Regensburg (from Latin Castra Regina, also lat. Ratisbona and Ratispona) is the capital of the administrative district Upper Palatinate with seat of the government of the Upper Palatinate as well as the district administrator of the district Regensburg and an independent city in Eastern Bavaria.
With more than 165,000 inhabitants, Regensburg is the fourth-largest city in the State of Bavaria after Munich, Nuremberg and Augsburg.
The medieval centre of the city is a UNESCO World Heritage Site. In 2014, Regensburg was among the top sights and travel attractions in Germany.
Regensburg has three universities and is one of 3 regional centers in Bavaria.
Throughout the centures, the city was known by a variety of names. It is still known in the Romance languages by a cognate of its Latin name of "Ratisbona" (the version "Ratisbon" was long current in English).
Between 1135 and 1146, the Stone Bridge across the Danube was built at Regensburg. This bridge opened major international trade routes between northern Europe and Venice, and this began Regensburg's golden age as a residence of wealthy trading families.
Regensburg became the cultural centre of southern Germany and was celebrated for its gold work and fabrics.
Regensburg is situated on the northernmost part of the Danube river at the geological crossroads of four distinct landscapes:
- to the north and northeast lies the Bavarian Forest (Bayerischer Wald) with granite and gneiss mountains, wide forests and its national park
- to the east and south-east is the fertile Danube plain (Gäuboden) which are highly cultivated loess plains
- the south is dominated by the tertiary hill country (Tertiär-Hügelland), a continuation of Alpine foothills
- to the West is Franconian Jura (Fränkische Jura)
The climate in Regensburg is categorized in the Köppen climate classification as Dfb (humid continental). The average temperature of 8.5 °C is slightly above the German average (7.8 °C), the average precipitation of 636 mm per year below the German average (approximately 700 mm). With a total of 1670 sunshine hours per year, Regensburg is roughly 120 hours above German average.
The warmest month of the year, on average, is July. The coolest month of the year, on average, is January.
The Regensburg Theater at the Bismarckplatz is 200 years old and is the most important theater of the city. Operas, operettas, musicals and ballets are shown. In summer, open-air performances are carried out as well. With the theater at the Bismarckplatz as the oldest and largest one, the Regensburg theater has four other stages with programmes that complement each other: in the Neuhaussaal of the theater at the Bismarckplatz, concerts by the Philharmonic Orchestra Regensburg take place. The Velodrom Theater presents musicals and plays. In the Haidplatz Theater mainly literary and modern plays are performed, whereas the Turmtheater at the Goliathplatz shows modern plays as well, but also cabarets, musicals and plays for children.
Twice a year takes place the Regensburg Dult, the city's Volksfest, which is Bavaria's fourth largest. The Bürgerfest (citizen celebration) in the Old Town is every two years, attracting over 100,000 visitors. Every second weekend in July, knights and other medieval people come together at the Regensburg Spectaculum, a medieval market, on the Stone Bridge. Every December, there are several Christmas markets all over the city.
With over 500 bars, restaurants, clubs and other locations in the inner city alone, Regensburg provides a rich and diverse nightlife due to its young population.