Lower Franconia

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Lower Franconia
Unterfranken (German)
Flag of Lower Franconia
Coat of arms of Lower Franconia
Map of Bavaria highlighting Lower Franconia
Map of Bavaria highlighting Lower Franconia
Region seatWürzburg
 • District PresidentEugen Ehmann
 • Total8,530.99 km2 (3,293.83 sq mi)
 (31 December 2022)[1]
 • Total1,334,376
 • Density160/km2 (410/sq mi)
 • Total€56.994 billion (2021)

Lower Franconia (German: Unterfranken) is one of seven districts of Bavaria, Germany. The districts of Lower, Middle and Upper Franconia make up the region of Franconia. It consists of nine districts and 308 municipalities (including three cities).


After the founding of the Kingdom of Bavaria the state was totally reorganised and, in 1808, divided into 15 administrative government regions (German: Regierungsbezirke, singular Regierungsbezirk), in Bavaria called Kreise (singular: Kreis). They were created in the fashion of the French departements, quite even in size and population, and named after their main rivers.

In the following years, due to territorial changes (e. g. loss of Tyrol, addition of the Palatinate), the number of Kreise was reduced to 8. One of these was the Untermainkreis (Lower Main District). In 1837 king Ludwig I of Bavaria renamed the Kreise after historical territorial names and tribes of the area. This also involved some border changes or territorial swaps. Thus the name Untermainkreis changed to Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg, but the city name was dropped in the middle of the 20th century, leaving just Lower Franconia.

From 1933, the regional Nazi Gauleiter, Otto Hellmuth, (who had renamed his party Gau "Mainfranken") insisted on renaming the government district Mainfranken as well. He encountered resistance from Bavarian state authorities but finally succeeded in having the name of the district changed, effective 1 June 1938.[3] After 1945 the name Unterfranken was restored.

The municipal reform (Kreisreform) of June 1972 consolidated the 22 country districts of Lower Franconia into nine.

New district Former district(s)
Aschaffenburg Aschaffenburg, Alzenau
Bad Kissingen Bad Kissingen, Bad Brückenau, Hammelburg
Haßberge Ebern, Haßfurt, Hofheim in Unterfranken, part of Gerolzhofen
Kitzingen Kitzingen, part of Gerolzhofen
Main-Spessart Gemünden, Karlstadt, Lohr, part of Marktheidenfeld
Miltenberg Miltenberg, Obernburg, part of Marktheidenfeld
Rhön-Grabfeld Bad Neustadt an der Saale, Königshofen, Mellrichstadt
Schweinfurt Schweinfurt, part of Gerolzhofen
Würzburg Würzburg, Ochsenfurt, part of Gerolzhofen, part of Marktheidenfeld

Unterfranken is the north-west part of Franconia and consists of three district-free cities (Kreisfreie Städte) and nine country districts (Landkreise).

The major portion of the Franconian wine region is situated in Lower Franconia.


The Gross domestic product (GDP) of the region was 53.7 billion € in 2018, accounting for 1.6% of German economic output. GDP per capita adjusted for purchasing power was 37,500 € or 124% of the EU27 average in the same year. The GDP per employee was 102% of the EU average.[4]

Coat of arms[edit]

The coat of arms includes the "Franconian Rake" (the arms of Duchy of Franconia) in the upper portion, the "Rennfähnlein [de]", a banner, quarterly argent (silver) and gules (red), on a lance or (gold), in bend, on an azure (blue) field, associated with Würzburg in the lower left quadrant, and a white/silver wheel on a red field symbolizing the clerical state of Mainz, in the lower right quadrant.

Area and population[edit]

City or District Population (2013) Area (km2) Communities
City of Aschaffenburg 67,748 5.22% 62 0.7% 1 0.3%
City of Schweinfurt 51,918 4.00% 36 0.4% 1 0.3%
City of Würzburg 124,154 9,57% 88 1.0% 1 0.3%
Aschaffenburg 172,521 13.30% 699 8.2% 32 10.4%
Bad Kissingen 103,003 7.94% 1,137 13.3% 26 8.4%
Haßberge 84,136 6.49% 956 11.2% 26 8.4%
Kitzingen 88,025 6.79% 684 8.0% 31 10.1%
Main-Spessart 126,458 9.75% 1,322 15.5% 40 13.0%
Miltenberg 127,980 9.87% 716 8.4% 32 10.4%
Rhön-Grabfeld 80,065 6.17% 1,022 12.0% 37 12.0%
Schweinfurt 112,916 8.71% 842 9.9% 29 9.4%
Würzburg 158,132 12.19% 968 11.3% 52 16.9%
Total 1,297,056 100.0% 8,531 100.0% 308 100.0%
Historical population
1910 710,943
1939 844,732
1950 1,038,930
1961 1,089,983
1970 1,181,309
1987 1,202,711
2002 1,344,300
2005 1,341,481
2010 1,318,695
2015 1,306,048
2019 1,317,619

Main sights[edit]

Würzburg Residenz
Aschaffenburg, Johannisburg

Next to the former episcopal residence cities of Würzburg (with Veitshöchheim) and Aschaffenburg, the towns of Miltenberg, Amorbach and Werneck, the scenic attractions of the River Main including the Mainschleife at Volkach and the low mountain ranges of the Rhön with the spa town Bad Kissingen and of the Spessart with Mespelbrunn Castle belong to the major tourist attractions.

Notable people from Lower Franconia[edit]

Institutes of higher education[edit]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Genesis Online-Datenbank des Bayerischen Landesamtes für Statistik Tabelle 12411-003r Fortschreibung des Bevölkerungsstandes: Gemeinden, Stichtag (Einwohnerzahlen auf Grundlage des Zensus 2011) (Hilfe dazu).
  2. ^ "EU regions by GDP, Eurostat". Retrieved 18 September 2023.
  3. ^ "Mainfranken – Historisches Lexikon Bayerns". www.historisches-lexikon-bayerns.de (in German).
  4. ^ "Regional GDP per capita ranged from 30% to 263% of the EU average in 2018". Eurostat.

External links[edit]