Lake Neusiedl, Burgenland, alt. 115 m, length 33.5 km, width 12 km and depth 1.8 m; area around 285 km2 (including reed belt), of which 220 km2 is on Austrian territory; strong evaporation causes a high level of salinity and has noticeable influence on the climate. Lake Neusiedl is the westernmost European steppe lake and the largest lake in Austria; situated between the small Hungarian plain, the Leithagebirge mountains (to the northwest), the Parndorfer Platte tableland (to the Northeast), the Rust range of hills (to the west) and the Seewinkel area (to the south) ( Lacken). A smaller swamp area is situated in the south, in the southeast the former Hanság swampland (Waasen), which was largely drained by the Einser-Kanal. Most important lines of occupation are wine cultivation, tourism, reed processing and fishing. The water level of Lake Neusiedl is mainly determined by the amount of precipitation; small streams such as the Wulka, Wolfsbrunn and Angerbach and subterranean inlets (especially from the eastern Seewinkel area) also flow into the lake. Canals lead to the lake from the villages of Weiden and Gols; the Einser-Kanal canal (Hungary) makes it possible to regulate and maintain the water level of the lake, which does not have any other outlet. The water level of Lake Neusiedl was subject to strong fluctuations in the past: in 1740, 1773, 1811-1813 and 1864-1870 the lake almost dried out completely, on the other hand it swelled to its largest size in 1741/42, 1786, 1797-1801, 1838 and 1941. Due to the quality of the water and its shallowness, Lake Neusiedl is very suitable for bathing. In terms of the nutrient contents of the water, the lake can be classified as meso-eutrophic. However, the nutrient contents have been decreasing because of the construction of sewage purification plants and sewer construction. Nonetheless, the input of substances from various other sources, such as agriculture are a cause of nutrient pollution. The reed belt, which has grown heavily since the beginning of the 20th century, covers an area of around 100 km2 on Austrian territory; it is widest on the west bank at Donnerskirchen (5 km) and smallest in the East near Podersdorf am See; the artificial passages through the reed belt are locally called "Schluichten". Reed is a source of income for the local population. Reed (used for the insulation of walls in houses) is cut in 10-15% of the reed belt; the reed belt is also a breeding ground and habitat for more than 250 bird species (especially waders and aquatic birds). Lake Neusiedl is also the habitat of more than 30 species of fish (especially eel, carp, zander and pike) which are partly released for economic purposes. The lake is a centre of tourism in the province of Burgenland. In 1999 75% of all tourist arrivals and more than two thirds of overnight stays in the entire province were registered in the lake region. The lake - also called "the Sea of the Viennese"- offers facilities for many kinds of sports (esp. water sports, cycle tracks). In the summer the Seefestspiele Mörbisch (operetta festival) takes place at Lake Neusiedl. - The conditions of the soil, the sunny Pannonian climate and the natural regulation of the temperature provide essential prerequisites for the cultivation of wine and wine cultivation has grown strongly since 1965 especially east of the lake. Today wine is cultivated almost everywhere to the east and west of the lake (wine-growing regions: Lake Neusiedl and Lake Neusiedl hills); quality white wines (Welschriesling, Müller-Thurgau and Weißburgunder) predominate, while red wines are also famous. Specialities of the region are very sweet top-quality wines, in particular from Illmitz and Rust. The so-called "wine roads" (Weinstraßen), where one wine-growing village follows another, are to the northwest and to the east of the lake. The most important towns and villages around the lake are Neusiedl am See (alt. 131 m), Jois (alt. 150 m), Breitenbrunn (alt. 136 m), Purbach am Neusiedlersee. (alt. 128 m), Donnerskirchen (alt. 193 m), Oggau am Neusiedler See (alt. 130 m), Rust (alt. 123 m), St. Margarethen im Burgenland (alt. 151 m) and Mörbisch am See (alt. 122 m) in the north and west, Apetlon (alt. 120 m), Illmitz (alt. 117 m), Podersdorf am See (alt. 121 m), Gols (130 m) and Weiden am See (alt. 124 m) in the east. The Burgenland Institute of Biological Research or "Lake Neusiedl Biological Station" near Illmitz has conducted limnological and environmental research in the lake area since 1971. In 1993 the Lake Neusiedl-Seewinkel National Park (comprising the south-eastern part of the lake and the shallow salt ponds "Lacken" in the eastern swampland) was opened together in cooperation with Hungary. This area (around 9,500 hectares on Austrian and 12,700 hectares on Hungarian territory) is divided into a strictly protected core zone and a conservation zone (the "Lacken") and a nature reserve.
Literature: Office of the Burgenland provincial government (ed.), Raum Neusiedler See-Seewinkel, Problemdarstellung, 1984; idem (ed.), 2. Bgld. Umweltbericht, 1991; V. Schiefermeyer, Die Umwelt des Neusiedler Sees und seiner Randgebiete, 1989; F. Czeike, Das Burgenland, 21991; V. Sebauer, R. Vesely and W. Weisgram, Der Neusiedler See, 1994.
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