The Main River in Würzburg
Position of the Main in Germany
|Length||527 km (327 mi)|
|Avg. discharge||200 m3/s (7,100 cu ft/s) at mouth|
|Basin area||27,292 km2 (10,538 sq mi)|
The Main flows through the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg (forming the border with Bavaria for some distance) and Hesse. Its basin competes with the Danube for water; as a result, many of its boundaries are identical with those of the European Watershed.
The Main begins near Kulmbach in Franconia at the joining of its two headstreams, the Red Main (Roter Main) and the White Main (Weißer Main). The Red Main rises in the Franconian Jura mountain range, 50 km (31 mi) in length, and runs through Creussen and Bayreuth. The White Main rises in the mountains of the Fichtelgebirge; it is 41 km (25 mi) long. In its upper and middle section it runs in valleys of the German Highlands. In its lower section it crosses the Lower Main Lowlands (Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin and northern Upper Rhine Plain) to Wiesbaden, where it discharges into the Rhine River. Major tributaries of the Main are the Regnitz, the Franconian Saale, the Tauber, and the Nidda.
The Main is navigable for shipping from its mouth at the Rhine close to Mainz for 396 km to Bamberg. Since 1992, the Main has been connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the highly regulated Altmühl river. The river has been canalized with 34 large locks (300 × 12 m (980 × 39 ft)) to allow CEMT class V (110 × 11.45 m (360.89 × 37.57 ft)) vessels to navigate the total length of the river. The 16 locks in the adjacent Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the Danube itself are of the same dimensions.
Tributaries from source to mouth:
The Main in Frankfurt at night
Main in Offenbach am Main
Confluence into the Rhine at Mainz-Kostheim
Ports and municipalities
Around Frankfurt are several large inland ports. Because the river is rather narrow on many of the upper reaches, navigation with larger vessels and push convoys requires great skill.
The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg. The Main also passes the following towns and cities: Burgkunstadt, Lichtenfels, Bad Staffelstein, Eltmann, Haßfurt, Schweinfurt, Volkach, Kitzingen, Marktbreit, Ochsenfurt, Karlstadt, Gemünden, Lohr, Marktheidenfeld, Wertheim, Miltenberg, Obernburg, Erlenbach/Main, Aschaffenburg, Seligenstadt, Hainburg, Hanau, Offenbach, Hattersheim, Flörsheim, and Rüsselsheim.
In a historical and political sense, the Main line is referred to as the northern border of Southern Germany, with its predominantly Catholic population. The river roughly marked the southern border of the North German Federation, established in 1867 under Prussian leadership as the predecessor of the German Empire.
The Main-Radweg is a mayor German bicycle path running along the Main River. It is approximately 600 km long and was the first long-distance bicycle path to be awarded 5 stars by the General German Bicycle Club ADFC in 2008. It starts from either Creußen or Bischofsgrün and ends in Mainz.
- Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte (ed.), Main und Meer - Porträt eines Flusses. Exhibition Catalogue to the Bayerische Landesausstellung 2013 (German). WBG. ISBN 978-3-534-00010-4.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Main (river).|
|Wikisource has the text of a 1911 Encyclopædia Britannica article about the River Main.|
- Main River Website on the River Main by the Tourist Board of Franconia. (English)
- "Main". Collier's New Encyclopedia. 1921.