Welcome to the stunning Alpine ski town of Garmisch-Partenkirchen, located in southern Germany’s Bavaria region. This picturesque town is home to Germany’s highest mountain, Zugspitze, which towers at 2,962 metres (9,718 ft) above sea level. It’s also known as the site of the 1936 Winter Olympic Games, which included alpine skiing for the first time, and it continues to host a variety of winter sports competitions. But there’s more to this town than just winter sports.

Garmisch (in the west) and Partenkirchen (in the east) were separate towns for many centuries and still maintain distinct identities. Partenkirchen originated as the Roman town of Partanum on the trade route from Venice to Augsburg and is first mentioned in the year A.D. 15. Its main street, Ludwigsstrasse, follows the original Roman road. Garmisch was first mentioned some 800 years later as Germaneskau (German District), suggesting that at some point a Teutonic tribe took up settlement in the western end of the valley.

During World War II, Garmisch-Partenkirchen was a major hospital center for the German military. Today, the town is a popular destination for skiing, snowboarding, and hiking, with some of the best skiing areas in Germany (Garmisch Classic and Zugspitze). A variety of Nordic and alpine World Cup ski races are held here, usually on the Kandahar Track outside of town. Traditionally, a ski jumping contest is held in Garmisch-Partenkirchen on New Year’s Day, as part of the Four Hills Tournament (Vierschanzen-Tournee). The World Alpine Ski Championships were held in Garmisch in 1978 and 2011.

Garmisch-Partenkirchen is also home to the George C. Marshall European Center for Security Studies, which is an internationally funded and mostly U.S.-staffed learning and conference centre for governments from around the world. The Marshall Center was established in June 1993, replacing the U.S. Army Russian Institute. Near the Marshall Center is the American Armed Forces Recreation Centers (Edelweiss Lodge and Resort) in Garmisch that serves U.S. and NATO military and their families.

But it’s not all about sports and politics – Garmisch-Partenkirchen has plenty of cultural highlights as well. The Richard-Strauss-Festival is held in June, celebrating the famous German composer of the late Romantic and early modern eras who was born in Munich but spent much of his life in Garmisch-Partenkirchen. The town also hosts a variety of festivals throughout the year, including the historic bob-race on the olympic track at Riessersee in February and the Alpentestival in August.

Whether you’re a winter sports enthusiast, a history buff, or a lover of the great outdoors, Garmisch-Partenkirchen truly has something for everyone. So pack your bags and head to this charming Alpine town to experience all that it has to offer!

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