Seewinkel Area (Seewinkel, literally: Lake Corner), Burgenland, flat landscape south of Podersdorf and east of Lake Neusiedl. Forms the southern part of the district Neusiedl am See, borders Hungary in the east and south and merges into the Waasen (Hanság) region in the south. - Pre-historic finds, site of graves from the urnfield culture near Illmitz; between the 13th and 18th centuries scene of many battles and wars (with Hungarians, Turks and Kuruc rebels), leaving behind a devastated country. With its swamps and approximately 40 Lacken (the number of these small lakes or pools probably decreased by half during the last half of the 20th century), the westernmost salt steppe of Europe. The Seewinkel is Austria´s lowest-lying landscape (average altitude 117 m) and has one of the lowest levels of precipitation (average amount per year below 600 mm). The Seewinkel belongs to the Pannonian Climatic Zone, its fauna and flora are very diverse and unique in Austria. The most important of these are the Halophytes and the numerous bird species (over 250): grey herons, spoonbills, white storks, marsh harrier, grey goose, sea eagle, great bustard, various rare wading birds and reed songbirds; also, insects able to live in saline environment, and brine shrimps. The main nature protection areas of Seewinkel are the southern part of Lake Neusiedl and the areas immediately in front of the shoreline as well as the reed-belt, the Lacken and the pastures and meadows which lie between these pools or are adjacent to them; they also include the area around Lake Illmitzer Zicksee (Zicklacke), Lake Oberer Stinkersee and Lake Unterer Stinkersee and lies between the reed belt, which is quite narrow in this area, and that part of the Seewinkel which is intensively used for agriculture. Lake Illmitzer Zicksee (Zicklacke) is considered an ideal breeding area for birds. The nature conservation area around Lake Neusiedl is Austria´s largest conservation area under the Ramsar Convention and was the first area in Austria to be protected under this convention. The Seewinkel and the nature reserves of Lake Neusiedl (including the Hungarian part) were declared a cross-border "Lake Neusiedl National Park" in 1993. During summer most of the Lacken turn into salt swamps or desert-like plains covered with a salt crust. In former times the grass steppes of the Seewinkel Area provided the conditions for large-scale livestock breeding (in particular cattle and horses), today the former Lacken lands and pastures are mainly used for agricultural (wine-growing) and tourist purposes. Agriculture and tourism are usually carried out on a small scale, with tourist facilities normally being offered as bed and breakfast accommodation on small farms. Formerly, typical characteristics of the Seewinkel were draw-wells, thatched houses, Baroque-like scrolled gables, reed barns and Tschardaken buildings for storing and drying maize. Towns and villages of the Seewinkel Area: Frauenkirchen, Andau, Tadten, Wallern im Burgenland, Pamhagen, Apetlon, Illmitz.