Stuttgart is the capital of the state of Baden-Württemberg in southern Germany. The sixth-largest city in Germany, Stuttgart has a population of 613,392 (December 2011) while the greater Stuttgart Metropolitan Region has a population of 5.3 million (2008), being the fourth-biggest in Germany after the Rhine-Ruhr area, Berlin/Brandenburg and Frankfurt/Rhine-Main. The city lies at the centre of a densely populated area, surrounded by a ring of smaller towns. This area called Stuttgart Region has a population of 2.7 million. Stuttgart's urban area has a population of roughly 1.8 million, making it Germany's seventh largest.Stuttgart is spread across a variety of hills (many of them vineyards), valleys and parks – unusual for a German city and often a source of surprise to visitors who primarily associate the city with its industrial reputation as the 'cradle of the automobile'.Stuttgart has the status of Stadtkreis, a type of self-administrating urban county. It is also the seat of the state legislature, the regional parliament, the local council and the Protestant State Church in Württemberg as well as one of the two co-seats of the bishop of the Roman Catholic Diocese of Rottenburg-Stuttgart.