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Physical overview map of the Rhön

Physical overview map of the Rhön

View from Soisberg to the south into the Rhön

View from Soisberg to the south into the Rhön

Highest peak Wasserkuppe ( 950  m above sea  level )
location Hesse , Bavaria , Thuringia
part of East Hessian mountainous region
Coordinates 50 ° 30 '  N , 9 ° 56'  E Coordinates: 50 ° 30 '  N , 9 ° 56'  E
Type Low mountain range
rock Sand , silt and clay stones , limestone , marlstone , basalt i. w. S.
Age of the rock Triad , " tertiary "
surface 1,550 km²

The Rhön is a (without roofs ) about 1500 km² large low mountain range in the border area of ​​the German states Bavaria , Hesse and Thuringia . The majority of its core area, but also parts of its non-volcanic, southern slope in Bavaria, lie in the Rhön biosphere reserve , which is around 2,433 km² in size . The mountains in the extreme south-east of the (here transnational) East Hessian mountainous region are predominantly of volcanic origin. The highest mountain in the Rhön is at 950  m above sea level. NHN the Wasserkuppe in the Hessian area , which is also the highest mountain in Hesse. There are several ski areas in the Rhön .


The Rhön from the south (Kressberg, Dammersfeld ridge, Black Mountains and Kreuzberg)

The origin of the name Rhön , whose earliest written tradition with Rone nemus ( nemus, Latin "grove", "forest") dates back to 1228, has not yet been clearly clarified. On the one hand a Celtic and on the other hand a Germanic origin of the name is assumed. The Celtic origin is in the words Roino ( "hill") and rinn or ran seen ( "mountain", "Vorberg"). In view of the fact that the Celts lived in what is now southern Germany, but not in what is now eastern or central Germany, the name of the Rhön as a "foothill" from the point of view of these "southern German" Celts does not seem to be at all in relation to the larger and higher Thuringian Forest absurd. Germanic roots of the name Rhön are linked with the old Norse word hraun , which means something like "stony land" or " scree desert" and is still alive today, for example in the Danish word røn ("stone bank on the seabed", "small stony island"). The fact that "hraun" is the word for lava and lava field in modern Icelandic is cited as a particularly convincing indication of the Germanic origin, since the Rhön also consists largely of volcanic rock (see natural structure and volcanism ). The old Norse hraun is said to go back to the very old Germanic word hraunjo , which has not survived in the modern German language. Sometimes u. a. the name of the Rhön is therefore even taken as an indication that the native land of the Teutons must not have been located in southern Scandinavia , as according to traditional doctrine , but in what is now central Germany. The establishment of a connection between the name of the Rhön and their geology, however, requires that the ancient Teutons must have possessed certain geological skills and that the word hraunjo specifically referred to the volcanic rock or corresponding rock formations that are characteristic of the Rhön. This special meaning should have been preserved in the word hraun until the 9th century, when the Vikings settled the rather remote island of Iceland and “recognized” the rock there based on its typical properties. Due to the relatively low cultural level of the ancient Teutons and Vikings, such a scenario seems very unlikely, and because there were no active volcanoes in the settlement area of ​​the ancient Teutons, the word hraun probably means “lava”, i.e. “rock of volcanic origin” only after the discovery of Iceland.

The current spelling with “Rh” is said to have been preserved from the 16th and 17th centuries, when the stretching h was placed in front of the voice. According to a more recent view, however, it is a "pseudo-learned connection to Greek names", the first occurrence of which is unknown.

Medieval writings written by Fulda monks refer to the area around Fulda and thus large parts of the Rhön as Buchonia . This name is probably derived from the Old High German word buhil ("hill", still preserved today with a similar meaning in the word hump ) and consequently means something like "hilly land", but was subsequently reinterpreted as "land of the primeval beech forests". After all, it was only through extensive clearing that today's landscape with around 30% forest was created. Although both names, Buchonia and Rhön , originally denoted different things and were created independently of one another, they are sometimes used synonymously today .



Location of the Rhön in Germany

The Rhön is one of the southernmost parts of the low mountain range and represents the southeast of the East Hessian mountainous region. The Rhön is located in parts of the following districts:

Orographically , the Rhön and the foreland covering it is separated to the west by the Fuldaer depression along the Fliede and the Fulda near Fulda from the Vogelsberg in the west, which continues towards Bad Hersfeld in the north into the Kämmerzell-Hersfelder Fulda valley , the border to the (orographic) Knüll , passes.

In the north, a valley along Ulfe and Suhl forms an orographic border with the Fulda-Werra-Bergland . To the right of the Werra, near Berka , this valley continues in the (eastern) Suhl to the east and finally to the south-east, from Möhra then downstream along the Fischgraben . However, this valley is already some distance from the actual Rhön and directly abuts the southwestern slope of the northwestern Thuringian Forest . The valley of the Werra with the Salzung basin near Bad Salzungen already represents a clear threshold of the north-eastern Rhöna roof to the southwest.

From Bad Salzungen to Meiningen the Werra, then finally Jüchse and Bibra continue the orographic border to the south.

From the valleys listed in the west, north and east, the peaks of the actual (Kuppen-) Rhön are each separated by a few kilometers of red sandstone landscapes, in the peripheral peaks such as (from north to east) Dreienberg , Oechsen , Baier , Pleß and Gebaberg partially ( especially at Pleß) protrude far into it. There is no real orographic limit to the south. Although the Franconian Saale , which also drains parts of the Rhön, borders the so-called Südrhön to the south, its red sandstone region in the Odenwald, Spessart and Südrhön coincidence is already included in the south-west German level land and as part of the Spessart east of the sense - in turn an orographic southwest border - understood. The stepland also includes the shell limestone landscape of the Werra-Gäuplatten and the flat, undulating Keuper hill country of the Grabfeld (both parts of the Main Franconian plates ) immediately southeast of the Rhön.

The southern border of the low mountain range threshold to the southern German stepland runs roughly north of the Schlüchtern - Zeitlofs - Burkardroth - Sondheim vor der Rhön - Ostheim vor der Rhön - Rentwertshausen line .

Natural structure

The Rhön and its immediate incline is structured in terms of natural space according to the handbook of the natural spatial structure of Germany as follows:

Natural space map Rhoen.png

The Rhön owes its subdivision into the Vorder- and Kuppenrhön (main unit 353) and the Hohe Rhön (354) to the respective manifestation of its volcanism . As Rhön in the narrower sense , to which the article here is largely limited, besides the Hohe Rhön, only the Kuppenrhön in the narrower sense (353.2) is understood.

The current division into Hohe Rhön and Kuppenrhön , which primarily distinguishes between flat, closed basalt ceilings and punctiform openings, is of even more recent origin. Until the middle of the 20th century it was more common to classify the low mountain range according to historical affiliations and other characteristics.

The name Lange Rhön was originally understood to mean the - at least - 70 km long , longest possible section over which the Rhön could reasonably be traversed without crossing a river valley or making rough changes in direction. In order for the open to the northwest quadrant was meant that the land back first along the Rhine-Weser watershed on Large hood ( 658.1  m ), Dammersfeldkuppe ( 927.9  m ), Heidelstein ( 925.7  m ) to the elbow (Schnitzer Mountain) ( 815.5  m ) and further, between the Ulster and Feldatal , to the Öchsenberg (Öchsen) ( 627.2  m ) and right up to the Werra - in addition to its immediate slope, of course. After today's conventional outline would correspond to natural habitats of the northern half of a portion of Kuppenrhön, two natural areas of the High Rhön and turn one of Kuppenrhön, of which now only the third of four sections - just 20 km "long" - as long Rhon referred will (see below).

Is typical of the Rhön that in the environment of basalt surfaces (High Rhön) and -kuppen (Kuppenrhön) , layers from the Middle red sandstone over Röt and limestone up to keuper queue depending locally, wherein the top layers are usually obtained only where a basalt cover, forming the high areas, protecting them from erosion . On the slopes they come to light in regular succession, where faults do not fragment the subsoil. Where water permeable ( permeable ) limestones of the lower shell limestone on impermeable (impermeable) Röt clays are piling up at the outcrop of contact of the two rock units abundant sources.

The Rhine-Weser watershed runs across the south of the Rhön, from which Fulda and Werra branch off to the north , while the Rhine river basin of the Rhön (almost) exclusively flows into the Main via the Franconian Saale . In particular through the valleys of Haune , Ulster and Felda that run from south to north, as well as in the southern part facing the Main, through Narrow and Wide Sinn , which merge immediately southwest of the Rhön, and also through the headwaters of Premich (Kellersbach) and Brend the Rhön is divided into individual segments.

High Rhön

Wasserkuppe , at 950  m the highest mountain in the Rhön and Hesse
View from Eubeberg ( Eube ; 820  m ) to Dammersfeldkuppe ( 927.9  m )
View from the Hexenbuchen on the Himmeldunkberg to the south to the Kreuzberg ( 927.8  m ). Right in front of the Arnsberg ( 843  m )

The high Rhön or Hochrhön is the 344 km² and up to 950  m high part of the low mountain range Rhön located in Hesse , Bavaria and to a lesser extent in Thuringia , which is divided into high plateaus of mostly at least 600 to 700  m edge height with largely closed basalt coverings is. Its core area in the northeast was often referred to as the Plattenrhön in the past . The high Rhön represents a natural spatial unit of the East Hessian mountainous region, see section Natural structure .

The center of the Rhön, although only its fourth highest elevation, is the ( 925.7  m ) high Heidelstein on the border between Bavaria and Hesse and the Rhine-Weser watershed . It forms the center of gravity of the Lange Rhön high plateau , which stretches over the Stirnberg ( 901.9  m ) to the Ellenbogen (Schnitzersberg) ( 815.5  m ) without any notable depressions to the northeast. The basalt remains practically uninterrupted within the Lange Rhön.

Branches off from Heidelstein north to northwest to the Wasserkuppe ( 950  m ) towards the water Kuppenrhön from whose Basalt is spread similar area, but places of red sandstone and limestone is interrupted - in particular, the basalt formation of Weiherberg ( 785.7  m , North-West) and Ehrenberg ( 816.5  m , northeast) slightly separated.

Between the north-east of the Wasserkuppenrhön, which ends in the Ehrenberg, and the plateau of the Langen Rhön from the Heidelstein to just above the Stirnberg, there is the Upper Ulstertal , which is cut to about 300  m deep into the red sandstone and divides the Plattenrhön in two.

To the south-west, the Lange Rhön runs along the main watershed from Heidelstein in the Dammersfeld ridge via Hohe Hölle ( 893.8  m ), Himmeldunkberg ( 887.9  m ) and Eierhauckberg ( 909.9  m ) to the Dammersfeldkuppe ( 927.9  m ) The ridge is much narrower than the Long Rhön and the basalt is interrupted several times. The Großer ( 808.6  m ) and Kleiner Auersberg (approx.  808  m ), separated by the valley of the Schmalen Sinn, are also part of the natural area.

South of Heidelstein and Hoher Hölle, the narrow source mulden valley of the Brend near Bischofsheim separates another mountain group of the Hohe Rhön, the Kreuzberg group with Arnsberg ( 843.1  m ) and Kreuzberg ( 927.8  m ). The Sinn rises between the two mountains , the wide and deep source of the Mulden valley flanking the Dammersfeld ridge to the south-west.

Beyond the Sinntal, the Black Mountains with Schwarzenberg (Feuerberg, 832  m ) and Totnansberg ( 839.4  m ) join the Kreuzberg group to the southwest and are separated from it by the narrow valley of the Premich- Oberlaufes Kellersbach .

The eastern drop of the Langen Rhön , which represents the transition from the heights of the Rhön to the shell limestone area of ​​the Mellrichstädter Gäu , east of the Werra-Gäuplatten , is clearly different from the above mountain ranges . From the descending strata of the Triassic east of the closed basalt cover of the Langen Rhön, individual peaks protrude in the fan of the tributaries of the Franconian Saale between Brend and Streu , in particular the Gangolfsberg ( 735.8  m ) and the Rother Kuppe ( 710.6  m ). This landscape already bears a clear resemblance to the Kuppenrhön.

At 74 km², the Wildflecken military training area, which is not open to the public, takes up almost a quarter of the area of ​​the Hohe Rhön.


The Baier ( 713.9  m ) in the northeast of the Auersberger Kuppenrhön
The Hessian bowling game (up to 552.9  m ) in the Soisberger Kuppenrhön
The Milseburg ( 835.2  m )

The 1200 km² Kuppenrhön in the narrower sense , to which the Vordere Rhön also belongs, is the broad border of strongly structured reliefs that surrounds the Hohe Rhön from northeast (Thuringia) to northwest (Hesse) to southwest (small parts of Bavaria) . Numerous dome-shaped individual mountains at a height of 500 to over 800  m protrude over wide valley hollows . The peaks are remnants of former volcanoes or volcanic chimneys formed by weathering and erosion . There are many small plateaus between pointed cones and broad peaks, particularly pronounced in the Vorderrhön.

Over a foundation of Middle Buntsandstein lie strata of Upper Buntsandstein ( Röt ), Muschelkalk and Keuper , whereby the last two rocks are only preserved where they are protected by a basalt cover. The forest cover less than a third of the area and is largely limited to the summit regions.

The easternmost part of the Kuppenrhön is the Thuringian Vorderrhön , which reaches 750.7  m on the massive high plateau of the Gebaberg in the southeast . The Keuper layer is almost entirely absent there. The peaks and plateaus sit directly on a base landscape made of shell limestone. To the northeast of this nature space protrudes at the wide pyramidal 645.4  m high Pless far into the red sandstone of the Werra abdachenden city Lengsfelder hills into it. In the west, the Mittlere Feldatal forms a natural boundary between Kaltensundheim in the south and below Dermbach in the north.

West of Feldatals the largely located in Thuringia, also hessisches in southwestern terrain touching closes Auersberger Kuppenrhön at which the eponymous Auerberg in the south, on the border to close, at the elbow , 815.5  m high Lange Rhoen , 756.8  m achieved . In the north-east of the natural area, the striking summit of the Baier reaches 713.9  m. The most northerly elevation is the popular Oechsen panoramic mountain . The western boundary is the Middle Ulstertal between Hilders in the south and below Buttlar in the north.

To the west of the Ulstertal is the predominantly Hessian Soisberger Kuppenrhön , which is partly located in Thuringia in the south-east and reaches a height of 629.9  m on the eponymous Soisberg in the north, framed by the Seulingswald . Even greater heights are reached in the extreme southeast, where the 718.5  m high Habelberg west of Tann faces the Auersberg north. The natural area is best known for the Hessian skittles , a conspicuously regular arrangement of fine-kneaded basalt cones up to 552.9  m high. Most of the knolls in the natural area are also conspicuously lined up on the watershed between Werra and Fulda or Ulster and Haune to the north and south of the skittles . To the west the Haune is not quite reached on the Haune plateaus , to the south the Nüsttal below Obernüst forms a natural boundary.

The almost purely Hessian Milseburger Kuppenrhön , which frames the up to 950  m high Wasserkuppenrhön to the south of the Nüst Valley and to the west of the Ulster Valley , lacks the Keuper layer, and the shell limestone is only present around individual knolls like islands. Most of the basalt and phonolite cones sit directly on the middle red sandstone. Notched deep into the red sandstone, the rivers flow to the west of the Haune and Fulda . The phonolite cone of the Milseburg ( 835.2  m ) is the only mountain of the Kuppenrhön that exceeds the 800-meter height line . The 768.3  m of the Großer Nallenberg south of the Fulda are also not reached in other parts. To the southwest, the rock sandstone of the Hohen Kammer ( 700  m ) roofing over the Dammersfeld ridge (up to 927.9  m ) closes off the natural area.

Southern mountains of the Brückenau Kuppenrhön: Dreistelzberg (left) and Mettermich (right)

Separated from the Kammer by the Döllbach- Oberlauf Döllau , the Große Haube ( 658.1  m ) on the Rhine-Weser watershed opens up the Kuppenrhön in the west of Hesse and in the east of Bavaria . The south-west running valleys of the Schmaler and Breiter Sinn divide the natural area, which is significantly more heterogeneous than the other mountain ranges of the Kuppenrhön, into three segments. In the west, coarse plateaus made of dolerite and basalt lead over to the ridge , while the northeast covers the Kleiner Auersberg (approx.  808  m ) of the Dammersfeld ridge. Between the coarser plateaus and ridges there are fine basalt breakthroughs, which are particularly common in the southeast, on the left of the Sinn near Bad Brückenau . The Dreistelzberg in the extreme south reaches 660.4  m .

Incline of the Rhön

The Rhön is one of the southernmost mountains of the low mountain range and is the south-easternmost of the East Hessian mountains . With the exception of the Vogelsberg on conducting land back , in the basalt of the Eastern Brückenauer Kuppenrhön in the extreme southwest of the Rhon merges fluently, is within the Central Upland Range, the entire slope of the Rhön Middle Bunter Sandstone . Often the border is visible, not least because of the almost continuous forest cover of the red sandstone foothills, even from a satellite image.

In the western Rhön foreland, which occupies 178 km² and covers the Milseburger Kuppenrhön , which is also located on the middle red sandstone, immediately northwest of the ridge , the border runs along a tectonic fault. The decisive phenotypic distinguishing feature between the Kuppenrhön and its slope are here and elsewhere, not least the altitude, which seldom exceeds 500  m in the outer slope .

The total of 318 km² Haune plateaus , which adjoin further north, are part of the Fulda-Haune-Tafelland . This transitional land between Rhön, Vogelsberg and Knüll reaches singularities (the Rimberg in front of the Knüll : 591.8  m ) almost low mountain range, but within its surroundings it represents the depression landscape of the eponymous rivers Fulda and Haune .
The Haune plateaus also bear west of the Haune ( Stoppelsberg , 523.9  m ) and between Haune and Fulda ( Mengshäuser Kuppe , 473.4  m ) witnesses of the Rhön volcanism, but they remain isolated. In particular, their area opposite the Soisberger Kuppenrhön , which they cover to the west, is geologically clearly delineated by the boundary between Upper ( Röt ) and Middle Buntsandstein.

The Seulingswald , around 120 km² in size , which covers the Soisberger Kuppenrhön to the north, is clearly separated by this geological boundary, whereby the forest begins almost suddenly and continuously. The Seulingswald is orographically tributary to the Rhön due to the Ulfe - Suhl valley , but in relief and geology it is clearly a landscape of the Fulda-Werra mountainous region , which stretches north to the union of the two eponymous Weser spring rivers.

To the east and south-east of the Seulingswald, on both sides of the Werra, is the Salzunger Werrabergland , which - analogous to the Fulda-Haune-Tafelland - describes the valley landscape of the Werra middle course between the Rhön and the Thuringian Forest . Part of this landscape already touches the Soisberger Kuppenrhön to the left of the Ulster , but mainly the sub-landscape of Stadtlengsfelder Hügelland borders the Auersberger Kuppenrhön and above all the Vorderrhön to the northeast. The Vorderrhön in the northeastern Pless penetrates far into the Middle Buntsandstein, while otherwise a border of red continues to delimit the Rhön. In particular, the Werrabergland is characterized by thick forest and deeply cut river valleys.

The low mountain range sill ends around the valley of the Herpf , which flows north of Meiningen near Walldorf, and the shell limestone of the Werra-Gäuplatten (Meininger Kalkplatten) introduces the south-west German layered plain .

Between the plateau near Meiningen and the partial landscape of the Mellrichstädter Gäus near Mellrichstadt , along the Rhine-Weser watershed south of the Vorderrhön, the red sandstone of the densely wooded and 138 km² occupying Eastern Rhön foothills , whose heights at the Hohe Schule reach a maximum of about 538  m . In the west, the landscape is separated from the eastern slope of the Langen Rhön by the valley of the Streu . The valley is as eastern border Bibra viewed, wherein the red sandstone, however, further east until immediately before the singular at the grave field edge upstanding Gleichberge ( 679  m and 641.3  m ) draws.

Between the Mellrichstädter Gäu and the Schlüchtern basin near Schlüchtern , the entire southern slope of the Rhön runs over the red sandstone layer of the Südrhön , which, as the northeastern part of the main unit group Odenwald, Spessart and Südrhön, more or less represents the continuation of the sandstone Spessart east of the Sinn . The flattening compared to the Rhön is a lot more pronounced than that on the western and northern foreland. Overall, the edge of the southern Rhön is 20 km wide and its area is about half the size of the entire Rhön. Basalt breakthroughs are practically non - existent south-east of the Kreuzberg Group and the Black Mountains and only sporadically south of the Brückenau Kuppenrhön ( Sodenberg ).

Volcanism in the wider area around the Rhön

The tertiary volcanic field of the Rhön is surrounded in all directions, except in the south, by volcanic low mountain ranges and singularities - with distances from the Wasserkuppe to the highest elevation and the respective maximum height in meters (m) above sea level:

The Vogelsberg could be seen as the “little brother” of the Rhön because of its height. However, its volcanic field is clearly the “big brother” of the Rhön in terms of basalt thickness and extent.

Knüll, Habichtswald and Meißner are assigned to one and the same volcanic field, namely that of the Lower Hessian Depression , which was active on both sides of the West Hessian Depression . While the Knüll shield is similar to that of the Vogelsberg, the Habichtswald is often compared to the Kuppenrhön. Opposite this, the Meißner appears singular, framed by only a few, much smaller basalt knolls to the west.

The Dolmar, which is not dissimilar in shape to the Meissner, is an offshoot of the volcanism of the Rhön to the right of the Werra, while the equally unique two peaks of the Gleichberge are exponents of the Heldburg gang , which is spread over different, spatially different mountain ranges and only in a few places distinctive surface forms had received.

In contrast, the rhyolite peaks of the Middle Thuringian Forest rising beyond the Dolmar originate from a volcanism that is significantly older ( Permian ) and, both chemically and in terms of its tectonic framework, clearly deviates from the tertiary volcanism of Central Europe. Their spatial proximity to the young volcanic areas is therefore more of a coincidental nature.


Flight over the Wasserkuppe , 1996
Autumn impressions at the Guckaisee near Poppenhausen with a view towards the south-south-west; in the background the western part of the Eubeberg
Landscape of the central Rhön with Milseburg and horse's head
Rhön landscape near Tann (in June) -  the land of open spaces
View of Gersfeld in winter
Overview map of the Rhön region
View over Künzell in south-east direction, the Wasserkuppe in the center of the background.

The highest mountains and peaks of the Rhön are sorted by height in meters (m) above mean sea ​​level:

  1. Wasserkuppe (950.0 m) - District Fulda (HE); Wasserkuppenrhön - highest mountain in the Rhön and Hesse
  2. Dammersfeldkuppe (927.9 m), districts Fulda (HE) and Bad Kissingen (BY); Dammersfeldback
  3. Kreuzberg (927.8 m), Rhön-Grabfeld district (BY); Kreuzberg Group
  4. Heidelstein (925.7 m), Rhön-Grabfeld district, (BY); Long Rhön
  5. Eierhauckberg (909.9 m), districts of Fulda (HE) and Bad Kissingen (BY); Dammersfeldback
  6. Abtsrodaer Kuppe (904.8 m), District of Fulda (HE); Wasserkuppenrhön
  7. Stirnberg (901.9 m), districts of Fulda (HE) and Rhön-Grabfeld (BY); Long Rhön
  8. Hohe Hölle (893.8 m), districts of Fulda (HE) and Rhön-Grabfeld (BY), Dammersfeld ridge
  9. Steinkopf (approx. 888 m), districts of Fulda (HE) and Rhön-Grabfeld (BY); Long Rhön
  10. Himmeldunkberg (887.9 m), districts of Fulda (HE) and Rhön-Grabfeld (BY); Dammersfeldback

Castles, ruins and monuments

Tourist destinations

Further tourist destinations and leisure activities are (sorted alphabetically):

cities and communes

Cities and municipalities in the Rhön:

Cities and municipalities near the Rhön:


The following rivers originate in the Rhön or flow past it (the length in brackets) :

  • Franconian Saale (142 km) - rises in Grabfeld , passes the Rhön in the southeast, flows southwest, flows into the Main and thus belongs to the catchment area of ​​the Rhine. The valley of the Franconian Saale in the area around Bad Neustadt delimits the Rhön in the southeast to the Grabfeld.
    • Streu (40 km) - rises in the Rhön on the southern slope of the Elbow , flows south into the Franconian Saale
    • Brend (30 km) - rises near Oberweißbrunn in the Rhön, flows southeast into the Franconian Saale
    • Premich (16 km) - rises from the numerous springs between Kreuzberg and the Black Mountains, runs south-east into the Franconian Saale
    • Thulba (31 km) - rises at the Platzer Kuppe in the Rhön, flows south into the Franconian Saale
    • Schondra (31 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows south into the Franconian Saale
    • Sinn (70 km) - rises in the Rhön near Wildflecken , flows south into the Franconian Saale
  • Fulda (218 km) - rises in the Rhön at the Wasserkuppe and is the left source river of the Weser . The valley of the Fulda in the area around the city of Fulda delimits the Rhön to the west to the Vogelsberg .
    • Haune (64 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows north into the Fulda
    • Lütter (16 km) - rises below the Wasserkuppe, flows west into the Fulda
    • Döllau (23.5 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows over the Fliede into the Fulda
  • Werra (298 km) - rises at the junction of the Thuringian Forest and Slate Mountains , passes the Rhön in the northeast, flows northwards and is the right source river of the Weser. The Werra valley between Bad Salzungen and Wasungen delimits the Rhön to the east towards the Thuringian Forest.
    • Herpf (22 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows east into the Werra
    • Ulster (56 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows north into the Werra
    • Felda (40 km) - rises in the Rhön, flows north into the Werra


Geological map of the Rhön region

The Rhön is part of the Süddeutsche Großscholle ( South German layer level land ). In the regional geological sense, the term Rhön primarily refers to the predominantly neogene basic Rhön volcanic rocks and their weathering products (Rhön in the narrower sense) . The older sedimentary rocks in the vicinity of the volcanic complexes tend not to be included. This also makes geomorphological sense, since the area of ​​today's Rhön would be relatively inconspicuous topographically without the volcanic rocks. In the following, in connection with non-volcanic rocks, only the Rhön region (Rhön in the broader sense) is used.


The foundation ( basement ) of the Rhön region consists of metamorphic rocks of Mitteldeutschen crystallizer threshold (MCS), a relatively narrow, southwest-northeast extending zone of the Variscan basement , by quartzites , gneiss and dolomite - marble . In the Rhön and its surrounding area, these formations are nowhere to be found on the surface, but were drilled at depths of more than 1,000 meters.


In the Permian , the Variscan Mountains unfolded in the Upper Carboniferous were removed. In the area of ​​today's Rhön there was a north-east-south-west running mountain ridge in the Lower and Middle Perm, the so-called Spessart-Rhön threshold , which essentially followed the course of the FMD. It was erosion area. From there, coarse-grained red sediments were poured into the basin areas in the north-west (Saar-Selke-Trog) and in the south-east (Kraichgau-Saale-Trog) . The corresponding sediment layers are placed in the Rotliegend series of Central Europe due to the time period and the circumstances of their formation .

In the Upper Permian, the previously isolated Central European mountain basins merged with one another and with the northern foothills, creating the larger deposit area known as the Germanic Basin . The sea broke into these from the north, which is known as the Zechstein Sea because of the deposits it left behind, summarized under the term Zechstein . The so-called Hessian Zechstein Basin , a bay in the south of the Zechstein Sea , extended over the area of ​​the Rhön . The Spessart-Rhön Sill ran through this basin as a submarine ridge. In this basin were u. a. the potash salts deposited, which are mined today in the Fliede and Werra valleys and which are also located in the subsoil of the Rhön region. The brines of the baths Brückenau , Kissingen and Neustadt also owe their solution load to the salt deposits of the Zechstein. The Ablaugung of salt deposits by groundwater caused in the Rhoen and their surroundings sinkholes , such as the Träbeser hole or the "habits" of the Thuringian Rhoen and possibly the Frickenhäuser lake . Such sinkholes emerged in the recent geological past, as u. a. the Oligocene lake sediments of the Sieblos fossil deposit ( see below ). There are almost no outcrops of Rotliegend or Zechstein in the region.


Part of the so-called Wichtelhöhlen in the valley of the Franconian Saale near Bad Kissingen in the south-east of the Rhön region: incised ,
banky , reddish sandstones of the middle red sandstone.

At the edges and in the surrounding area of ​​the Rhön volcanic rocks, the red sandstone (Lower Triassic ) and shell limestone (Middle Triassic), which are widespread in the southern half of Germany, are found . At the beginning of the Triassic, the Zechstein Sea had withdrawn again. The Zechstein sedimentation had largely compensated for the relief in the Rhön region and the Spessart-Rhön threshold barely rose above its surroundings. The red sandstone deposits, mostly reddish sandstones, are alluvial and fluvial sediments of the relatively dry, semi-desert Germanic Basin. Fossils are relatively rare in the red sandstone. The discovery of the Temnospondyl " Mastodonsaurus ingens " (possibly identical to the mastodonsaurids Heptasaurus cappelensis or Mastodonsaurus giganteus ) in the upper red sandstone of Gambach on the southern edge of the red sandstone foreland of the Rhön is therefore something special. Furthermore, the track fossil Chirotherium (probably the track of an early archosaur ), as well as the remains of horsetail and ferns are proven.

The limestones and marl of the shell limestone are deposits of a renewed sea invasion to Central Europe, which this time came from the south. Since it is significantly more resistant to erosion than the clay-rich Upper Buntsandstein (Röt) , the Lower Muschelkalk often forms mountain peaks and prominent steps. The same applies to the Upper Muschelkalk, which is superimposed on the marbled, relatively easily erodible Middle Muschelkalk. In the Lower and Upper Muschelkalk, which are generally relatively rich in fossils, there are u. a. Remnants of sea ​​lilies , terebratulid brachiopods and ceratites .

The sedimentation conditions at the time of the deposition of the multi-colored, predominantly clayey Keuper rocks in the Upper Triassic fluctuated between fluvial and marine and between humid and semi-arid. Keuper rocks are relatively small and only preserved in the northern part of the Rhön region, either on sunken clods or thanks to their "reinforcement" by the Rhön volcanic rocks. In addition, there are only deposits of the lower and middle, none of the upper Keuper. The Lower Keuper ("Lettenkeuper") includes a consistently formed under humid conditions, z. Partly carbonate-bearing alternating layers of freshwater sediments with sediments of a brackish, calm bay. Towards the Middle Keuper ("Gipskeuper") a drier climate prevailed and as a result of the evaporation of stagnant waters, the mostly clayey deposits contain z. Sometimes relatively thick layers of evaporic gypsum.

Jurassic and chalk

In the Jura , the Spessart-Rhön threshold was reactivated in the course of the Saxon tectonics , which raised the Rhön region. Initially, however, it was likely to have been covered by the Lower Jurassic Sea, which extended over large parts of Central Europe. In the Lower Cretaceous the Rhön region is then part of the Rhenish-Bohemian Island. This resulted in the erosion of the Jura deposits, which presumably consisted mostly of clay sediments. During the very high sea level in the Upper Cretaceous around the world, sea cover could have been present again, but no evidence has been obtained for this either due to subsequent erosion.


Tertiary deposits generally do not occur across the entire Rhön region, but only locally. Old-tertiary sediments are mainly known from the Lange Rhön and from the area around Sieblos west of the Wasserkuppe, where they are rarely found on the surface. Rather, they were mostly localized by drilling below the volcanic rocks, where they were superimposed on a paleo-relief made of red sandstone and shell limestone. The Lower Oligocene Sieblos Formation , which consists mainly of clay sediments, is particularly well-known . But it also contains sections of laminated digested coal ( dysodil ), which was previously mined as fuel, as well as freshwater marl and limestone. From these layers fossil remains of u. a. Cinnamon trees , eucalyptus , acacias , mimosa , insects , fish , crocodiles , turtles , birds and mammals have been recovered. The depression in which the sediments of the Sieblos Formation were deposited was probably created in the course of the sinking of the Upper Rhine Rift and the Hessian Depression, in the edge of which the Rhön region lies. According to this view, the Sieblos Formation is regarded as the marginal marine to brackish counterpart of the Lower Oligocene marine sediments of the Upper Rhine Rift. More recent interpretations, on the other hand, see deposits of a lake in a collapse depression in the Sieblos Formation, which was created by the leaching of the water-soluble rocks in the subsoil of the Rhön region. Proven periodic increases in the salt content can be explained by strong evaporation and low precipitation, but not by marine influence.

Another diverse flora and fauna of the Oligocene occurs in the Oberleichtersbach Formation, a local Oligocene occurrence near Bad Brückenau. The dark, clayey sediments are interpreted as the deposits of a lake, which presumably formed in a collapse depression that arose as a result of the leaching of gypsum and salt-rich layers of the Middle Muschelkalk.

The dysodil-containing Kühnstein Formation is also Oligocene, possibly early or even Middle Miocene. It does not contain any macrofossils, only fossil pollen.


Basalt prisms on Gangolfsberg , Hohe Rhön
Teufelstein , one of the volcanic erosion ruins of the Milseburg Kuppenrhön
Upcoming basalt (right) and block dump on the Bubenbader Stein , Milseburger Kuppenrhön
Basalt prisms in the former quarry in the Lindenstump , a chimney surrounded by upper red sandstone immediately north of Schondra , in the southeast of the Brückenau Kuppenrhön


At the end of the Oligocene, about 25 million years ago, tuffs and lava rocks were increasingly included in the sediment sequences, which were ultimately completely covered by lava layers. This about 20 million years to the early Pliocene continued volcanism , whose climax is approximately in the early Miocene, owes today's landscape of the Rhön their characteristic shape. Like all young volcanic regions in Central Europe (e.g. Siebengebirge , Westerwald , Vogelsberg , Duppauer Gebirge ), the Rhön volcanism is related to tectonic processes that go back to the formation of the Alps : that the lavas extracted are predominantly material that corresponds to the originates from the upper mantle , on the one hand, is probably due to the fact that the thickening of the crust and the lowering of the base of the lithosphere under the Alpine ore caused equalization processes with the rise of the lithospheric base under the surrounding crustal areas. Secondly, the caused by the long-range effect of the Alps formation faulting in Central Europe favored by pressure relief Aufschmelzungsprozesse appropriate melting the earth's surface in the raised Lithosphärenmantel and intrude.

The first phase of the Rhön volcanism is u. a. characterized by the promotion of relatively differentiated and relatively SiO 2 -rich melts or the rocks resulting from them: tephrites , phonolites and trachytes . These rocks can be found today mainly in the west and northwest of the Rhön. Since they often with hornblende basaniten (up to 2 centimeters olivine and Klinopyroxen - phenocrysts ) are associated, it is assumed that the latter undifferentiated starting melt of Tephrite, phonolite and Trachyte represent. This first phase of the Rhön volcanism is explosive and is characterized by massive deposits of pyroclastic currents ( ignimbrites ). After they have subsided, a longer erosion phase sets in, during which the volcanic structures are in fact completely eroded again and only the extraction chimneys remain in the subsoil. Since then, further erosion, which the neighboring rock (usually layers of red sandstone or shell limestone) was less able to counter than the chimneys, has developed the characteristic image of the Kuppenrhön. So-called chimney breccias can be found around the edge of the basalt chimneys or directly as chimney fillings. T. but also include volcanic ejection material ( tuffs , etc.). In one of the numerous research wells near Sieblos, Upper Oligocene fossils (including snails) were secondary embedded in a tuff sequence, apparently being torn from their original deposit in the Sieblos Formation by the volcanic activity.

The second, more recent phase of the Rhön volcanism is characterized by the extraction of undifferentiated lavas with a lower proportion of SiO 2 . These lavas flowed out relatively calmly and formed the lava layers from which the plateau of the Hohe Rhön is built. The petrographic names for the corresponding basaltic rocks are nepheline basanite , olivine nephelinite and alkali olivine basalt . In the case of relatively slow cooling, a characteristic fissure pattern formed in the rock, which resulted in elongated polygonal prisms, basalt columns .

The chain silicate mineral Rhönite , which occurs in small quantities in alkaline lava rocks, and the special tephrite rock Buchonite have their type localities in the Rhön .

After the lava production had largely subsided, the post-volcanic phase began, which is associated with the rise of volcanic gases, especially carbon dioxide . High-purity carbon dioxide, which accumulated below the Zechstein salts in the cleft space of the basal Zechstein layers and the Rotliegend, was extracted in the 20th century in the Vorderrhön for the chemical industry and the beverage industry by means of drilling. Groundwater with a high proportion of dissolved carbon dioxide (so-called sourlings ), which appears in various places in the Rhön, is used as natural mineral and medicinal water .

Presumably as a late consequence of the rise of the lithospheric mantle under the Rhön and the associated heating of the crust, the entire Rhön region from the Pliocene to the Pleistocene was domed by several 100 meters, which contributed to an accentuation of the current relief, which is determined by the more erosion-resistant volcanic rocks.


Like the paleogene sediments, neogene sediments are only present in small areas in the Rhön. The Miocene Kaltennordheim Formation is u. a. opened up in the disused lignite mine on Bauersberg near Bischofsheim on the western edge of the Hohe Rhön. A rich Miocene swamp and lowland flora has been handed down in layers containing lignite .

Pliocene deposits can be found in the east of the Rhön region. The layers known as the Borsoni Formation are predominantly sediments of the Ur-Saale or Main and the Ur-Werra or Weser river systems, which are known as erosion relics near the current courses of the river, e.g. T. within sinkholes are preserved. They contain teeth and skeletons of mammoths ( Mammut borsoni , the eponymous species of the Borsoni formation) and primeval elephant relatives ( Anancus arvernensis ), tapirs ( Tapirus arvernensis ) and deer-like representatives ( Hypolagus , Metacervoceros ).


Quartärsedimente are by aeolian loess clay and fluvial Auelehme represented. The high moors of the High Rhön go back to the abundance of precipitation in the Rhön region and the associated intensive chemical weathering of the basalt plateau. The numerous block heaps of the Rhön, on the other hand, are the result of the intensive physical weathering of the basalts in the arctic climate of the last Pleistocene glacial periods. However, the Ice Age glaciers themselves did not penetrate into the Rhön region.

From the Pleistocene, warm-time river sands of the Werra near Untermaßfeld near Meiningen comes an approximately 1 million year old fauna with u. a. Steppe mammoths , hippos , Etruscan rhinoceros , bison , the saber-toothed cats Homotherium and Megantereon , giant hyenas , jaguars and Barbary apes . The interpretation of fragments of chert and bones associated with this fauna as tools of early humans and thus as indirect evidence that representatives of the genus Homo penetrated Central Europe as early as the early Pleistocene is controversial.


In order to make the geological history of the Rhoen tangible for tourists and to convey topics such as volcanism and plate tectonics to interested laypeople, the biosphere reserve initiated the project "Experience Rhön Geology" and had a geotouristic concept drawn up.


The Rhön sheep , a breed of sheep typical of the landscape

The name "Rhön" is possibly of Celtic origin (see →  Name ). The Celtic settlement of the Milseburg , where a Celtic city with about 1000 inhabitants was located, is proven . Furthermore, there are ring walls, which can be of both Celtic and Germanic origin, in the Kuppenrhön on the Stallberg and the Kleinberg. Many of the place, mountain and field names that occur in the Rhön go back to Celtic roots.

Until the 10th century, parts of the Rhön belonged to the Altgau Buchonia . This term was coined by the Romans in late antiquity and referred to a primeval forest of beeches in the Rhön and the neighboring low mountain ranges Spessart and Vogelsberg . Extensive beech stocks still exist in the Rhön today.

Because of the excellent panoramic view, some of the Rhön Mountains were also locations for hilltop castles in the Middle Ages . One example is Hauneck Castle (today in the Haunetal municipality ) on the Stoppelsberg , which is still preserved as a ruin . It served both to monitor and protect traffic on the old Antsanvia road and to protect the villages in the Haunetal. In the Middle Ages, military forces were set up in all parts of the Rhön and the ruled areas for administration were incorporated into offices, each of which was assigned to a castle as the official seat. In addition to these larger rulers, small aristocratic families from the Rhön (von Ebersberg, von Eberstein, von der Tann, von Kranlucken, von Völkershausen and others) succeeded in building up independent spheres of power since the late Middle Ages.

The introduction of the Reformation initially covered most of the Rhön and was only pushed back in the 18th century by the Counter Reformation. After the dissolution of the secular rule of Fulda in 1802 and as a result of the Congress of Vienna in 1814/15, the boundaries between the present-day federal states of Thuringia, Hesse and Bavaria were already established in this area. In addition to the former Henneberg offices of Kaltennordheim and Lichtenberg , the former Fulda offices of Dermbach (Fischberg) and Geisa and the previously Hessian office of Vacha also belonged to the Grand Duchy of Saxony-Weimar-Eisenach . Dermbach became the center of the Eisenacher Oberland . In the late 18th and 19th centuries, Jewish communities were allowed to settle and develop again in various rulers. The (modest) industrialization of the Rhön went hand in hand with the expansion of the transport routes, whereby the construction of the railway lines was only pushed in economically profitable areas. In addition to the porcelain industry (Stadtlengsfeld) and cork processing (Dermbach), breweries and quarrying companies were successful. In the late 19th century, mining and the potash industry flourished. Nonetheless, “the poor Rhön” remained a “land of poor people” until the beginning of the 20th century, where many residents could barely make a living.

In autumn 1933, the National Socialists came up with the idea of ​​cultivating the Rhön agriculturally and improving the economic conditions of the Rhön. The basis was the Hellmuth Plan, which provided for road construction, cultivation work, pitting, drainage, plowing measures and the creation of forest protection strips. At the same time, preparations began for the construction of the " Hochrhönstrasse ". At the beginning of the war, the work was partially stopped, prisoners of war and forced laborers were now transferred to the labor camps. There were model farms on the Elbow, near Frankenheim, Oberweid, Kaltennordheim and the "Burg" known today as Hotel Katzenstein.

Inner German border through the Rhön, 1982

After the Second World War , the Inner German border ran in a rough north-south direction through the Rhön until reunification - for example from Bad Salzungen, then east of the Wasserkuppe, east of the Königsburg and east past Bad Königshofen . The course corresponded to that of today's border between Thuringia and Hesse and Bavaria. The Soviet military installation on the Hohe Geba was the westernmost great listening post of the Warsaw Pact on European soil. On the western side, American military installations (e.g. Point alpha) marked the presence of this great power, and new military training areas were set up or existing ones expanded in the Hessian and Bavarian Rhön. A border regiment in Dermbach and several border companies in the Rhön communities were stationed as part of the "safeguarding of the state border". In Bad Salzungen, a large garrison was built with a large training area around the Pleßberg. The elbow was also a restricted military area used by the NVA . Radar stations were set up on the Pleßberg, on the Elbow and on the Hohe Geba. Therefore, the peaks could no longer be used by the Rhön Club and the population.

Flora and fauna

Semi-arid grassland with a mass population of the common pasque flower
Blue dragonfly in the Rhön

Due to the geographical and geological conditions, the Rhön is an area with an above-average diversity of biotopes and species . But humans have also formed valuable secondary habitats by creating a richly structured cultural landscape .

Flora of the Rhön

Compared to the other low mountain ranges in Germany, the Rhön is above average rich in plant species. As a potential natural vegetation , the beech forest would dominate in all its variations with interspersed other trees, but it is pushed back in today's landscape. Some of these primeval forests have been designated as core zones in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve, so there are no interventions in nature. The high-altitude beech forests, rich in precious wood, are home to rare, sometimes isolated plant species such as alpine lettuce , broad-leaved bellflower , shiny chervil and silver leaf . The vegetation of the limestone beech forests near the valley is characterized partly by montane and partly by colline species. In addition to frequently occurring plants as Türkenbundlilie , lily of the valley and wild garlic , various are here orchids such as the Waldvögelein species, the coral root , Nestwurz , lady's slipper and purple orchid at home.

Only a small part of the area of ​​the Rhön landscape is primarily free of forests, namely raised bogs , rocks and rock heaps . These habitats are home to highly specialized species in particular. The high moors of the Langen Rhön ( Red Moors and Black Moors ) are considered to be important links between the Nordic and Alpine moors in terms of plant geography . For example, sundew , crowberry and cotton grass grow here . The rock of the volcanic mountains is home to rare species such as the whiteclove , clove-clove , southern eyelash fern and the pine bear moss.

There are no natural coniferous forests in the Rhön, but the species-rich mixed pine forests contain remarkable plants such as lady's slipper , creeping net leaf and diptame .

The cultivated land created by man over the centuries has a high biotope and species diversity, but the species-rich extensive grassland areas are today among the most threatened and maintenance-intensive biotopes. In the semi-arid grassland and juniper heath symbol plant of the Rhon that comes Silberdistel still relatively common before, even gentians , pulsatilla vulgaris , Waldanemone and the orchid species Male orchid , mosquito Händelwurz and Fliegenragwurz are common here to find. More rarely, however others are Ragwurzen , helmet , purple , fire and winged Orchid , orchis anthropophora , pyramid Hundswurz , Green hollow tongue and himantoglossum hircinum to find. In the southern outskirts of the Rhoen grow on so-called steppe heath depend very heat-loving species such Apennine Rockrose , Clematis and fiber screen .

Among the most valuable biotopes of the Rhön are the mountain meadows and nebulas of the higher elevations. Characteristic plants here are blue and yellow monkshood , real moon rhombus , Turkish covenant , greenish forest hyacinth , mountain and wig knapweed .

In the wet meadows and fens are Bogbean , Parnassia palustris , Marsh Orchid and Forest lousewort home in source bogs of the High Rhön also the extremely rare species Moor Clover , Hairy Stonecrop and Pyrenean scurvy grass .

Wildlife of the Rhön

The fauna of the Rhön is essentially similar to that of other low mountain ranges, but there are also some remarkable species. At mammals besides the common species as are deer , fox , badger , hare , raccoon and wild boar small mammals such as dormice , water and marsh shrew represented. The alpine shrew occurs as a regional specialty in the Rhön. From the bird world, the occurrences of black grouse , capercaillie , black stork , eagle owl , corncrake , red-backed shrike and wryneck are particularly noteworthy. Two endemics of the Rhön have also become known - a rump- winged beetle found in the moors and the Rhön spring snail .

In order to protect the flora and fauna as well as the night sky, to clarify the consequences of night light for flora and fauna and to clarify the issues of light pollution, there has been an initiative in the Rhön Biosphere Reserve since 2001 to designate parts of the biosphere reserve as a light protection area. Recognition as Star Park Rhön Biosphere Reserve by the International Dark Sky Association took place in August 2017th

Rhön umbrella brand

The logo of the Rhön umbrella brand

The " Rhön umbrella brand " project is carried out by the Rhön Working Group and aims to promote a common Rhön identity, standardize the external appearance of the Rhön and harmonize the marketing measures of the three federal states involved.


Landscape in the Hessian Rhön

Hiking trails

There is a well marked trails network in Rhon that the Rhön Club is supervised.

The most impressive is probably the Rhön-Höhen-Weg (RHW) marked with a red drop . It is 137 km long and leads from Burgsinn in the Main-Spessart district via Roßbach, Dreistelz, Würzburger Haus am Farnsberg, Kissinger Hütte on the Feuerberg, Kreuzberg ( Kreuzberg Monastery ), Oberweißbrunn , through the Red and Black Moor , over the Elbow and the Emberg near Oberalba , past the Baier to Stadtlengsfeld and on to the end point in Bad Salzungen an der Werra .

Information board about the hiking trails in Kreuzberg Monastery

Particularly worth mentioning

Also lead through the Rhön

Hiking maps and guides

See also

References and comments

  1. a b c landscape profiles of the BfN (see section natural spatial structure )
  2. a b c d e Osthessisches Bergland: Map and description in the Hessen Environmental Atlas (opens in a new window)
  3. Map services of the Federal Agency for Nature Conservation ( information )
  4. a b c d Jürgen Udolph: onenological studies on the Germanic problem (= Reallexikon der Germanischen Altertumskunde, supplementary volumes. Volume 9). Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 1994, ISBN 3-11-014138-8 .
  5. a b c d Johannes M. Waidfeld: Excerpt from the work Monumenta Buochonia. Volume 5: Stages of the history of "Hesse", late antiquity to the late Middle Ages (p. 325 ff). Günther Büchner, Lauterbach 2010, ISBN 978-3-9813053-4-0 , on jaegervereinigung-lauterbach.de (PDF; 5.9 MB)
  6. ^ A b Manfred Hempe: Rhön - Attempts at a name interpretation (folklore tradition) (Rhönlexikon), on rhoen.info
  7. Wolfgang Laur: The origin of Germanic as reflected in the names of places and waters. In: Astrid van Nahl, Lennart Elmevik, Stefan Brink (eds.): Worlds of names: place and person names in a historical perspective. Walter de Gruyter, Berlin 2004, ISBN 3-11-018108-8 , pp. 201-212.
  8. Harald Bichlmeier: Some Indo-European comments on the presumed derivation of the place name Leipzig: the river name urgerm. * Līƀō- or the area name urgerm. * Līƀi̯a- (with an excursus on the name of the Rhön and an appendix with further considerations on the name of the Elbe). In: onenological information. Volume 101/102, 2013, pp. 49-75, urn : nbn: de: bsz: 15-qucosa-150726 .
  9. A. Wich: h, the spirant [spirans] in the German language. In: Archives for Philology and Education. Volume 7, 1841, pp. 532-538 ( MDZ reader ).
  10. a b Emil Meynen , Josef Schmithüsen (ed.): Handbook of the natural spatial structure of Germany . Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Remagen / Bad Godesberg 1953–1962 (9 deliveries in 8 books, updated map 1: 1,000,000 with main units 1960).
  11. Various authors: Geographical Land Survey: The natural spatial units in single sheets (per map 1: 200,000 and paperback; →  maps ) - Federal Institute for Regional Studies, Bad Godesberg 1959–1987.
    (Single sheets in parentheses have only a marginal share in the Rhön; single sheets marked with an asterisk (*) have not yet been included in the list).
  12. Classification of natural areas ( Memento from September 29, 2007 in the Internet Archive ) (District Kissingen), on archive.org (PDF; 89 kB)
  13. exact official name unknown
  14. The Handbook of the Natural Region Divisions of Germany treated in 1957 nor the Rhon than just a feature unit group, which is of the outline created Federal Institute for Regional Studies was revised in 1960 with the updated map.
  15. In the name of the main unit "Vorder- und Kuppenrhön (with land ridge)" , Vorderrhön is meant in a different sense, see Vordere Rhön # Other uses of the term !
  16. For each natural area, if mountains do not exceed 885  m , 2 mountains are recorded, otherwise one. As a rule, these are the two highest or the highest and a prominent edge mountain that is more prominent and / or dominant than the second highest
  17. ^ Franz-Peter Schmidt, Yitbarek Gebreyohannes, Manfred Schliestedt: Abstract in: The Rhön basement. Journal of the German Geological Society, Volume 137, 1986, pp. 287-300, on schweizerbart.de
  18. cf. Bernt Schröder: Saxon tectonics in the eastern part of the southern German plaice. In: Geologische Rundschau. Volume 65, 1976, No. 1, pp. 34-54, Fig. 4, doi: 10.1007 / BF01808454
  19. Walter Freudenberger: Rock sequence of the overburden north of the Danube and in the Molasse underground: Perm. In: Walter Freudenberger, Klaus Schwerd (Red.): Explanations of the Geological Map of Bavaria 1: 500,000. Bavarian Geological State Office, Munich 1996, pp. 55–64, on bestellen.bayern.de
  20. Claus Schumacher, Eleonore Kaidies, Franz-Peter Schmidt: Abstract in: The basal Zechstein of the Spessart-Rhön threshold. In: Journal of the German Geological Society. Volume 135, 1984, pp. 563-571.
  21. ^ Rainer R. Schoch: Comparative osteology of Mastodonsaurus giganteus (Jaeger, 1828) from the Middle Triassic (Lettenkeuper: Longobardian) of Germany (Baden-Württemberg, Bavaria, Thuringia). In: Stuttgart contributions to natural history. Series B, No. 278, 1999, p. 21 and 27 (PDF; 3.6 MB), on naturkundemuseum-bw.de
  22. ^ Emily J. Rayfield, Paul M. Barrett, Andrew R. Milner: Utility and Validity of Middle and Late Triassic 'Land Vertebrate Faunachrons'. In: Journal of Vertebrate Paleontology. Volume 29, 2009, No. 1, pp. 80-87, doi: 10.1671 / 039.029.0132 .
  23. Walter Freudenberger: Rock sequence of the overburden north of the Danube and in the Molasse underground: Triassic. In: Walter Freudenberger, Klaus Schwerd (Red.): Explanations of the geological map of Bavaria 1: 500,000. Bavarian Geological State Office, Munich 1996, pp. 65–90, on bestellen.bayern.de
  24. a b c d Hans Risch: Tertiary in Northwest Bavaria. In: Walter Freudenberger, Klaus Schwerd (Red.): Explanations of the geological map of Bavaria 1: 500,000. Bavarian Geological State Office, Munich 1996, p. 129 f., On bestellen.bayern.de
  25. Erlend Martini, Peter Rothe: Sieblos at the Wasserkuppe: Research drilling in an old-tertiary lake. In: Erlend Martini, Peter Rothe (ed.): The ancient tertiary fossil deposit Sieblos at the Wasserkuppe / Rhön. Geological treatises Hessen, Volume 104. Hessisches Landesamt für Bodenforschung, Wiesbaden 1998, ISBN 3-89531-806-X , pp. 7-27.
  26. Erlend Martini (Ed.): Fossil communities of the sinkhole Oberleichtersbach (Oligocene). Courier Forschungsinstitut Senckenberg, Volume 260.Swisserbart, Stuttgart 2008, ISBN 978-3-510-61389-2 .
  27. a b Dieter Hans Mai: The floral change in the Tertiary of the Rhön mountains (Germany). In: Acta Palaeobotanica. Volume 47, 2007, No. 1, pp. 135-143, on botany.pl (PDF; 39 kB)
  28. one speaks in this context of the Central European Volcanic Province (ger .: Central European Volcanic Province , CEVP)
  29. a b K. Hans Wedepohl, Emil Gohn, Gerald Hartmann: Cenozoic alkali basaltic magmas of western Germany and their products of differentiation. In: Contributions to Mineralogy and Petrology. Volume 115, 1994, No. 3, pp. 253-278.
  30. ^ Bernhard Mayer: Petrogenesis of Hornblende-Bearing Lavas (Rhön, Germany). Dissertation to obtain a doctorate in natural sciences in the Geosciences Department of the University of Hamburg, 2013, p. 14, on nb.info (PDF; 4.6 MB)
  31. a b c d Dierk Henningsen, Gerhard Katzung: Introduction to the geology of Germany. 7th edition. Spektrum Akademischer Verlag, Munich 2006, ISBN 3-8274-1586-1 , pp. 162ff.
  32. Madelaine Böhme, Burkart Engesser, Erlend Martini, Gerhard Storch: An Upper Oligocene fauna in the base tuffs of the Wasserkuppe volcanism (Rhön). In: Geological Yearbook Hessen. Volume 132, 2005, pp. 69-78, on seine-staerke.com (PDF; 1.6 MB)
  33. Bavarian State Office for the Environment: Former "Unity" lignite mine on Bauersberg. (PDF) Retrieved December 27, 2016 . Geotope register Bavaria (PDF; 305 kB)
  34. Bernt Schröder, Andreas Peterek: Cenozoic Morphotectonics and erosion between Hochrhön and Heldburg gang. In: Journal for Geological Sciences (Berlin). Volume 30, 2002, No. 4-5, pp. 263-276.
  35. Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke: The Early Pleistocene (Epivillafranchian) Faunal Site of Untermassfeld (Thuringia, Central Germany) Synthesis of New Results. In: David Lordkipanidze, Ofer Bar-Yosef, Marcel Otte (Eds.): Early Humans at the Gates of Europe. Proceedings of the first international symposium. Dmanisi, Tbilisi (Georgia) September 1998. Etudes et Recherches Archéologiques de l'Université de Liège, Volume 92. Center de recherches archéologiques, Université de Liège, Liège 2000, pp. 123-138, on rhinoresourcecenter.com (PDF; 591 kB )
  36. ^ Günter Landeck: Migration of early humans to Central Europe before the Middle Pleistocene? - New archaeological evidence from Germany. ( Memento from May 19, 2015 in the Internet Archive ) North Hessian Association for Prehistory and Early History and Archeology of the Middle Ages (NVUFM), 2008, on vorzeit-hessen.com (PDF; 8.47 MB)
  37. Wil Roebroeks , Sabine Gaudzinski-Windheuser , Michael Baales , Ralf-Dietrich Kahlke: Uneven data quality and the earliest occupation of Europe - the case of Untermassfeld (Germany). In: Journal of Paleolithic Archeology. Vol. 1, 2018, pp. 5-31, doi: 10.1007 / s41982-017-0003-5
  38. Norman Zellmer: Rhön people want to make geology tangible. Retrieved December 27, 2016 . , in: Fuldaer Zeitung , July 20, 2011
  39. Julius Austria: The poor Rhön. A picture of culture and morals from the last hundred years before the war. Gerisch, Hamburg 1919 (with many examples of the poverty prevailing in many places).
  40. ^ Wilhelm Heinrich Riehl: Land and people. 5th edition. Cotta, Stuttgart 1861 ( VII. The country of the poor people , pp. 223-266; MDZ reader ).
  41. Uwe Barth: Natural treasures of the Rhön: Borstgrasrasen ( Memento from April 24, 2014 in the Internet Archive ), LIFE-Projekt Rhön of the EU (Ed.), Kaltensundheim 1997, on archive.org (PDF; 7.3 MB)
  42. n-tv.de: Germany's first starlight park: Rhön relies on dim light . In: n-tv . August 11, 2011.
  43. rhoen.info: Rhön Star Park officially recognized. Retrieved February 3, 2018 .


(in chronological order)
General literature

  • Rhön . In: Universal Lexicon of the Present and Past . 4., reworked. and strongly increased edition, Volume 14:  Reif – Saugeschacht , Eigenverlag, Altenburg 1862, pp.  125–126 .
  • Rhön . In: Meyers Konversations-Lexikon . 4th edition. Volume 13, Verlag des Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1885–1892, p. 795.
  • Rhön . In: Meyers Großes Konversations-Lexikon . 6th edition. Volume 16, Bibliographisches Institut, Leipzig / Vienna 1908, pp.  886–888 .
  • Irene Reif : A vast country. Days in the Rhön ... a vision! In: Franconia - my love. Oberfränkische Verlagsanstalt, Hof 1989, ISBN 3-921615-91-7 , p. 5 ff.
  • Irene Reif: Free as a cat's eye. From Fulda to Kreuzberg. In: Franconia - my love. Oberfränkische Verlagsanstalt, Hof 1989, ISBN 3-921615-91-7 , p. 117 ff.
  • Michael Pasdzior, Stefan Waldmann: The Rhön. 2nd updated edition. Ellert and Richter, Hamburg 2005, ISBN 978-3-89234-712-5 .
  • Walter Höhn: The Thuringian Rhön. A cultural landscape. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2007, ISBN 978-3-86568-294-9 .
  • Carmen Holzhausen, Jürgen Holzhausen: Experience the Rhön. 2nd Edition. Elmar Hahn Verlag, Veitshöchheim 2008, ISBN 978-3-928645-36-2 .
  • Ernst-Otto Luthardt : Bavarian Rhön. Stürtz, Würzburg 2009, ISBN 978-3-8003-1906-0 .
  • Ernst-Otto Luthardt: Journey through the Rhön. Stürtz, Würzburg 2013, ISBN 978-3-8003-4195-5 .
  • Thomas Heiler, Udo Lange, Gregor K. Stasch, Frank Verse (eds.): The Rhön - history of a landscape. Conference proceedings. (= Publication for the symposium "Rhön 2015 - History of a Landscape" in Fulda 2014). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-7319-0256-0 .
  • Thomas Heiler, Udo Lange, Gregor K. Stasch, Frank Verse (eds.): The Rhön - history of a landscape. Exhibition catalog. (= Catalog for the exhibition of the same name in the Vonderau Museum from July 1, 2015 to March 28, 2016). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2015, ISBN 978-3-7319-0272-0 .
  • Rüdiger Edelmann: Rhön so beautiful: a journey into open distances. Gmeiner-Verlag, Meßkirch 2016, ISBN 978-3839219850 .

travel Guide

  • Justus Schneider : Guide through the Rhön: together with an appendix for the spa guests in the Rhön baths Bocklet, Brückenau, Kissingen, Neuhaus and a travel and route map. Stahel, Würzburg 1877.
  • Gustav Schneider, Gerhilde Kramm: Schneider's Rhön guide. Official leader of the Rhön Club. 26th edition. Parzeller, Fulda 2008, ISBN 978-3-7900-0404-5 .
  • Travel guide Rhön. tvv, Vellmar 1999, ISBN 3-930632-76-4
  • Regina Rinke: The 50 most beautiful destinations in the Rhön. 4th updated edition. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2018, ISBN 978-3-86568-826-2 .


  • Gottfried Mälzer (Ed.): The Rhön. Old pictures and old reports. Echter, Würzburg 1984, ISBN 3-429-00918-9 .
  • Rhönklub (Hrsg.): The Rhön at the time of the 30 Years War. Rhönklub, Fulda 1993, DNB 947290095 .
  • Rhönklub (Ed.): Beech land in peasant hands. The Peasants' War in the Rhön. Rhönklub, Fulda 1998, DNB 95425855X .
  • Joachim Stephan Hohmann: The Thuringian Rhön in the "Third Reich". State Center for Political Education Thuringia, Erfurt 1999, DNB 956 324 134 .
  • Hanswilhelm Haefs : place names and local stories from the Rhön and the Fulda region. Rhön Verlag, Hünfeld 2001, ISBN 3-931796-99-X .
  • Walter Höhn: The Celts in the Rhön. From the Milseburg to the Celtic village. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2006, ISBN 978-3-86568-142-3 .
  • Walter Höhn (ed.): On the trail of the Celts in the Rhön, in the Fuldaer Land and in the grave field. From the Werra to the Fulda and the Franconian Saale. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86568-511-7 .
  • Peter Jacob: Rhön Post in the old days. (= Publication of the Fulda History Association. Volume 71). Parzeller, Fulda 2013, ISBN 978-3-7900-0462-5 .
  • Gerhard Schätzlein: The Reich Labor Service in the Rhön from 1932 to 1945. With all labor camps in the Franconian, Hessian and Thuringian Rhön and its surroundings. Schätzlein, Willmars 2013, ISBN 978-3-942112-09-3 .
  • Zukunft Bildung Region Fulda eV (Ed.): 400 years of Jews in the Rhön. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2019, ISBN 978-3-7319-0476-2 .


  • Leopold Höhl: Rhönmirror. Three lectures on the life, customs and language of the Rhön people, held in the Rhön Club in Würzburg. Verlag der Rhönklub-Section, Würzburg 1881 ( digitized in the Internet Archive ).
  • Julius Austria: The poor Rhön. A picture of culture and morals from the last hundred years before the war. People's newspaper, Düsseldorf 1919, DNB 575298464 .
  • Johann Pfeufer: Rhönerisch and Franconian. A comparative folklore. 2nd Edition. Publishing house Michael Laßleben, Kallmünz 1972.
  • Aloys Winterling: Folklore of the High Rhön. The rural life and moral community. (= Series of publications of the Rhön Nature Park, Volume 1). Parzeller, Fulda 1981.
  • Gottfried Rehm: Life in the Rhön. Contributions to the history and folklore of our homeland. Rhön Verlag, Hünfeld 1996, ISBN 3-931796-32-9 .
  • August Becker: The last 100 years between Rhön and Vogelsberg. Anecdotes, manners and customs. Buchfink, Geisa 1999, ISBN 3-934567-00-2 .
  • Elke Böhm, Anton Kaiser and others: Masks. Folk art and customs of the Rhön. Universitas, Munich 2002 ISBN 978-3-8004-1446-8 .
  • Walter Höhn: Festivals and celebrations in the Thuringian Rhön. Rural customs in words, pictures and verses. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2004, ISBN 978-3-937251-40-0 .
  • Gottfried Rehm: Pilgrimages and places of pilgrimage in Fulda and the Rhön. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2005, ISBN 978-3-937251-94-3 .
  • Berthold Schwalbach: Rhön village life in the post-war period. About baking, slaughtering and threshing, about customs and the seasons. Parzeller, Fulda 2006, ISBN 978-3-7900-0376-5 .
  • Government of Lower Franconia (Ed.): From the Rhön inhabitants, after Peter Back. Schnell + Steiner, Regensburg 2007, ISBN 978-3-7954-1839-7 .
  • Wolfgang Brückner : Rhön carved figures from the 19th century. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2008, ISBN 978-3-86568-277-2 .
  • Gundula Hubrich-Messow (Hrsg.): Legends and fairy tales from the Rhön. Husum, Husum 2013, ISBN 978-3-89876-654-8 .

Cultivated landscape surveys

  • Rhön Biosphere Reserve Bavarian Administration Office (Hrsg.): Historical cultural landscape around Fladungen. (= Rhön Historical Cultural Landscape, Volume 1). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-86568-468-4 .
  • Rhön Biosphere Reserve Bavarian Administration Office (Hrsg.): Historical cultural landscape of the forest villages - Sandberg, Waldberg, Langenleiten, Schmalwasser and Kilianshof. (= Rhön Historical Cultural Landscape, Volume 2). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2009, ISBN 978-3-86568-557-5 .
  • Rhön Biosphere Reserve Bavarian Administration Office (Hrsg.): Historical cultural landscape of the upper Sinntal - Riedenberg municipality and Wildflecken municipality. (= Rhön Historical Cultural Landscape, Volume 3). Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2012, ISBN 978-3-86568-888-0 .
  • Wolf-Dieter Raftopoulo: Rhön and Grabfeld culture guides. A complete documentation of the old cultural landscapes in terms of art and cultural history. RMd Verlag, Gerbrunn 2017, ISBN 978-3-9818603-7-5 .

Natural history

  • Rüdiger Knapp: The flora of the Rhön. With special consideration of the nature park areas. Cramer, Lehr 1971 (2nd, expanded edition, Parzeller, Fulda 1977, ISBN 3-7900-0078-7 ).
  • Erwin Rutte, Norbert Wilczewski: Mainfranken and Rhön. (= Collection of Geological Guides, Volume 74). 3rd revised edition. Borntraeger, Berlin / Stuttgart 1995, ISBN 978-3-443-15067-9 .
  • Horst Beyer: The geological and historical climate of the Rhön. Rhön Verlag, Hünfeld 1996, ISBN 3-931796-28-0 .
  • Hans Dieter Nüdling: Rhön basalt. Development, mining, geotopes. Parzeller, Fulda 2006, ISBN 978-3-7900-0381-9 .
  • Ute Lange: Moors of the Rhön. Hahn, Veitshöchheim 2010, ISBN 978-3-928645-72-0 .
  • Rudolf Diemer, Joachim Jenrich: The Rhön - fascination with nature. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2010, ISBN 978-3-86568-349-6 .
  • Jochen Tamm, Rudolf Diemer: The Rhön ... born of fire! 2nd, revised edition. Michael Imhof Verlag, Petersberg 2014, ISBN 978-3-86568-273-4 .
  • Marco Klüber: Orchids in the Rhön and their habitats. protect - care - preserve. Fulda 2015 ( PDF; 13.46 MB ).

Web links

Commons : Rhön  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wikivoyage: Rhön  - travel guide