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Map of the Lech
|Main source||Northern Limestone Alps
1,865 metres (6,119 ft)
|Basin size||4,126 km2 (1,593 sq mi)|
|Length||264 kilometres (164 mi)|
The Lech (Latin: Licus, Licca) is a river in Austria and Germany. It is a right tributary of the Danube 264 kilometres (164 mi) in length with a drainage basin of 6,600 square kilometres (2,550 sq mi). Its source is located in the Austrian state of Vorarlberg, where the river rises from lake Formarinsee in the Alps at an altitude of 1,870 metres (6,120 ft). It flows in a north-north-easterly direction and crosses the German border, forming the Lechfall, a 12-metre-high (39 ft) waterfall; afterwards the river enters a narrow gorge (the Lechschlucht). Leaving the Alps, it enters the plains of the Allgäu at Füssen at an elevation of 790 metres (2,580 ft) in the German state of Bavaria, where it used to be the location of the boundary with Swabia. The river runs through the city of Füssen and through the Forggensee, a man-made lake which is drained in winter. Here, it forms rapids and a waterfall.
The river flows further northwards through a region called the Lechrain, and passes the cities of Schongau, Landsberg, Augsburg (where it receives the Wertach) and Rain before entering the Danube just below Donauwörth at an elevation of 410 metres (1,330 ft). It is not navigable, owing to its torrential character and the gravel beds which choke its channel. There is a particularly magnificent view of the Lech valley from Neuschwanstein Castle, near Füssen.
On more than one occasion, historic events have been decided on the banks of this river.
- In 278 Roman emperor Probus vanquished a larger invasion force of Burgundians and Vandals, which had been raiding the Roman province of Rhaetia.
- At Lechfeld, a stony plain between the Lech and the Wertach near Augsburg, Otto I defeated the Magyars in August 955.
- In the Battle of Rain in April 1632, Gustavus Adolphus of Sweden defeated and mortally wounded Johan Tzerclaes, Count of Tilly.
- Eberhard Pfeuffer: Der Lech. Wissner-Verlag, Augsburg 2010, ISBN 3-89639-768-0.
- R. Zettl: Lechauf-lechab. Wißner-Verlag 2002, ISBN 3-89639-316-2.
- Dr. Peter Nowotny: Erlebnis Lech. Verlag – J. Eberl KG, Immenstadt 2001.
- Dr. Bernhard Raster: Nutzung und anthropogene Veränderung des Lechs in historischer Zeit. Diss. Würzburg 1979.
- Bayerisches Hauptstaatsarchiv (Hrsg.): Altbayerische Flusslandschaften an Donau, Lech, Isar und Inn. = Ausstellungskatalog, Anton H. Konrad, Verlag Weißenhorn 1998.
- Werner Gamerith: Lechtal. Tyrolia Verlag, Innsbruck-Wien 2002.
- Peter Nasemann: Lebensraum Füssener Lech. Holdenrieds Druck- und Verlags GmbH, o. J.
- Norbert Müller: Augsburger Ökologische Schriften, Heft 2: Der Lech. Stadt Augsburg 1991, ISSN 0941-2123
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- The Lech in Füssen
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- Life-Naturschutzprojekt Tiroler Lech
- Lebensraum Lechtal
- Bericht über eine Kajaktour
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