Old Bavaria

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Old Bavaria in red

Old Bavaria comprises the parts of the Free State of Bavaria that are part of the cultural tradition of the medieval Bavarian tribe . These are Upper Bavaria , Lower Bavaria and the Upper Palatinate as well as some smaller neighboring regions. At the same time, the term is the name for the inhabitants of this area. Old Bavaria thus includes the areas of the Free State in which the Bavarian dialect is at home.


Altbayern comprises the three Bavarian administrative districts of Upper Bavaria , Lower Bavaria and Upper Palatinate as well as some smaller neighboring regions.

Today's administrative boundaries only roughly reflect the extent of old Bavaria. Since the term aims at the linguistic and cultural differentiation to the tribes of the Franks and Swabians , smaller areas in the administrative districts of Swabia, Upper Franconia and Middle Franconia can be added to Old Bavaria with a certain justification. For example, the Alpine region of the Swabian administrative district is strongly influenced by Bavarian culture. Before the regional reform in Bavaria in 1972, some of the administrative districts and individual communities east of the Lech that are now part of the administrative district of Swabia belonged to Upper Bavaria or to the then still politically Swabian but Bavarian-speaking administrative district of Neuburg an der Donau and speak the Bavarian dialect ( administrative district Aichach-Friedberg (" Wittelsbacher Land “), Parts of the districts of Donau-Ries and Augsburg ); they still refer to themselves colloquially today as "Zwangsschwaben" or "Mussschwaben", because in terms of administrative policy they were largely incorporated into Swabians against the will of the population. Some districts of the city of Augsburg ( Lechhausen and Hochzoll ), to the right of the Lech, are still part of Old Bavaria today, as they belonged to the Upper Bavarian district office of Friedberg until December 31, 1912.

North of Augsburg , the Lech forms a distinctive language and dialect transition border, while the language transition south of Augsburg is much more fluid. In the Upper Bavarian districts of Weilheim-Schongau and Landsberg am Lech , they speak a Bavarian dialect with strong Swabian influences ( Lechrainian ).

In Upper Franconia , the area around Wunsiedel and Marktredwitz (" Sechsämterland ") belongs to old Bavaria. A North Bavarian or Upper Palatinate dialect is spoken here, which means that this area is also characterized by the Bavarian language and culture.


The largest extension of the Duchy of Baiern

In the course of Bavarian history, there was an increasing divergence between the Bavarian national territory and the Bavarian cultural area .

The area of ​​the older Bavarian tribal duchy and in its early years also the area of ​​the younger Bavarian tribal duchy largely coincided with the Bavarian cultural area of ​​that time. With the replacement of Marcha Orientalis and Carinthia , the Duchy of Baiern lost the first parts of the Bavarian cultural area. Until 1815 there were repeated changes in the nationality of areas of the Bavarian cultural area between Bavaria and other states. On the other hand, areas that did not belong to the Bavarian cultural area increasingly came to the Bavarian state. In 1777 the Palatinate and Bavaria were united. The other areas that were added to the state of Bavaria after 1801 and are not part of Old Bavaria are Franconia with the administrative districts of Middle , Lower and Upper Franconia and Swabia . The last area changes occurred after the Second World War, when Bavaria lost the Palatinate to the newly formed state of Rhineland-Palatinate and several districts of Czechoslovakia that had been added to the German Empire after the Munich Agreement .

As a result of this development, from the time of the Kingdom of Bavaria, there was a need for a distinction between the Bavarian state territory in terms of culture and language. For those parts of the state that were also part of the Bavarian cultural area, the name Old Bavaria emerged. Franconia and Bavarian Swabians are today "Bavaria" (with "y", meaning citizens of the Free State of Bavaria), but they are not "Baiern" (with "i", so they do not belong to the tribe of the Bavarians) and also no residents of "Old Bavaria" . In Old Bavaria is Bairisch spoken in Franconia East Frankish and in the administrative region of Swabia a Swabian dialect .

In the television program of the Bavarian Radio there is the regular program " Aus Schwaben & Altbayern ", a magazine for the entire south of the Free State that takes up current, cultural and political issues. The counterpart to this for the Franconian part of Bavaria is the " Frankenschau ". The programs are broadcast at the same time, regionally separated.


Old Bavaria is one of the regions in Germany with a relatively high proportion of Catholics . The state is ecclesiastically subordinate to the Archdiocese of Munich and Freising , the Dioceses of Passau and Regensburg and, to a small extent, Eichstätt and Augsburg . In contrast to the Franconian part, there was no increased mixing of denominations here until the Second World War. In the wake of the Second World War, however, more and more Protestant citizens, mostly expellees , moved to the formerly purely Catholic areas.


  • Bavaria Germania Europe. History in Bavarian. Catalog book for the state exhibition of the House of Bavarian History in cooperation with the museums of the city of Regensburg May 18 to October 29, 2000 . Verlag Friedrich Pustet, Regensburg 2000, ISBN 3-7917-1707-3 , Chapter 3, Land und Menschen , pp. 67–91, there in particular p. 76, sections 3.33 and 3.35.
  • Benno Hubensteiner: Bavaria . In: History of Bavaria . Special edition of the history of the German states (Territorien-Ploetz). Verlag Ploetz, Würzburg 1975, ISBN 3-87640-053-8 , pp. 11-41.
  • Georg Wilhelm Sante: The historical area (old) Bavaria . In: History of Bavaria . Special edition of the history of the German states (Territorien-Ploetz). Ploetz Publishing House, Würzburg 1975, ISBN 3-87640-053-8 , pp. 1–5.

Web links

Wikisource: Altbayern  - Sources and full texts
Wikivoyage: Old Bavaria  - Travel Guide

Individual evidence

  1. the Bavarian language area. Retrieved October 20, 2018 .