1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Main (river)

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MAIN (Lat. Moenus), a river of Germany, and the most important right-bank tributary of the Rhine. It has two sources, the Weisse Main (White Main), which rises in the Fichtelgebirge on the east side of the Ochsenkopf, and the Rote Main (Red Main), which, rising on the eastern slope of the Frankish Jura, flows past Bayreuth. They unite 3 m. below Kulmbach, 920 ft. above the sea. Hence the river, already of considerable size, pursues a north-westerly direction, skirting the spurs of the Frankish Jura in a pleasant valley. At Lichtenfels the river takes a south-westerly course, which it retains until entering the fertile basin of Bamberg. Here it receives from the south-east the waters of its chief tributary, the Regnitz, and enters upon its middle course. Its direction is now again north-west, and meandering through pleasant vales and pastures it passes Hassfurt and reaches Schweinfurt. Its course is now almost due south to Ochsenfurt, when it again proceeds north-west. Continuing in this direction amid vine-clad hills, it washes the walls of the university city of Würzburg, and thence, dividing the forest-clad ranges of the Spessart and the Odenwald, reaches Gemünden. Here it is joined from the right by the Frankish Saale and, turning abruptly south, receives at Wertheim the beautiful Tauber. Feudal castles and medieval towns now crown its banks, notably, Freudenberg and Miltenberg. From the latter it proceeds due north to Aschaffenburg, whence passing Frankfort it pours its yellow waters into the green waters of the Rhine just above Mainz. The Main has a total length of 310 m. and drains a basin of approximately 11,000 sq. m. It is navigable from the confluence of the Regnitz, 240 m. from its mouth, for barges and other small craft, and through the Ludwig Canal is connected with the Danube.

See Ulrici, Das Maingebiet in seiner natürlichen Beschaffenheit (Kassel, 1885); E. Faber, Zur Hydrographie des Maingebiets (Munich, 1895), and Lill, Mainthal, Main und Mainschiffahrt (Berlin, 1904).