Southeast Rügen – shaped by glaciers and the waves of the Baltic Sea
To a large extent Southeast Rügen was shaped in the last phase of the Weichsel glaciation approx. 10,000 – 12,000 BP. In the following millennia, glacial melt-waters and marine incursions from the North Sea submerged low-lying regions, whereas elevated terminal moraines extended above the waterline to form archipelagos. Subsequently, erosion and deposition though the action of wind and water formed sandspits and peninsulas between the original islands. The Baaber Heath and Zickerniß Isthmus with its long beach, are typical of the sandspit formations in the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve. Over time, lagoons (called bodden in German) formed on the leeward side of the sandspits.
Over the past 5000 years, humans have had the biggest role in shaping the local landscape. Various historical time periods have left their mark within the boundaries of the Southeast Rügen Biosphere Reserve. One can observe relics from the protohistoric era, Slavic place names, traces of the Cistercian Order, romantic village churches, manor houses, neoclassical buildings, as well as brilliant white resort architecture.