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The freshwater lake sits at 395 m above sea level and is central Europe's third largest, after Lake Balaton and Lake Geneva. It covers approximately 564 km² (220 mi²) of total area. The greatest depth is 252 m in the middle of the eastern part (Obersee). Its volume is approximately 55 km³. The lake has four parts: Obersee, Überlinger See, Zeller See and Untersee. The regulated Rhine flows into the lake in the southeast, through the Obersee, the city of Konstanz and the Untersee and flows out near Stein am Rhein.
Lake Constance was formed by the Rhine Glacier during the ice age. The Rhine, the Bregenzer Ache, and the Dornbirner Ache carry sediments from the Alps to the lake, thus gradually decreasing the depth of the lake in the southeast.
Lake Constance was first mentioned by the Hispanic geographer Pomponius Mela about 43 B.C. He noted that the Rhine flows through two lakes, Lacus Venetus (today Obersee) and Lacus Acronius (today Untersee). Pliny the Elder used the name Lacus Brigantinus, after the Roman city of Brigantium (today Bregenz).
Islands in the lake
Towns and cities on the lake
From the entry of the Rhine, on the northern or right shore:
- On the Upper Lake (Obersee) and Überlinger See
- On the lower lake (Untersee)
- Allensbach (on Gnadensee)
- Radolfzell (on Zellersee)
From the entry of the Rhine, on the southern or left shore:
- On the Upper Lake (Obersee)
- On the Rhine
- On the Lower Lake (Untersee)
See also: Lake Constance Crash
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