Saarland is the smallest of the German Flächenländer (area states), that is to say states other than the three city-states (Berlin, Bremen and Hamburg). Its only major city and capital is Saarbrücken. The town of Mettlach is home to the world's largest manufacturer of ceramics, Villeroy & Boch.
Saarland borders on (clockwise from the North) the German state of Rhineland-Palatinate, the Moselle department of France, and Luxembourg.
Its a surface area of 2,569 km² is almost exactly the same as the Grand Duchy of Luxembourg. With a population of 1,044,000 inhabitants, it is twice as populous as Luxembourg. Saarland is divided into 6 districts (Kreise).
People in the Saarland speak two distinct dialects of German : Rhine Franconian (in the southeast, very similar to the dialect spoken in the western part of the Palatinate) and Moselle Franconian (in the northwest, very similar to that dialect spoken along the Moselle and the cities of Trier or even in Luxembourg).
After Julius Caesar's conquest of the Gaul, the region of Saarland became part of the Roman Province of Gallia Belgica, then to its subdivision of Germania Superior.
Before the dissolution of the Holy Roman Empire in 1806, what is now Saarland belonged to the Principality of Nassau-Saarbrücken, the Duchy of Palatinate Zweibrücken, the Principality of Wied-Runkel, the Duchy of Lorraine and the Prince-Archbishopric of Trier (as well as some smaller states).
Tiny Saarland can boast having one of the best preserved and largest Roman mosaic floor north of the Alps, in the 3rd-century Roman villa of Perl-Nennig, just across the border of Luxembourg. The mosaic is composed of some 3 million tiles covering an area of 160 m2.
Saarbrücken shifted six times between France and Germany since the late 17th century. Powerhouse of the industrial revolution, it is now a quieter place with a few good museums, art galleries and Baroque monuments. The city's focal point...Read more
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