Main (river)

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"Main River" redirects here. For other uses, see Main River (disambiguation).
Main
Würzburg Löwenbrücke.jpg
The Main River in Würzburg
Main-Karte-160710.jpg
Position of the Main in Germany
Country Germany
Basin
Main source Upper Franconia
50°5′11″N 11°23′54″E / 50.08639°N 11.39833°E / 50.08639; 11.39833
River mouth Rhine
49°59′40″N 8°17′36″E / 49.99444°N 8.29333°E / 49.99444; 8.29333Coordinates: 49°59′40″N 8°17′36″E / 49.99444°N 8.29333°E / 49.99444; 8.29333
Basin size 27,292 km2 (10,538 sq mi)
Physical characteristics
Length 527 km (327 mi)
Discharge
  • Average rate:
    200 m3/s (7,100 cu ft/s)

The Main (German pronunciation: [ˈmaɪn]) is a river in Germany. With a length of 527 km (327 mi) (including the White Main: 574 km (357 mi)), it is the longest right tributary of the Rhine, and the longest river lying entirely in Germany (if the Weser and the Werra are considered as two separate rivers; together they are longer). The largest cities along the Main are Frankfurt am Main and Würzburg.

Geography[edit]

The Main River 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 originates in the Franconian Jura mountain range, 50 km (31 mi) in length, and runs through Creussen and Bayreuth. The White Main originates in the mountains of the Fichtelgebirge; it is 41 km (25 mi) long. In its upper and middle section it runs through the valleys of the German Highlands. Its lower section crosses the Lower Main Lowlands (Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin and northern Upper Rhine Plain) to Wiesbaden, where it discharges into the Rhine. Major tributaries of the Main are the Regnitz, the Franconian Saale, the Tauber, and the Nidda.

The name derives from the Latin Moenus or Menus, and is not related to the name of the city Mainz (Latin: Moguntiacum).

Navigation[edit]

The Main is navigable for shipping from its mouth at the Rhine close to Mainz for 396 kilometres (246 mi) 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 Main has been canalized with 34 large locks (300 m × 12 m (984 ft × 39 ft)) to allow CEMT class V (110 m × 11.45 m (360.9 ft × 37.6 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.

Dams and locks[edit]

Dams along the Main

There are 34 dams and locks along the 380 km navigable portion of the Main, from the confluence with the Regnitz near Bamberg, to the Rhine.[1]

  • No.: Number of the lock (from upstream to downstream).
  • Name: Name of the lock.
  • Location: City or town where the lock is located.
  • Year built: Year when the lock was put into operation (replacement dates are also listed where applicable).
  • Main-km: Location on the Main, measured from the 0 km stone in Mainz-Kostheim. The reference point is the center of the lock or lock group.
  • Distance between locks : length in km of impoundment (between adjacent locks).
  • Altitude: height in meters above mean sea level of the upper water at normal levels.
  • Height: Height of the dam in meters (the height of the Kostheim lock depends on the water level of the Rhine).
  • Lock length: Usable length of the lock chamber in meters.
  • Lock width: Usable width of the lock chamber in meters.
No. Name Location Year built Main-km Distance between locks (km) Altitude (m) Height (m) Lock length (m) Lock width (m)
1 Viereth Viereth-Trunstadt 1925 380.699 230.86 6.00 289.80 12.00
2 Limbach Eltmann 1951 367.176 13.523 224.86 5.36 299.10 12.00
3 Knetzgau Knetzgau (Haßfurt) 1958 359.781 7.395 219.50 4.24 298.85 12.00
4 Ottendorf Gädheim 1962 345.263 14.518 215.26 7.59 301.60 12.00
5 Schweinfurt Schweinfurt 1963 332.037 13.226 207.67 4.67 300.60 12.00
6 Garstadt Bergrheinfeld 1956 323.503 8.534 203.00 4.69 299.75 12.00
7 Wipfeld Wipfeld 1950 316.289 7.214 198.31 4.31 300.15 12.00
8 Gerlachshausen mit Volkach Volkach (Schwarzach am Main) 1957 300.506 15.783 194.00 6.30 300.00 12.00
9 Dettelbach Dettelbach 1959 295.398 5.108 187.70 5.50 299.35 12.00
10 Kitzingen Kitzingen 1956 283.979 11.419 182.20 3.66 299.80 12.00
11 Marktbreit Marktbreit (Frickenhausen am Main) 1955 275.681 8.298 178.54 3.31 296.40 12.00
12 Goßmannsdorf Ochsenfurt 1952 269.028 6.653 175.23 3.40 296.90 12.00
13 Randersacker Würzburg (Randersacker) 1950 258.885 10.143 171.83 3.30 299.60 12.00
14 Würzburg Würzburg 1954 252.512 6.373 168.53 2.75 293.10 12.00
15 Erlabrunn Erlabrunn (Thüngersheim) 1935 241.204 11.308 165.78 4.15 299.20 12.00
16 Himmelstadt Himmelstadt 1939 232.290 8.914 161.63 4.30 299.50 12.00
17 Harrbach Karlstadt (Gemünden am Main) 1939 219.466 12.824 157.33 4.90 299.45 12.00
18 Steinbach Lohr am Main 1939 200.673 18.793 152.43 5.14 299.10 12.00
19 Rothenfels Rothenfels (Marktheidenfeld) 1937 185.887 14.786 147.29 5.26 298.45 12.00
20 Lengfurt Triefenstein 1937 174.508 11.379 142.03 3.99 300.08 11.98
21 Eichel Wertheim 1937 160.467 14.041 138.04 4.50 299.92 12.00
22 Faulbach Wertheim (Faulbach) 1935 147.065 13.402 133.54 4.51 299.80 12.10
23 Freudenberg Collenberg (Freudenberg) 1934 133.948 13.117 129.03 4.51 300.00 12.00
24 Heubach Großheubach (Miltenberg) 1932 122.360 11.588 124.52 4.00 300.00 12.00
25 Klingenberg Klingenberg am Main 1930 113.050 9.310 120.52 4.00 300.71 12.05
26 Wallstadt Kleinwallstadt (Großwallstadt) 1930 101.203 11.847 116.52 4.00 299.93 12.00
27 Obernau Niedernberg (Aschaffenburg) 1930 92.909 8.294 112.52 4.01 299.18 12.00
28 Kleinostheim Kleinostheim (Stockstadt am Main) 1920
1972
77.905 15.004 108.51 6.80 298.36
298.22
12.04
12.02
29 Krotzenburg Hainburg (Großkrotzenburg) 1920
1983
63.850 14.055 101.71 2.74 302.30
300.01
12.00
12.00
30 Mühlheim
(formerly Kesselstadt)
Maintal (Mühlheim am Main) 1920
1980
53.185 10.385 98.97 3.77 299.90 12.04
31 Offenbach Frankfurt am Main (Offenbach am Main) 1901
1957
38.514 14.671 95.20 3.18 344.03
230.07
12.09
13.05
32 Griesheim Frankfurt am Main 1934 28.687 9.827 92.02 4.49 344.05
344.38
12.00
15.00
33 Eddersheim Hattersheim am Main (Kelsterbach) 1934 15.551 13.136 87.53 3.61 345.46
344.26
12.05
15.05
34 Kostheim Hochheim am Main (Ginsheim-Gustavsburg) 1886
1934
3.209 12.342 83.92
2.36
(MW Rhine)
341.90
339.02
15.00
Door: 12.00
Chamber: 20.00

Hydroelectric power generation[edit]

Most of the dams along the Main also have turbines for power generation.

  • No.: Number of the dam (from upstream to downstream).
  • Name: Name of the dam.
  • Height: Height of the dam in meters (the height of the Kostheim dam depends on the water level of the Rhine).
  • Power: Maximum power generation capacity in megawatts.
  • Turbines: Type and number of turbines.
  • Operator: Operator of the hydroelectric plant.
No. Name Height (m) Power (MW) Turbines Operator
1 Viereth 6.00 6.20 Francis(3), Kaplan(1) E.ON Wasserkraft
2 Limbach 5.36 3.70 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
3 Knetzgau 4.24 2.90 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
4 Ottendorf 7.59 6.30 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
5 Schweinfurt 4.67 3.80 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
6 Garstadt 4.69 3.90 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
7 Wipfeld 4.31 2.90 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
8 Gerlachshausen mit Volkach 6.30 3.90 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
9 Dettelbach 5.50 4.20 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
10 Kitzingen 3.66 3.00 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
11 Marktbreit 3.31 2.10 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
12 Goßmannsdorf 3.40 2.00 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
13 Randersacker 3.30 2.00 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
14 Würzburg 2.75 0.90 Kaplan(3) E.ON Wasserkraft
15 Erlabrunn 4.15 2.70 Kaplan(1) E.ON Wasserkraft
16 Himmelstadt 4.30 2.50 Kaplan(1) E.ON Wasserkraft
17 Harrbach 4.90 3.00 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
18 Steinbach 5.14 4.20 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
19 Rothenfels 5.26 4.20 Kaplan(2) E.ON Wasserkraft
20 Lengfurt 3.99 2.60 E.ON Wasserkraft
21 Eichel 4.50 3.10 E.ON Wasserkraft
22 Faulbach 4.51 4.10 E.ON Wasserkraft
23 Freudenberg 4.51 4.30 E.ON Wasserkraft
24 Heubach 4.00 3.40 E.ON Wasserkraft
25 Klingenberg 4.00 3.00 E.ON Wasserkraft
26 Wallstadt 4.00 3.40 E.ON Wasserkraft
27 Obernau 4.01 3.20 E.ON Wasserkraft
28 Kleinostheim 6.80 9.70 E.ON Wasserkraft
29 Krotzenburg 2.74
30 Mühlheim 3.77 4.80 E.ON Wasserkraft
31 Offenbach 3.18 4.10 E.ON Wasserkraft
32 Griesheim 4.49 4.90 Kaplan(3) Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt Aschaffenburg
33 Eddersheim 3.61 3.84 Kaplan(3) Wasser- und Schifffahrtsamt Aschaffenburg
34 Kostheim 2.36 4.9 Kaplan Pit-Rohrturbinen(2) WKW Staustufe Kostheim/Main GmbH & Co. KG (Gebaut und Betrieben von Stadtwerke Ulm/Neu-Ulm)

Tributaries[edit]

Tributaries from source to mouth:

Ports and municipalities[edit]

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.

The river has gained enormous importance as a vital part of European "Corridor VII", the inland waterway link from the North Sea to the Black Sea.[2]

Main line[edit]

Main article: Main line (political)

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 river course also corresponds with the Speyer line isogloss between Central and Upper German dialects, sometimes mocked as Weißwurstäquator.

Recreation[edit]

Main-Radweg Logo

The Main-Radweg is a major German bicycle path running along the Main River. It is approximately 600 kilometres (370 mi) 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.[3]

Sights[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Daten und Fakten" [Facts and figures] (in German). Wasser- und Schifffahrtsdirektion Süd. June 2003. Retrieved 7 June 2009. 
  2. ^ "NoorderSoft Waterways Database". Retrieved 2007-10-24. 
  3. ^ "Main-Radweg". Retrieved 23 April 2013. 

Bibliography[edit]

  • 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.

External links[edit]