Saale

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This article is about the larger "Saxon" or "Thuringian" Saale. For the Franconian Saale, see Fränkische Saale.
Saale
Karte Saale und Mulde.gif
Location of the Saale
Petersgrat bei Hof Bayern.jpg
The Saale valley near Hof
Location In Bavaria, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt,  Germany
Reference no. DE: 56
Length 413 km
Source near Zell im Fichtelgebirge
50°07′14″N 11°49′50″E / 50.12056°N 11.83056°E / 50.12056; 11.83056Coordinates: 50°07′14″N 11°49′50″E / 50.12056°N 11.83056°E / 50.12056; 11.83056
Source height 728 m above sea level
Mouth near Barby into the Elbe
51°57′17″N 11°54′50″E / 51.95472°N 11.91389°E / 51.95472; 11.91389
Mouth height 49.5 m above sea level
Descent 678.5 m
Basin Elbe
Progression Elbe → North Sea
Catchment 24,100 km²
Discharge Average mid:   115 m³/s
Right tributaries Weiße Elster
Left tributaries Ilm, Unstrut, Bode
Cities Jena, Halle (Saale)
Large towns Hof (Saale), Saalfeld/Saale, Rudolstadt, Naumburg (Saale), Weißenfels, Merseburg, Bernburg (Saale)
Ports Hafen Halle (Saale), Sophienhafen in Halle (Saale)
Notable bridges Saale bridge, Rudolphstein,
Old Saale bridge, Jena-Burgau
Navigable From its mouth to Bad Dürrenberg; for Europa ships to Halle-Trotha[1]
Petersgrat bei Hof Bayern.jpg
The Saale valley near Hof

The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale (German: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (German: Thüringische Saale), is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.

Course[edit]

Saale in Bad Kösen

The Saale originates on the slope of the Großer Waldstein mountain near Zell in the Fichtelgebirge in Upper Franconia (Bavaria), at an altitude of 728 m. It pursues a winding course in a northern direction, and after passing the manufacturing town of Hof, enters Thuringia. It flows amid well-wooded low mountains of the Thuringian Forest until it reaches the valley of Saalfeld. After leaving Saalfeld the Saale reaches Rudolstadt. Here it receives the waters of the Schwarza, in whose valley lies the ruined castle of Schwarzburg, the ancestral seat of the formerly ruling House of Schwarzburg.

From Saalfeld the Saale enters the limestone hill region north of the Thuringian Forest, and sweeps beneath the barren, conical hills enclosing the university town of Jena. It enters Saxony-Anhalt and passes the spa of Bad Kösen, washes numerous vine-clad hills and, after receiving the deep and navigable Unstrut at Naumburg, flows past Weißenfels, Merseburg, Halle, Bernburg and Calbe. It finally joins the Elbe just above Barby, after traversing a distance of 413 km (257 mi) (shortened 14 km (8.7 mi) by a bypass from its natural length of 427 kilometers (265 mi)).

The Saale is navigable from Naumburg and is connected with the Weiße Elster near Leipzig by a canal. The soil of the lower part of its valley is exceptionally fertile, and produces, amongst other crops, large supplies of sugar beet. Among its tributaries are the Weiße Elster, Regnitz and Orla on the right bank, and the Ilm, Unstrut, Salza, Wipper and Bode on the left. Its upper course is rapid. Its valley, down to Merseburg, contains many castles which crown the enclosing heights.

Geography[edit]

Originating in Zell, the Saale flows through – SparneckWeißdorf – Seulbitz – Förbau – Schwarzenbach an der Saale – Fattigau – OberkotzauHof – Brunnenthal – Saalenstein – Joditz – Landesgrenze Bayern/Thüringen – HirschbergSparnberg – Rudolphstein – BlankenbergBlankensteinHarra – Saaldorf – Saalburg – Poeritzsch – GräfenwarthBurgk – Walsburg – Ziegenrück – Neidenberga – HohenwarteEichichtKaulsdorf – Fischersdorf – Weischwitz – Reschwitz – BreternitzSaalfeldSchwarzaVolkstedtRudolstadt – Catharinau – Kolkwitz – Weißen – Uhlstädt – Rückersdorf – Zeutsch – Niederkrossen – OrlamündeFreienorlaGroßeutersdorfKleineutersdorfKahlaGroßpürschütz – Jägersdorf – Rothenstein – Maua – LobedaJena – Zwätzen – Porstendorf – DornburgDorndorf-SteudnitzWichmarCamburg – Tümpling – Großheringen – Kleinheringen – Landesgrenze Thüringen/Sachsen-Anhalt – Stendorf – SaaleckBad KösenNaumburg – Schellsitz - Schönburg – Eulau – GoseckLeißling – Lobitzsch – Uichteritz – Markweben – Weißenfels – Dehlitz – Schkortleben – Kleinkorbetha – GroßkorbethaOebles-SchlechtewitzWengelsdorfBad Dürrenberg – Kröllwitz – Leuna – Trebnitz – Merseburg – Meuschau – Freiimfelde – Schkopau – Korbetha – Hohenweiden – Rockendorf – HollebenHalle – Kröllwitz – Lettin – Brachwitz – Schiepzig – Salzmünde – Pfützthal – Döblitz – Zaschwitz – WettinKloschwitz – Rumpin – Dobis – Friedeburg – Zickeritz – Rothenburg – Nelben – Gnölbzig – Trebnitz – AlslebenPoplitz – Großwirschleben – PlötzkauGrönaNeubornaBernburgDröbelNienburgWedlitz – Damaschke Plan – Wispitz – CalbeTrabitzGroß Rosenburg – Werkleitz

Tributaries[edit]

Left (from source to mouth):

Right:

Etymology[edit]

The name Saale comes from a Proto-Indo-European root *séles ‘marsh’, akin to Welsh hêl, heledd ‘river meadow’, Cornish heyl ‘estuary’, Greek hélos ‘marsh, meadow’, Sanskrit sáras ‘lake, pond’, Sárasvati ‘sacred river’, Old Persian HarauvatiHārūt River; Arachosia’, Avestan Haraxvatī ‘id’.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

Sources[edit]

  • Ernst-Otto Luthardt, Reinhard Feldrapp: An der Saale. Vom Fichtelgebirge durch Thüringen bis zur Elbe. Würzburg 1990. ISBN 3-8035-1335-9
  • Wolf Thieme, Markus Altmann (Fotos): Mitten ins Herz. Sie entspringt in Bayern, durchquert Thüringen und fließt in Sachsen-Anhalt in die Elbe – die Saale ist ein Fluss, der alles verbindet. Und jedem Spaß macht: dem Sportler, dem Kulturfreund, dem Faulenzer. In: stern Nr. 26 (22. Juni 2006), S. 84-89. (Online-Version)