bordeaux, but it is customary for any wine-producing estate, no matter how humble, to prefix its name with "Château". If there were any trace of doubt that the Roman villas of Aquitaine evolved into fortified self-contained châteaux, the wine-producing châteaux would dispel it. On the other hand, there are many striking châteaux in the Bordeaux region still depicting this Roman villa style of architecture, an example of this being Château Lagorce in Haux.
The Loire Valley is home to more than 300 châteaux. They were built between the 10th and 20th centuries, firstly by the French kings followed soon thereafter by the nobility. Alternatively, due to its moderate climate, wine growing soils and rich agricultural land, the Loire Valley is referred to as "The Garden of France"; the châteaux range from the large to more'human-scale' châteaux such as the Château de Beaulieu in Saumur or the medieval Château du Rivau close to Chinon which were built of the local tuffeau stone. The Château de Chenonceau is a French château spanning the River Cher, near the small village of Chenonceaux in the Indre-et-Loire department of the Loire Valley in France, it is one
A consul is an official representative of the government of one state in the territory of another acting to assist and protect the citizens of the consul's own country, to facilitate trade and friendship between the people of the two countries. A consul is distinguished from an ambassador, the latter being a representative from one head of state to another. There can be only one ambassador from one country to another, representing the first country's head of state to that of the second, his or her duties revolve around diplomatic relations between the two countries. A less common usage is an administrative consul, who takes a governing role and is appointed by a country that has colonised or occupied another. In classical Greece, some of the functions of the modern consul were fulfilled by a proxenos. Unlike the modern position, this was a citizen of the host polity; the proxenos was a wealthy merchant who had socio-economic ties with another city and who helped its citizens when they were in trouble in his own city.
The position of proxenos was hereditary in a particular family. Modern honorary consuls fulfill a function, to a degree similar to that of the ancient Greek institution. Consuls were the highest magistrates of the Roman Roman Empire; the term was revived by the Republic of Genoa, unlike Rome, bestowed it on various state officials, not restricted to the highest. Among these were Genoese officials stationed in various Mediterranean ports, whose role included duties similar to those of the modern consul, i. e. helping Genoese merchants and sailors in difficulties with the local authorities. The consolat de mar was an institution established under the reign of Peter IV of Aragon in the fourteenth century, spread to 47 locations throughout the Mediterranean, it was a judicial body, administering maritime and commercial law as Lex Mercatoria. Although the consolat de mar was established by the Corts General of the Crown of Aragon, the consuls were independent from the King; this distinction between consular and diplomatic functions remains to this day.
Modern consuls retain limited judicial powers to settle disputes on ships from their country. The consulado de mercaderes was set up in 1543 in Seville as a merchant guild to control trade with Latin America; as such, it had branches in the principal cities of the Spanish colonies. The connection of "consul" with trade and commercial law is retained in French. In Francophone countries, a juge consulaire is a non-professional judge elected by the chamber of commerce to settle commercial disputes in the first instance; the office of a consul is a consulate and is subordinate to the state's main representation in the capital of that foreign country an embassy or – between Commonwealth countries – high commission. Like the terms embassy or high commission, consulate may refer not only to the office of consul, but to the building occupied by the consul and his or her staff; the consulate may share premises with the embassy itself. A consul of the highest rank is termed a consul-general, is appointed to a consulate-general.
There are one or more deputy consuls-general, vice-consuls, consular agents working under the consul-general. A country may appoint more than one consul-general to another nation. Consuls of various ranks may have specific legal authority for certain activities, such as notarizing documents; as such, diplomatic personnel with other responsibilities may receive consular letters patent. Aside from those outlined in the Vienna Convention on Diplomatic Relations, there are few formal requirements outlining what a consular official must do. For example, for some countries, consular officials may be responsible for the issue of visas. Nonetheless, consulates proper will be headed by consuls of various ranks if such officials have little or no connection with the more limited sense of consular service. Activities of a consulate include protecting the interests of their citizens temporarily or permanently resident in the host country, issuing passports. However, the principal role of a consulate lies traditionally in promoting trade—assisting companies to invest and to import and export goods and services both inwardly to their home country and outward to their host country.
Although it is not admitted publicly, like embassies, may gather intelligence information from the assigned country. Contrary to popular belief, many of the staff of consulates may be career diplomats, but they do not have diplomatic immunity unless they are accredited as such. Immunities and privileges for consuls and accredited staff of consulates are limited to actions undertaken in their official capacity and, with respect to the consulate itself, to those required for official duties. In practice, the extension and application of consular privileges and immunities can differ from country to country. Consulates are more numerous than diplomatic missions, such as embassies. Ambassadors are posted only in a foreign nation'
Aisne is a French department in the Hauts-de-France region of northern France. It is named after the river Aisne; the department of Aisne is surrounded by the French departments of Nord, Oise and Seine-et-Marne and borders Belgium to the northeast. The Aisne River crosses the area from east to west; the Marne forms part of the southern boundary of the department with the department of Seine-et-Marne. The southern part of the department is the geographical region known as la Brie poilleuse, a drier plateau known for its dairy products and Brie cheese. According to the 2003 census, the forested area of the department was 123,392 hectares, or 16.6% for an average metropolitan area of 27.4%. The landscape is dominated by masses of rock which have steep flanks; these rocks appear all over the region, but the most impressive examples are at Laon and the Chemin des Dames ridge. The principal cities in Aisne are: pop. 26,000 Saint-Quentin, pop. 60,000 Soissons, pop. 30,000 Château-Thierry, pop. 15,000 Tergnier, pop.
15,000 Chauny Hirson Villers-Cotterêts La Fère Vervins GuiseSee also: List of the communes of the Aisne department and Brie. The Scheldt, the Aisne, the Marne, the Ourcq, the Vesle, the Somme, the Oise, the Serre. In the south of the department, there is the Surmelin, the Verdonnelle, the Dhuys; the department is crossed by numerous canals. The county is crossed by three railway lines from Paris: the first two from the Gare du Nord and the third from the Gare de l'Est: the line from Paris to Maubeuge, serving cities including Chauny and Saint-Quentin the line from Paris to Laon, serving cities including Soissons, Anizy-le-Château, Laon the line from Paris to Strasbourg, serving the city of Château-Thierry. In 1873, the department of Aisne had 10 railway companies with a total length of 382 km. There is an average of 500 to 750 mm precipitation annually. Weather Data for Saint Quentin - Roupy Aisne developed from the ancient settlement of Acinum, from which its name derives; the Battle of the Axona was fought nearby in 57 BC.
Aisne is one of the original 83 departments created during the French Revolution on 4 March 1790. It was created from parts of the former provinces of Île-de-France and Champagne. Most of the old growth forests in the area were destroyed during battles in World War I; the French offensive against the Chemin des Dames in spring 1917 is sometimes referred to as the Second Battle of the Aisne. Agriculture dominates the economy cereal crops. Beet sugar is one of the most important industrial crops of the area. Silk and wool weaving flourish in Saint-Quentin and other towns. Saint-Gobain is known for its production of mirrors. Guise is the agricultural centre of the northern area of Aisne; the department is a mixture of working-class towns. As a place of residence for some families working in Paris or Île-de-France, Aisne was for many years a department rather oriented to the left, with a majority on the General Council on the left since 1998, the same for the majority of parliamentary seats representing the department in the National Assembly.
The smaller cities of the northern department such as Guise, Hirson and the railway city of Tergnier are sources of support for left-wing parties. Four political groups are represented in the General Council, all of them are composed of multiple political parties; the President of the General Council is the Liberal Nicolas Fricoteaux. In the second round of the French presidential elections of 2017 Aisne was one of only two departments in which the candidate of the Front National, Marine Le Pen, received a majority of the votes cast: 52.91%. Aisne is divided into 21 cantons; the department has five parliamentary constituencies. The department of Aisne includes one medium-sized city and three small cities to which may be added the conglomeration formed by Chauny and Tergnier. There are many other agglomerations of an urban character because Aisne has been densely populated since before the 19th century; the villages are numerous and rather small. Aisne lost some of its population in the second half of the 19th century, due to the rural exodus but this was limited by the industrial development in the north of the department.
Affected by the First World War, the department has seen its population grow to the same level as in 1900. For thirty years, the industrial decline has caused stagnation of the population. Only the south-west of the department, close to the Paris conurbation, has seen much population growth; the boat tours relates in part to the Canal de Saint-Quentin with its electric towage and two tunnels. In 2007, a large infrastructure for tourist accommodation, the Center Parcs, was built on the Lake of Ailette, close to many tourist attractions such as the Cathedral of Laon, the Chemin des Dames and the Château de Coucy. Among the many places to explore are: MonumentsCastle of Villers-Cotterets at Château-Thierry Château de Condé Château de Coucy Castle Oigny-en-Valois Dungeon of Septmonts Château of GuiseCathedralsCathédrale Notre-Dame de Laon Soissons Cathedr
Darius Milhaud was a French composer and teacher. He was a member of Les Six—also known as The Group of Six—and one of the most prolific composers of the 20th century, his compositions make extensive use of polytonality. Milhaud is considered one of the key modernist composers. Milhaud was born in the son of Sophie and Gabriel Milhaud, his father was from a Jewish family from Aix-en-Provence, his mother was from a Sephardi Jewish family from Italy. Milhaud began as a violinist turning to composition instead. Milhaud studied in Paris at the Paris Conservatory where he met his fellow group members Arthur Honegger and Germaine Tailleferre, he studied composition under harmony and counterpoint with André Gedalge. He studied with Vincent d'Indy. From 1917 to 1919, he served as secretary to Paul Claudel, the eminent poet and dramatist, the French ambassador to Brazil, with whom Milhaud collaborated for many years, setting music for many of Claudel's poems and plays. While in Brazil, they collaborated on a ballet, son désir.
On his return to France, Milhaud composed works influenced by the Brazilian popular music he had heard, including compositions of Brazilian pianist and composer Ernesto Nazareth. Le bœuf sur le toit includes melodies by Nazareth and other popular Brazilian composers of the time, evokes the sounds of Carnaval. Among the melodies is, in fact, a Carnaval tune by the name of "The Bull on the Roof", he produced Saudades do Brasil, a suite of twelve dances evoking twelve neighborhoods in Rio. Shortly after the original piano version appeared, he orchestrated the suite. On a trip to the United States in 1922, Darius Milhaud heard "authentic" jazz for the first time, on the streets of Harlem, which left a great impact on his musical outlook; the following year, he completed his composition La création du monde, using ideas and idioms from jazz, cast as a ballet in six continuous dance scenes. In 1925, Milhaud married Madeleine, an actress and reciter. In 1930 she gave birth to a son, the painter and sculptor Daniel Milhaud, the couple's only child.
The invasion of France by Nazi Germany forced the Milhauds to leave France in 1940 and emigrate to the United States. He secured a teaching post at Mills College in Oakland, where he composed the opera Bolivar and collaborated with Henri Temianka and the Paganini Quartet. In an extraordinary concert there in 1949, the Budapest Quartet performed the composer's 14th String Quartet, followed by the Paganini Quartet's performance of his 15th; the following year, these same pieces were performed at the Aspen Music Festival in Colorado, by the Paganini and Juilliard String Quartets. The jazz pianist Dave Brubeck became one of Milhaud's most famous students when Brubeck furthered his music studies at Mills College in the late 1940s. In a February 2010 interview with JazzWax, Brubeck said he attended Mills, a women's college to study with Milhaud, saying, "Milhaud was an enormously gifted classical composer and teacher who loved jazz and incorporated it into his work. My older brother Howard was his assistant and had taken all of his classes."
Brubeck named his first son Darius. Milhaud's former students include popular songwriter Burt Bacharach. Milhaud "Don't be afraid of writing something people can remember and whistle. Don't feel discomfited by a melody."From 1947 to 1971, he taught alternate years at Mills and the Paris Conservatoire, until poor health, which caused him to use a wheelchair during his years, compelled him to retire. He taught on the faculty of the Aspen Music Festival and School, he died in Geneva at the age of 81, he was buried in the Saint-Pierre Cemetery in Aix-en-Provence. Darius Milhaud was prolific and composed for a wide range of genres, his opus list ended at 443. Milhaud was an rapid creator, for whom the art of writing music seemed as natural as breathing, his most popular works include Le bœuf sur le toit, La création du monde and Saudades do Brasil. His autobiography is titled Notes sans musique revised as Ma vie heureuse. There is a Darius Milhaud Collection at Mills College in California. There is another Darius Milhaud Collection at the New York Public Library for the Performing Arts in New York City.
The Western Jewish History Center, of the Judah L. Magnes Museum, in Berkeley, California has librettos for Milhaud's opera, David, as well as a program for its American premiere, in Los Angeles, at the Hollywood Bowl, photocopies of newspaper coverage in the B'nai B'rith Messenger of Los Angeles, of this event; the Beloved Vagabond L'Inhumaine Land Without Bread Madame Bovary The Beloved Vagabond The Citadel of Silence Rasputin Mollenard Espoir: Sierra de Teruel The
The Lycée Louis-le-Grand is a prestigious secondary school located in Paris. Founded in 1563 by the Jesuits as the Collège de Clermont, it was renamed in King Louis XIV of France's honor after he extended his direct patronage to it in 1682, it offers both a sixth-form college curriculum, a post-secondary-level curriculum, preparing students for entrance to the elite Grandes écoles for research, such as the École normale supérieure, for engineering, such as the École Polytechnique, or for business, such as HEC Paris. Students at the Lycée Louis-le-Grand are called magnoludoviciens. Louis-le-Grand, founded in 1563, is located in the heart of the Quartier Latin, the traditional student district of Paris; the lycée is situated opposite the Sorbonne and adjacent to the Collège de France. Its southern side opens onto the place du Panthéon, the location of its historical rival, the Lycée Henri-IV; these two lycées are home to the oldest preparatory classes in France, which are viewed as the most selective in the country.
Because of this, Louis-le-Grand is considered to play an important role in the education of French elites. Many of its former pupils have become influential scientists, diplomats, prelates and writers. "The Jesuit College of Paris", wrote Élie de Beaumont in 1862, "has for a long time been a state nursery, the most fertile in great men". Indeed, former students have included writers Molière, Victor Hugo and Charles Baudelaire, revolutionaries Robespierre, the Marquis de Sade and Camille Desmoulins, as well as seven former presidents of the French Republic and countless other ministers and prime ministers, philosophers such as Voltaire, Emile Durkheim, Jean-Paul Sartre, Jean Cavaillès and Jacques Derrida, scientists Évariste Galois, Henri Poincaré and Laurent Schwartz, artists Eugène Delacroix, Edgar Degas and Georges Méliès. Renowned foreign students of the lycée include King Nicholas I of Montenegro, Léopold Sédar Senghor, Saint Francis de Sales. Admission to Louis-Le-Grand is competitive.
Its educational standards are rated and the working conditions are considered optimal due to its demanding recruitment of teachers. Louis-Le-Grand students achieve excellent results. In September 2008, LLG and the Abu Dhabi Education Council launched the Advanced Math and Science Pilot Class. There is a class designed for another for boys. Classes are taught by professors sent from France, the classes are exceptionally taught in English; the students who make up the Advanced Math and Science Pilot Class graduate at the end of the 12th grade and are awarded with a certificate of academic recognition by LLG. The final cohort of the program graduated in 2017 marking the end of the LLG-Abu Dhabi program Writers and social scientists Artists and composers Scientists Statesmen and politicians Other personalities During World War II, student Jacques Lusseyran founded the resistance group Volontaires de la Liberté. Sainte-Beuve refers to Louis-le-Grand as le collège des Jésuites à Paris. There are several courtyards at the school: Secondary education in France Education in France Lycée Louis-le-Grand http://www.fcpellg.fr/ http://peepllg.com https://www.louislegrand.net
Hamburg is the second-largest city in Germany with a population of over 1.8 million. One of Germany's 16 federal states, it is surrounded by Schleswig-Holstein to the north and Lower Saxony to the south; the city's metropolitan region is home to more than five million people. Hamburg lies on two of its tributaries, the River Alster and the River Bille; the official name reflects Hamburg's history as a member of the medieval Hanseatic League and a free imperial city of the Holy Roman Empire. Before the 1871 Unification of Germany, it was a sovereign city state, before 1919 formed a civic republic headed constitutionally by a class of hereditary grand burghers or Hanseaten. Beset by disasters such as the Great Fire of Hamburg, north Sea flood of 1962 and military conflicts including World War II bombing raids, the city has managed to recover and emerge wealthier after each catastrophe. Hamburg is Europe's third-largest port. Major regional broadcasting firm NDR, the printing and publishing firm Gruner + Jahr and the newspapers Der Spiegel and Die Zeit are based in the city.
Hamburg is the seat of Germany's oldest stock exchange and the world's oldest merchant bank, Berenberg Bank. Media, commercial and industrial firms with significant locations in the city include multinationals Airbus, Blohm + Voss, Aurubis and Unilever; the city hosts specialists in world economics and international law, including consular and diplomatic missions as the International Tribunal for the Law of the Sea, the EU-LAC Foundation, the UNESCO Institute for Lifelong Learning, multipartite international political conferences and summits such as Europe and China and the G20. Both the former German Chancellor Helmut Schmidt and Angela Merkel, German chancellor since 2005, come from Hamburg; the city is a major domestic tourist destination. It ranked 18th in the world for livability in 2016; the Speicherstadt and Kontorhausviertel were declared World Heritage Sites by UNESCO in 2015. Hamburg is a major European science and education hub, with several universities and institutions. Among its most notable cultural venues are the Laeiszhalle concert halls.
It paved the way for bands including The Beatles. Hamburg is known for several theatres and a variety of musical shows. St. Pauli's Reeperbahn is among the best-known European entertainment districts. Hamburg is at a sheltered natural harbour on the southern fanning-out of the Jutland Peninsula, between Continental Europe to the south and Scandinavia to the north, with the North Sea to the west and the Baltic Sea to the northeast, it is on the River Elbe at its confluence with the Bille. The city centre is around the Binnenalster and Außenalster, both formed by damming the River Alster to create lakes; the islands of Neuwerk, Scharhörn, Nigehörn, 100 kilometres away in the Hamburg Wadden Sea National Park, are part of the city of Hamburg. The neighborhoods of Neuenfelde, Cranz and Finkenwerder are part of the Altes Land region, the largest contiguous fruit-producing region in Central Europe. Neugraben-Fischbek has Hamburg's highest elevation, the Hasselbrack at 116.2 metres AMSL. Hamburg borders the states of Lower Saxony.
Hamburg has an oceanic climate, influenced by its proximity to the coast and marine air masses that originate over the Atlantic Ocean. The location north of Germany provides extremes greater than marine climates, but in the category due to the mastery of the western standards. Nearby wetlands enjoy a maritime temperate climate; the amount of snowfall has differed a lot during the past decades: while in the late 1970s and early 1980s, at times heavy snowfall occurred, the winters of recent years have been less cold, with snowfall only on a few days per year. The warmest months are June and August, with high temperatures of 20.1 to 22.5 °C. The coldest are December and February, with low temperatures of −0.3 to 1.0 °C. Claudius Ptolemy reported the first name for the vicinity as Treva; the name Hamburg comes from the first permanent building on the site, a castle which the Emperor Charlemagne ordered constructed in AD 808. It rose on rocky terrain in a marsh between the River Alster and the River Elbe as a defence against Slavic incursion, acquired the name Hammaburg, burg meaning castle or fort.
The origin of the Hamma term remains uncertain. In 834, Hamburg was designated as the seat of a bishopric; the first bishop, became known as the Apostle of the North. Two years Hamburg was united with Bremen as the Bishopric of Hamburg-Bremen. Hamburg occupied several times. In 845, 600 Viking ships sailed up the River Elbe and destroyed Hamburg, at that time a town of around 500 inhabitants. In 1030, King Mieszko II Lambert of Poland burned down the city. Valdemar II of Denmark raided and occupied Hamburg in 1201 and in 1214; the Black Death killed at least 60% of the population in 1350. Hamburg experienced several great fires in the medieval period. In 1189, by imperial charter, Frederick I "Barbarossa" granted Hamburg the status of a Free Imperial City and tax-free access up the Lower Elbe into the North Sea. In 1265, an forged letter was presented to or by the Rath of Hamburg; this charter, along with Hamburg's proximity to the main trade routes of the North Sea and Baltic Sea made it a