In 1978, to preserve the beauty of this region of lakes and mountains, the Bavarian government founded the Berchtesgaden National Park, which centres around the lake Königssee. Surrounded by high mountain walls at the end of the valley is the Obersee.
The Berchtesgaden National Park covers an area of 210 km² or 81 sq. miles. It is state property in its entirety. Its high mountain landscapes are characterized by extensive forests and steep rock faces.
Königssee. This emerald-green lake is surrounded by steep walls of rock, with the 1800-metre east wall of the Watzmann towering above its west shore. Around eight kilometres long and over a kilometre across at its widest point, and with a depth of up to 190 metres, the lake occupies the whole valley between the Watzmann in the west and the Jenner and Gotzenberg in the east. This jewel of the Bavarian Alps is a haven of peace.edit
St Bartholomew's Church. The church in front of the east wall of the Watzmann, is a cultural highlight in this unspoilt countryside. The Palace and pilgrimage church were founded by the Prince-Provosts of Berchtesgaden in 1134. The triple-concha design of the church dates back to 1697; the stucco-work is by the Salzburg master Joseph Schmidt. In the 18th century the summer and hunting palace was rebuilt, with older building sections incorporated. After Berchtesgaden became part of Bavaria in 1810, the palace became a hunting lodge for the Bavarian kings and was one of their favourite haunts. Since the Romantic period, the world-famous pilgrimage church, set against the Watzmann range, has been a source of inspiration for numerous landscape painters.edit