Garmisch-Partenkirchen is actually two connecting towns, Garmisch and Partenkirchen. The two towns were united for the 1936 Winter Olympics and are now officially known by the single name, Garmisch-Partenkirchen. Partenkirchen was first documented in the year 257 as the Roman way station "Parthanum" on the road from Rome to Augsburg and flourished during the Middle Ages as a portion of the major Orient trade route. This winter and summer resort lies in the Loisach Valley surrounded by the Bavarian Alps. From the valley floor at 812 meters (2,640 feet), one has a clear view of the Wefferstein mountain range, which includes the Alpspitze, Waxenstein, and the Zugspitze. The Zugspitze peaks at 2,994 meters (9,731 feet), making it Germany's tallest mountain. To the northwest are the Ammergauer Alps and to the northeast are the Ester Mountains.
Garmisch-Partenkirchen is considered to be the winter sports capital of Germany. There are over 40 ski-lifts, 11 cable cars, and a cog-wheel train service to more than 68 miles of ski runs, ranging in ability from easy to difficult. The Olympic Ski Stadium features four ski jumps and the roofed Olympic Ice Stadium houses three rinks, with the capacity to seat 10,000 people. There are 83 miles of cross-country ski trails in the area and plenty of thrilling "rodel" (sled) runs. For the summer sports enthusiast the Garmisch area features 186 miles of alpine footpaths, several modern indoor-outdoor swimming pools, and plenty of alpine lakes. Within walking distance, there are many rustic "Huttes" (huts) nestled throughout the surrounding mountains where the tired hiker can sit and enjoy the beautiful scenery - while sipping a cold "Weiss Bier."
Garmisch is home of the United States Army Garrison (USAG) Garmisch; the George C. Marshall Center for European Security Studies; and the Armed Forces Recreation Center (AFRC). The variety of recreational activities and facilities will make your assignment at the NATO School an enjoyable and lasting experience.