Franconian Saale

from Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Franconian Saale
Course of the Franconian Saale

Course of the Franconian Saale

Water code EN : 244
location Germany
River system Rhine
Drain over Main  → Rhine  → North Sea
source in the Grabfeld near Bad Königshofen
50 ° 17 ′ 57 ″  N , 10 ° 35 ′ 40 ″  E
Source height 313  m above sea level NN
muzzle near Gemünden in the Main Coordinates: 50 ° 3 ′ 21 ″  N , 9 ° 41 ′ 6 ″  E 50 ° 3 ′ 21 ″  N , 9 ° 41 ′ 6 ″  E
Mouth height 154  m above sea level NHN
Height difference 159 m
Bottom slope 1.1 ‰
length 140 km 
152.8 km with the spleen as the upper course
Catchment area 2,766.45 km²
Discharge at the Wolfsmünster
A Eo gauge: 2,120.89 km²
Location: 6.9 km above the mouth
NNQ (1954)
MNQ 1950–2007
MQ 1950–2007
Mq 1950–2007
MHQ 1950–2007
HHQ (2003)
500 l / s
4.14 m³ / s
16.6 m³ / s
7.8 l / (s km²)
137 m³ / s
440 m³ / s
A Eo : 2,763.82 km²
at the mouth
24.2 m³ / s
8.8 l / (s km²)
Left tributaries Barget, Lauer
(for this / more see # tributaries )
Right tributaries Spleen , Streu , Brend , Premich , Thulba , Schondra , Sinn
(for these / more see # tributaries )
Medium-sized cities Bad Kissingen
Small towns Bad Königshofen , Bad Neustadt , Hammelburg , Gemünden
Navigable only in Bad Kissingen
Franconian Saale with Saaleck Castle near Hammelburg

Franconian Saale with Saaleck Castle near Hammelburg

The northern source of the Franconian Saale near Alsleben
Bronze plaque at the source of the northern source stream
Source of the Saale near Obereßfeld
The Franconian Saale near Morlesau

The Franconian Saale is an approximately 140 km long, northeastern and right tributary of the Main in the Bavarian Lower Franconia . It arises in Grabfeld near Bad Königshofen from two source streams and flows into the Main near Gemünden ( FS-km  211.0).

First mention and interpretation of the name

The Franconian Saale was mentioned for the first time in 777 under the names "Sala" and "Salu" in a Fulda document book. These terms with the general meaning as flowing water can already be found in the Greek geographer Strabo (about 63 BC to 23 AD).


Spring streams

The Franconian Saale arises in the Grabfeld east and south-east of Bad Königshofen from two source streams:

  • Your northern source stream rises in the Saalbrunnen, 1.7 kilometers east of Alsleben , a district of Trappstadt , on the road to Gompertshausen below 390 meters above sea level. NN high Kapellenberg at 313 meters above sea level. NN. The first source of sandstone from the 1940s was redesigned in 1973 and received its present representative appearance in 1985. A bronze plaque by Erich Husemann from Trappstadt has been pointing out the importance of the Franconian Saale since 1987.
  • A few kilometers south, near the Heckenmühle near Obereßfeld, municipality of Sulzdorf an der Lederhecke , the southern source stream rises from the salt hole. Until the confluence with the northern source stream near Bad Königshofen-Untereßfeld, it also bears the names Saalegraben and Dagigbach.

Course and mouth

From the confluence of the two source streams not far south-east of Bad Königshofen, the Franconian Saale flows mostly in a south-westerly direction along the south-eastern edge of the Rhön , including via Bad Neustadt , Bad Bocklet , Bad Kissingen , Hammelburg and Gräfendorf , where you can see the Schondra from the right and near Gemünden as largest tributary that flows into Sinn . Immediately after flowing through Gemünden , coming from the northeast, it reaches the Main with an average water flow of around 24 m³ / s. It is its largest right tributary.


Graphic overviews

The river system of the Franconian Saale is characterized in particular by eight main tributaries, only one of which joins from the left.

According to length
Milz (Fluss) Streu (Fränkische Saale) Brend (Fluss) Lauer (Fluss) Premich (Fluss) Thulba Schondra (Fluss) Sinn (Fluss)
By catchment area
Milz (Fluss) Streu (Fränkische Saale) Brend (Fluss) Lauer (Fluss) Premich (Fluss) Thulba Schondra (Fluss) Sinn (Fluss) Einzugsgebiet

Table overview

The following tributaries of the Franconian Saale have a catchment area of ​​at least 10 km²:

Surname page Length


[l / s]

[on FS-km]
Mouth GKZ
Saalgraben Left 003.90 015.20 005.90 Bad Königshofen- Untereßfeld 244-111?
Weissbach right 010.760 026.260 009.77 Bad Koenigshofen 244-112
Haubach right 010.140 029.410 015.24 Großeibstadt 244-114
Barget Left 09.380 025.100 019.67 Kleineibstadt 244-116
Albach Left 07.260 017.400 020.25 below Kleineibstadt 244-118
spleen right 036.440 0186.070 1090
(158.17 km²)
023.63 Hall on the Saale 244-12
Dippbach right 06.900 015.210 031.91 above Hollstadt 244-196
Litter right 041.860 0447.860 3690
(434.68 km²)
038.23 Haystack 244-2
Brend right 029.720 0140.070 1580
(111.11 km²)
042.75 Bad Neustadt an der Saale 244-32
Lurking Left 033.240 0298.490 1610
(258.65 km²)
047.56 Niederlauer 244-4
Premich right 018.370 093.880 058.97 between Steinach and Roth an der Saale 244-52
Aschach right 012.320 039.980 068.06 Aschach 244-532
Nüdlinger Bach Left 06.130 025.970 075.56 Bad Kissingen- Hausen 244-534
Lollbach Left 07.060 026.350 084.23 west of KG- Arnshausen 244-536
Sulzbach Left 003.20 015.20 088.80 Your village 244-39?
Thulba right 032.110 0139.880 0806
(77.98 km²)
0111.94 Hammelburg 244-54
Klingenbach right 06.190 019.620 0115.69 Hammelburg- Diebach 244-592
Waizenbach right 07.080 023.470 0127.72 above Gräfendorf 244-594
Schondra right 031.300 0164.270 0128.75 Graefendorf 244-6
sense right 069.380 0622.570 5910
(463.63 km²)
0139.29 Gemünden am Main 244-8

A more comprehensive list, which also includes small tributaries, can be found in the list of tributaries of the Franconian Saale .

The Sinn flows into the Franconian Saale

Main hydrological strand

Catchment area of ​​the Franconian Saale

From a hydrological point of view, the Franconian Saale is not the main strand of the river system named after it on its upper reaches. At the inflow of the Spleen on the upper course near Saal an der Saale, it exceeds the course of the Franconian Saale to that point according to two of the three usual criteria, namely discharge and catchment area, which is, however, noticeably longer.

The same situation occurs further downwards at the inflow of the Streu near Heustreu, which also brings more water from a larger catchment area than the Franconian Saale to there - and is even longer, at least if you don't use the Franconian Saale, according to the above “Corrective”, starts at the milk source.

Very shortly before the confluence in Gemünden am Main, another important tributary flows into the Sinn, which is now both poorer in water, less inland and also shorter than the Saale up to this point, but increases its flow by more than 40%.

A map from 1621 saw the Streu - with the inscription Straÿ Flu ('Streu-Fluss') as far as Gemünden - as the main branch of the river system.

The following table shows more details. However, the gauges are all well above the relevant confluences, which is why they only cover part of the runoff of the relevant catchment area. In particular, the level on the Franconian Saale above the Streu only has about 55% of the sub-catchment area up to the Streu inflow behind it, while that of the Sinn only has about three quarters of its catchment area.

Surname Length

Length with the
upper course
EZG in
front of the gauge

Discharge (MQ)
at level

[l / s]

Drain (MQ) ;

[l / s]
Franconian Saale above Spleen 023.630 023.630 0075.940 00.411 0182.490 ~ 00,000 244-11
spleen 036.440 036.440 0158.170 01,090 0186.070 ~ 00,000 244-12
Franconian Saale above Streu 038.230 051.040 0234.110 01,501 0424.340 ~ 00,000 244-1
Litter 041.860 041.860 0434.680 03,690 0447.860 ~ 00,000 244-2
Franconian Saale above Sinn 0139.290 139.290 02120.890 016,300 02143.670 ~ 016,500 244- [1… 7]
sense 069.380 000.000 0463.630 05,910 0622.570 ~ 07,055 244-8

River system

Cities and municipalities on the Franconian Saale

The following cities and communities are located on the Franconian Saale:



Bad Kissingen , Westheim, Diebach , Gräfendorf , Wolfsmünster and Gemünden are particularly affected by regular flooding in the town centers near the Saalen , as the high water marks on historic buildings attest. Bad Kissingen often experiences floods several times in a year. However, flood protection measures have been implemented in the historic city center by building weirs and protective barriers.

Level measurements

Level measurements take place in Bad Königshofen, Bad Neustadt / Salz, Bad Kissingen (Prinzregentenbau level, golf course level) and Wolfsmünster. The measuring stands are published by the Schweinfurt Water Management Office.

nature and environment


For centuries, the Franconian Saale was redesigned by people in the interest of more intensive use of the Saale valley. The course of the river was straightened by piercing meander arches. The width of the river has been standardized over long stretches. Alluvial forests were cleared and the banks fortified, water mills , small hydroelectric power stations and weirs were built, and former flood plains were built.

All of this has seriously affected the ecological functioning of the river. Bank construction and weirs change the speed of flow and patency, destroy the unity of river and floodplain and encourage devastating floods . For a number of years, projects by the Schweinfurt Water Management Office have been trying to restore some of the old ecological function of the Franconian Saale by dismantling bank reinforcements, bypassing weirs and reforesting alluvial forests.


In the Franconian Saale there are eels , aitel , aland , grayling , brook trout , brook loach , barbel , bitterling , bream , minnow , river perch , gudgeon , hazel , pike , rudder , Mühlkoppe , nose , roach , rudd , rod and mirror carp , as well as occasionally the signal cancer before.

The confluence of the two source streams at Untereßfeld
Franconian Saale in Bad Kissingen (Kurpark)


Early shipping

Up until the 14th century, the Franconian Saale and its tributaries carried significantly more water than today, because at that time the heights of their tributaries such as the Rhön and Grabfeld were denser with deciduous forests and the humus soils could release rain and soil water more evenly. The normal water level of the Saale corresponded to an average flood of today, so that the shore landscapes were wet to swampy. Except for towpaths , the Saale meadows and meadows were hardly passable. It was impossible to use carts or armored riders outside of fixed routes. To make matters worse, the river could not be crossed at any point. There were only a few bridges and fords. The fact that the Franconian Saale must have been navigable as early as 790 is proven by Einhard's entry in the Reichsannalen from that year. As the writer of Charlemagne noted, “(...) the king (Karl) went by ship up the Rhine to the palace that he had built for salt in Germany on the Franconian Saale and then returned on the same river back to the valley in Worms ... “. As early as 777, Charlemagne had transferred his Saale-Franconian property Hammelburg and the entire area to the Fulda Monastery , which made it possible to prevent shipping between places above and below the city or to levy customs duties at the ford near Hammelburg .

Shipping today

There have been steam ships on the Saale since 1878. The Saaleschifffahrt GmbH still owns two ships called "Dampferle" in dialect, which run every 40 minutes during the week and every 20 minutes at the weekend in Bad Kissingen between the rose garden and the saltworks . The names of the ships powered by diesel engines today are Kissingen (built in 1926) and Saline (built in 1964).


Bridges over the Saale

Pedestrian bridge over the young Saale near Untereßfeld
Pontoon bridge over the Franconian Saale at the Roßmühle
Saale bridge near Michelau on the Saale

Important river crossings are:

  • at km 108.3 motorway bridge of the A 71 near Hollstadt
  • at km 108.0 road bridge of the B 279 near Hollstadt
  • at km 99.8 railway bridge on the main Schweinfurt - Schmalkalden line
  • at km 96.5 road bridge of the B 19 near Bad Neustadt
  • at km 60.4 road bridge in Bad Kissingen
  • at km 51.5 two road bridges near Euerdorf
  • At km 48.0 the road bridge in Aura connects the large and small aura
  • at km 44.2 the railway bridge of the Saale Valley Railway near Trimberg
  • road bridge at km 41.5 at the end of Elfershausen
  • at km 41.0 motorway bridge of the A 7 Kassel-Würzburg
  • at km 32.8 road bridge of the B 287 in Hammelburg-Fuchsstadt
  • at km 29.8 road bridge of the Hammelburg bypass
  • at km 26.4 road bridge in Hammelburg
  • at km 24.1 road bridge in Diebach
  • at km 20.0 road bridge in Morlesau
  • at km 17.1 pontoon bridge Roßmühle near Weickersgrüben
  • at km 15.0 road bridge in Michelau
  • at km 9.8 road bridge near Schonderfeld
  • at km 7.9 historic road bridge in Wolfsmünster
  • at km 4.0 pedestrian walkway at Schönau Abbey
  • at km 0.6 two road bridges in Gemünden
  • at km 0.1 railway bridge of the Main-Spessart-Bahn Würzburg - Frankfurt am Main in Gemünden

The Saale Bridge near Hammelburg

Until the Saale bridge was built in 1121, only one ford made it possible to cross the Franconian Saale at the gates of Hammelburg. The heavily fortified city, which belongs to the area of ​​the Fulda monastery, controlled the important highway running there from Italy via Augsburg , Swabia , Würzburg , to Kassel, as well as to the Netherlands and the North Sea ports . In the middle of the five-arched stone bridge stood a defensive tower as an outpost . Another bulwark, the Saaleck Castle towering on the left bank of the Saale , also belonging to Hammelburg, protected the transition from the south. The troops of Würzburg Prince-Bishop Hermann I von Lobdeburg tried to take Saaleck, the bridge and the city several times between 1224 and 1265. Further attempts by his successors also failed. This dispute ended only after a good two hundred years through a mandate from Emperor Maximilian and finally through a decision of the Imperial Chamber Court of 1552 in favor of Fulda. The regulations lasted until Hammelburg was incorporated into the Kingdom of Bavaria in 1816. Then the gate tower on the Saale bridge was dragged.

In 1945, at the end of the Second World War , German pioneers blew up parts of the Romanesque arch bridge. Although the damage interrupted traffic, it was not so severe that the bridge could not have been restored. Instead, the remains of the historic building were removed and a new reinforced concrete structure was built in 1952 . Since then, the successor bridge in front of Hammelburg swings in an elegant curve over the Saale.

Castles and Palaces

View over the Trimburg into the Saale valley

There are some interesting castles and fortresses on the Saale:


Weir at the Roßmühle with fish ladder

Numerous weirs can be found in the course of the Franconian Saale, originally built to drive water mills, today some are used to generate electricity. All weirs are provided with fish ladders:

  • at km 58.5 weir near Bad Kissingen
  • Karwinkelsmühle weir at km 50.5
  • at km 48.0 two weirs at Aura
  • at km 43.8 weir near Trimberg
  • at km 41.9 weir Saalemühle near Elfershausen
  • at km 38.5 weir near Langendorf
  • at km 37.7 weir near Westheim
  • at km 36.8 weir Fuchsstätter Mühlen
  • at km 29.1 weir Herrenmühle Hammelburg
  • At km 28.1 weir former power plant of the old town monastery (Hammelburg)
  • at km 27.6 weir Schloss Saaleck
  • at km 24.1 weir Rödermühle, Diebach, power station
  • at km 22.5 weir Neumühle, power station
  • at km 17.0 weir Roßmühle, power station
  • Wolfsmünster weir at km 7.7
  • at km 4.0 weir Kloster Schönau
  • at km 1.5 weir Gemünden (derelict)

The Saale Valley Railway

Along the lower reaches of the Fränkischen Saale the wrong Saale Talbahn of Bad Kissingen about Hammelburg and Graefendorf to Gemünden. On the upper reaches there was the Grabfeldbahn until 1997 , which connected Bad Neustadt with Bad Königshofen.


Some Rhön circular routes and main hiking trails run by the Rhön Club run along the Franconian Saale. The longest long-distance hiking trail in the Rhön, the Main-Werra-Weg, leads through the Saale valley via Bad Kissingen to Vacha on the Werra. The Karolingerweg leads from Karlburg along the Franconian Saale to Bad Königshofen.

Water hiking

Despite the many weirs, the Franconian Saale is popular with canoeists as a slowly flowing and dreamy hiking river. It can be used from Bad Neustadt to Gemünden with few restrictions. There is a night driving ban from March 1 to July 31 from 6:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m., otherwise from 9:00 p.m. to 7:00 a.m. Boats may have a maximum of four places, be no longer than 6.00 meters and no wider than 1.10 meters. Rafting , rafting and the coupling of boats are not allowed. There is an obligation to notify for organized commercial boat events. With a few exceptions, the weirs are not passable and have to be moved.

References and comments

  1. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  2. Length according to: List of brook and river areas in Bavaria - Main river area, page 92 of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment, status 2016 (PDF; 3.3 MB)
    Slightly different value of 139.1 km according to: Flood risk management plan, catchment area Bayerischer Main : Planning unit → River Main from mouth of Regnitz: Water system , accessed on June 3, 2012, at
  3. Length with the upper reaches of the Milz according to: List of brook and river areas in Bavaria - Main river area, page 93 of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment, as of 2016 (PDF; 3.3 MB) and the total length indicated on the previous page
  4. ↑ Catchment area according to: List of brook and river areas in Bavaria - Main river area, page 92 of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment, as of 2016 (PDF; 3.3 MB)
    Slightly different value of 2764.8 km² according to: Flood Action Plan
    Main ( Memento from 6 July 2009 in the web archive ), from
  5. Flood news service Bavaria: situation report (current; level data from September 6, 2011), on
  6. a b Discharge data for the Wolfsmünster (Fränkische Saale) and Mittelinn ( Sinn ) gauges, increased by the discharge of the remaining catchment area below (179.3 km²), for which, based on the Hydrological Atlas of Germany, an area discharge of around 9.5 l / s.km² is set.
  7. a b c d e f g h i Directory of brook and river areas in Bavaria - Main river area of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment, as of 2016 (PDF; 3.3 MB)
  8. a b c Flood news service of the Bavarian State Office for the Environment ( information )
  9. FS-km : Kilometers of the Franconian Saale downstream from the source
  10. a b Length, catchment area and FS-km measured in the BayernAtlas of the Bavarian State Government ( information )
  11. The level of the Sinn covers only 74.5% of the catchment area with a discharge (Mq) of 12.75 l / (s · km²). If one assumes a discharge rate of 8 to 10 l / (s · km²) for the remaining catchment area, one arrives at a mean discharge (MQ) of 6,930 to 7,180 l / s for its entire area. That is 42 to 43.5% of the value for the Franconian Saale above, for which an MQ of 16,500 l / s can be achieved with a corresponding imputed addition.
  12. ^ Map of Franckenland (Hondius, Jodocus: Atlas minor; 431)
  13. The discharge (MQ = mean discharge) was extrapolated
  14. Ges.-EZG = total catchment area (in km²)
  15. With the spleen as the longest upper course
  16. Fishing Association of Lower Franconia: Our Waters ( Memento of the original from September 25, 2014 in the Internet Archive ) Info: The archive link was automatically inserted and not yet checked. Please check the original and archive link according to the instructions and then remove this notice. , on @1@ 2Template: Webachiv / IABot /


Web links

Commons : Fränkische Saale  - Collection of images, videos and audio files