Main Franconia

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The region or regional region Main Franconia comprises two of the three regions of the Bavarian administrative district Lower Franconia , namely Region 2, Würzburg and Region 3, Main-Rhön with its regional centers Würzburg and Schweinfurt . The Spessart separates Main Franconia from Region 1 Bavarian Lower Main . Mainfranken refers to the areas of Lower Franconia located on the Maindreieck and the eastern Mainviereck . Main Franconia thus largely coincides with the Franconian wine-growing region (excluding the vineyards in the western Mainviereck and on the Hahnenkamm as well as in Central Franconia) . In some cases, however, the term “Main Franconia” is used differently from this narrow definition, for example for the geographical definition of the Main Franconian dialects .

Location of Main Franconia in Germany


"Main Franconia" is not a region in the sense of regional planning at state level, regional and state planning or the Bavarian state development program, according to which Lower Franconia is divided into the three (planning) regions of Bavarian Lower Main (Region 1), Würzburg (Region 2) and Main-Rhön (Region 3), each of which is administered by regional planning associations. In general usage, Main Franconia can mean most of the Franconian areas located on the Main and also outside of Lower Franconia. In addition, Mainfranken is sometimes used to refer to the medieval duchy of Eastern Franconia . While in this regard the Upper Main is part of Eastern Franconia, the Middle Main is already part of Western Franconia. The Bavarian Lower Main, as a former Kurmainzian territory, does not belong to Main Franconia, but only to the Bavarian administrative district Lower Franconia.

By Fritz Knapp , professor of art history at the University of Würzburg, the term in his book , a history of art History - Main Franken as art province "Mainfranken" defines which of Bamberg via Würzburg to Aschaffenburg rich.

The former " Gau Lower Franconia " was renamed "Gau Mainfranken" under Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth in 1934. The term "Main Franconia" was officially introduced by ordinance of the Bavarian state government of May 20, 1938 (GVBl. 1938, 199) and replaced the previous name "Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg" with effect from June 1, 1938. Therefore, even today, Main Franconia is sometimes seen as a synonym for Lower Franconia. After the end of the Third Reich , the name was changed again on July 15, 1946 and the administrative district "Lower Franconia" was named without the addition of Aschaffenburg.

From today's perspective, the geographical definition of Main Franconia as "the area of ​​the two planning regions Würzburg and Schweinfurt / Main-Rhön" has become established. At the same time, Mainfranken corresponds to the geographical expansion of the chamber district of the IHK Würzburg-Schweinfurt as well as the municipal working group Opportunities Region Mainfranken.

Basic data
Residents 962.874
surface 7,000 km²
Population density 136 inhabitants / km²
cities and communes 234
Biggest cities Wuerzburg 124.219

Schweinfurt 51.610

In the administrative sense, Mainfranken comprises the following local authorities:

The Sparkasse Mainfranken Würzburg also has the region in its company name.

Mainfranken natural area

View from the Steigerwald (Zabelstein)
to the northwest over the Schweinfurt basin

In terms of natural space, the Main Franconia is often seen as a three- dimensional landscape consisting of Gäuflächen , the valleys of the Main and its tributaries and the surrounding low mountain ranges, which is not entirely accurate.

The Main Franconian Plates form the central natural spatial unit of Main Franconia. This part of Main Franconia is often incorrectly referred to as the Gaulandschaft , which, however, only applies to intensively agriculturally used sub-areas with flat undulating relief and fertile soils on loess: Grabfeld (gau) , Gäuplatten in the Maindreieck and Ochsenfurt Gau . Sugar beet, wheat, brewing barley and rapeseed are grown in these cultivated landscapes. Partly commercial horticulture, especially vegetable cultivation, is operated. The plains of the Steigerwald foreland and the Schweinfurt basin , the hilly landscapes of the Hesselbacher Waldland (Schweinfurt Rhön), the Marktheidenfelder Platte and the Wern-Lauer-Platten are part of the Mainfränkische Platten, but not a gauze landscape.

The river courses of the Main and its main tributaries, the Franconian Saale , Sinn and Wern , cut into the Main Franconian plateaus and peripheral areas , with their valley slopes, form the natural basis for Main Franconian viticulture.

Main Franconia is framed by the low mountain range of the Rhön in the north, Spessart in the west and Haßberge and Steigerwald in the east. With the establishment of four nature parks, these valuable cultural landscapes will be preserved in their current form and at the same time valued for nature-oriented, gentle tourism. In addition, the Rhön was recognized as a biosphere reserve by UNESCO across all countries in 1991 .


Economic indicators
Companies 60,000
Employees (total) 315.244
Employees (by sector) Manufacturing industry: 39%
Retail, hospitality, transport: 22%
Other services: 38%
Agriculture and forestry: 1%
GDP in € million 26,118
GDP per inhabitant in € 29,269
Export quota 41.8%
Unemployment rate 3.7%

Until the middle of the 20th century, Main Franconia, with the exception of Schweinfurt, was still strongly characterized by agriculture and has developed into a modern industrial and service location over the last few decades, which Eurostat now regularly lists among the TOP 10 of Europe's leading high-tech locations .

A total of 60,000 companies from a wide range of industries are based in Mainfranken. This ranges from traditional craft businesses and service companies to global players and medium-sized companies from industrial sectors such as mechanical engineering and automotive supply.

The well-known brands located in Mainfranken include BASF (Würzburg), Bionade (Ostheim / Rhön), Bosch Rexroth (Lohr am Main, Schweinfurt, Volkach), Braun (Marktheidenfeld), Danone (Ochsenfurt), Eichetti (Werneck), Fränkische Rohrwerke (Königsberg in Bavaria), Fresenius Medical Care (Schweinfurt), Knauf (Iphofen), Kneipp (Würzburg), Koenig & Bauer (Würzburg), Kühne (Sennfeld), Meßmer Tee (Grettstadt), René Lezard (Stadtschwarzach), Rhön- Klinikum (Bad Neustadt / Saale), Schaeffler / FAG (Schweinfurt), Sener Tec (Schweinfurt), s.Oliver (Rottendorf), Siemens (Bad Neustadt / Saale), SKF (Schweinfurt), SRAM (Schweinfurt), Winora-Staiger ( Schweinfurt) and ZF Friedrichshafen , formerly Fichtel & Sachs (Schweinfurt).

Another branch of the economy that is strongly rooted in Main Franconia is viticulture. This is particularly important in the context of the tourism valorisation of the region, as both the cultural landscape and the image and self-image of Main Franconia are strongly influenced by the wine industry. The Bocksbeutel - a symbol of Franconian viticulture - has been a typical container for Franconian wine for at least 250 years.

Tourism has recently become more and more important in Main Franconia, with the main tourist centers of Würzburg , the Volkacher Mainschleife , Bad Kissingen and the increased use of cruise ships on the Main . Furthermore, Schweinfurt has also established itself as an art city since the 21st century .

Fields of competence

Würzburg Residence World Heritage Site, with the 100 × 200 m paved forecourt Residence at night
Würzburg Residence World Heritage Site , with the 100 × 200 m paved forecourt
Residence at night
German headquarters of the world's largest rolling bearing group SKF in Schweinfurt

The following nationally important economic sectors were identified as core competencies of the business location Mainfranken as part of a forecast study:

Vehicle construction / mechanical engineering

In the field of vehicle construction / mechanical engineering, Mainfranken ranks fourth among 97 regions across Germany and acts as a hub between the locations of the major automobile manufacturers. Precision bearings and roller bearings, brakes and clutches, drive and control technology, hydraulics, printing machines, vehicle electric motors and vehicle operating systems are manufactured. The high importance of the sector is illustrated by the disproportionate increase in the number of employees to over 40,000 in recent years. The companies are located in Schweinfurt, the districts of Main-Spessart, Haßberge, Rhön-Grabfeld, Würzburg and Kitzingen.


Bad Kissingen, the former world bath and most famous health resort in Germany

Biotechnology and medical technology are a mainstay of the health sector in Mainfranken. Their emergence was largely shaped by the scientific and medical institutions of the University of Würzburg , the University of Applied Sciences Würzburg-Schweinfurt and the Würzburg University Hospital. The areas of Main Franconia to the north, on the other hand, have specialized in spa and clinic services as well as wellness. In the Bavarian Rhön spa region with the health resorts of Bad Kissingen , Bad Brückenau , Bad Neustadt , Bad Bocklet and Bad Königshofen , therapeutic, spa and rehab procedures are implemented today.

New materials

The basis of the Main Franconian competence in the cross-sectional technology of new materials is formed by the regional research institutions of the two universities as well as non-university research centers such as the Fraunhofer Institute for Silicate Research , the South German Plastics Center , the Bavarian Center for Applied Energy Research eV (ZAE Bayern) or the New materials Würzburg GmbH. Nanoinitiative Bayern GmbH, based in Würzburg, takes on the cluster management tasks of the Bavarian nanotechnology cluster. The main focus of the regional materials competence in research and application is in the areas of functional materials, plastics technology, copolymers, processing technology, nanostructured materials and composites.


Due to the central, easily accessible location in Germany and Europe, logistics in Main Franconia shows above-average growth rates. In recent years, numerous new logistics centers for internationally operating companies have been built and regional logistics competencies in research and application have been expanded. These are mainly in the areas of complex logistics systems, tracking & tracing and logistics IT systems.


German Unity Transport Project No. 16, Thuringian Forest Motorway A 71 Schweinfurt – Erfurt, 2002 under construction


Mainfranken is connected to the European trunk road network via the two main axes A 3 in east-west direction and A 7 in north-south direction. These are supplemented by the A 70 (direction Bamberg / Bayreuth), A 71 (direction Thuringia / Erfurt) and A 81 (direction Stuttgart) motorways .


With the Würzburg main station as a hub, the region has a direct connection to the European long-distance rail network . There is a container terminal in Schweinfurt . Furthermore, there is a railway junction in Gemünden am Main , which acts as a hub for freight and goods traffic for the railway companies.


The Main is a defining element of the landscape and, with its shipping, is the region's traditional transport route. Today the Main connects the North Sea with the Black Sea via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and is thus integrated into one of the central European waterways. With the ports in Aschaffenburg , Würzburg , Schweinfurt , Haßfurt , Kitzingen, Marktbreit , Ochsenfurt and the Zeil am Main area , the region has eight transshipment points from ships to other modes of transport.

air traffic

Thanks to the good transport infrastructure network with the neighboring metropolises by rail and road, the airports in Frankfurt am Main , Nuremberg and Stuttgart can be reached quickly. The regional airfields Giebelstadt (near Würzburg) and Haßfurt (near Schweinfurt) are mainly used for business travel by Main Franconian companies.


Currently, the Mainfranken Association of Transport Companies (VVM) covers the area of ​​the city and district of Würzburg and ensures uniform tariffs and coordinated timetables among the various local public transport providers. On February 1, 2009, the Kitzinger Nahverkehrsgemeinschaft (KiNG) joined the VVM. The aim of the further integration process is to expand the transport association to all of Main Franconia.

Regional development - Region Mainfranken GmbH

The Region Mainfranken GmbH was founded in 2011 against the background of intensified competition between the regions. The shareholders of the regional development company are

  • seven Main Franconian districts
  • two independent cities
  • Chamber of Commerce IHK Würzburg-Schweinfurt and HWK for Lower Franconia

The central regional actors are gathered under the umbrella of Region Mainfranken GmbH, with the core motive of bundling all existing forces for the benefit of actively shaping the future of Mainfranken.

The central task of the regional development company is to strengthen the region as an independent, attractive business location and living space through regional marketing projects in regional development.


  • Franz X. Bogner: Main Franconia from the air - Main triangle and Main square . Aerial photo tape. Stürtz, Würzburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-8003-1791-2 .
  • Ulrich Ante, Jürgen Kopf, Manfred Plagens, Jörg Philipp: Mainfranken - An investigation into regional development. Würzburg 2006.
  • Ulrich Ante: On the perception of space in western Lower Franconia: From the rural to the urban region? In: Würzburg Geographical Manuscripts. Issue 70, 2005, pp. 47-45.
  • Irmgard Hofmann, Paul-Werner Kempa: Doa, I want to inhibit mom. Stories from Main Franconia. With a foreword by Christine Geißendörfer. Preußler, Nuremberg 1989, ISBN 3-925362-60-6 .
  • Sonja Kraft: Structural crisis and structural change in Schweinfurt. Actors and processes of post-industrial transformation. (= Würzburg Geographical Manuscripts. Issue 56). 2001.
  • Burkhard Müller: Mainfranken (an essay in German landscapes ), S. Fischer Verlag, 2003, ISBN 3-10-070404-5 .
  • Herbert Schultheis: Jews in Mainfranken 1933–1945 with special consideration of the deportations of Würzburg Jews. Bad Neustadt a. d. Saale 1980, ISBN 3-9800482-0-9 .
  • Verlag Kommunikation & Wirtschaft GmbH, IHK Würzburg-Schweinfurt (Ed.): Economic region Mainfranken. Oldenburg 2007.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner: Mainfranken - Economic Geographic Development Paths and Problem Areas. In: Arnulf Marquardt-Kuron, Konrad Schliephake (Hrsg.): Spatial traffic sciences - application and concept. (= Material on applied geography. Volume 26). Bonn 1996, pp. 17-35.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner: The development of the economic area of ​​Lower Franconia 1814-2000. In: Peter Kolb, Ernst-Günter Krenig (Hrsg.): Lower Franconian history. Volume 5/1: From incorporation into the Kingdom of Bavaria to the 21st century. Würzburg 2002, pp. 137-190.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner, Winfried Schenk: Dynamics and structure of the population in Lower Franconia since 1815. In: Peter Kolb, Ernst-Günter Krenig (Hrsg.): Unterfränkische Geschichte. Volume 5/1. Würzburg 2002, pp. 55-74.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner: Mainfranken: Chances and Risks of an Economic Area. Thoughts on a Marketing Concept. In: Würzburg geography work. Volume 89, 1994, pp. 33-49.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner: `` The Main Valley south of Würzburg has been an economic area since the middle of the 18th century. In: Mainfränkisches Jahrbuch. 2008, pp. 178-213.
  • Horst-Günter Wagner: The Main Valley as an economic area - past and present. In: Frankenland, Zeitschr. f. Franconian culture and culture. Volume 64, 2012, pp. 3-26.

Individual evidence

  1. ^ Fritz Knapp: Mainfranken - an art-historical local lore. 2nd Edition. Stürtz Publishing House, Würzburg 1937.
  2. Peter Weidisch: Würzburg in the "Third Reich". In: Ulrich Wagner (Hrsg.): History of the city of Würzburg. 4 volumes, Volume I-III / 2, Theiss, Stuttgart 2001-2007; III / 1–2: From the transition to Bavaria to the 21st century. 2007, ISBN 978-3-8062-1478-9 , pp. 196-289 and 1271-1290; here: p. 232.
  3. ^ Horst-Günter Wagner: Mainfranken: Chances and Risks of an Economic Area. Thoughts on a Marketing Concept. In: People and the environment in Franconia. (= Würzburg Geographical Works. Volume 89). 1994, p. 33.

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