Main Valley Attractions
The river Main, with a total length of 524km/326mi, is formed by the junction of the Weisser Main (White Main), which rises on the Ochsenkopf in the Fichtelgebirge, and the Roter Main (Red Main), coming from the Franconian Jura, which meet below Kulmbach.
LandscapeThe Main breaks through the Franconian Jura at Lichtenfels, cuts through the hills between the Hassberge and the Steigerwald in its westward course between Bamberg and Hassfurt. It describes a wide bend at Kitzungen through the vine-growing limestone region of the Franconian Plateau and flows round the Spessart sandstone plateau between Gemünden and Aschaffenburg - with the red rock walls of the Spessart to the north and the Odenwald to the south coming close to the river at certain points - to reach the Middle Rhine plain just before Aschaffenburg. It then flows through the Rhine-Main industrial region to join the Rhine opposite Mainz.VinicultureThe main vine-growing area lies in the Main triangle around Würzburg, but much is also produced on the western slopes of the Steigerwald and on the Frankenhöhe. In the side valleys of the Main and the Saale and Tauber valleys, however, it has lost much of its former importance.
Main Valley Route
From Frankfurt am Main (in Hesse) the Main route follows B 8 or the motorway to Aschaffenburg and then runs up the left bank of the Main. At Grosswallstadt is a dam. On the opposite bank is Kleinwallstadt, which has a fine Roccoco church (1752).
The little town of Obernburg in the Main Valley occupies the site of a Roman fort (museum in the Römerhaus). It preserves its old town gates and towers.
Opposite Trennfurt in the Main Valley is the little town of Klingenberg. Above the town stands a ruined castle.
In Kleinheubach, in the Main Valley, is the Baroque Schloss of the Princes Löwenstein. Opposite it are Grossheubach (half-timbered Town Hall, 1612) and, higher up, the Franciscan friary of Engelsberg with its Baroque pilgrimage church (view).
At Mondfeld in the Main Valley a ferry crosses the river to the little town of Stadtprozelten, above which rises a massive ruined castle, the Henneburg (12th-15th C.).
At the junction of the Tauber with the Main lies the pretty little town of Wertheim. In the Marktplatz are a number of handsome half-timbered houses, and nearby is the plain Gothic parish church, with tombs of the Counts of Wertheim (15th-18th C.) in the choir. The town has a Glass Museum. Above the town is Burg Wertheim (enlarged in 16th C.).Beyond Wertheim it is possible to short-circuit the long northward loop in the Main and make direct for Würzburg. The road following the Main valley turns north, still on the left bank of the river.
At Marktheidenfeld in the Main Valley a bridge links the Main area with the Spessart. The town has a large Maradies swimming pool.
The road along the Main runs north, passing Rothenfels (Town Hall of 1599, Renaissance parish church, large castle), to Lohr, an old-world little town of half-timbered houses. In the Marktplatz stands the large Renaissance Town Hall (1599-1602) and to the northwest the old 16th century Schloss of the Electors of Mainz, with the Spessart Museum.
Gemünden lies at the junction of the Franconian Saale with the Main. Above the town is a ruined castle, the Scherenburg (13th-14th C.). The Huttenschlösschen houses a Transport Museum.
The old-world little town of Karlstadt in the Main Valley, still surrounded by its old walls, was the home of the fanatical Reformer Andreas Bodenstein (known as Karlstadt; 1480-1541). In the Markt is the Town Hall (1422). In St Andrew's Church (14th-15th C.) can be seen a statue of St Nicholas by Tilman Riemenschneider.From near Würzburg it is possible, if you are pressed for time, to head direct for Bamberg by way of Dettelbach and Ebrach (Cistercian abbey, 1688-1740). The main route passes through the towns of Randersacker and Eibelstadt and then Sommerhausen, still surrounded by its old walls and towers, with the smallest theater in Germany, the Torturm-Theater.
The little town of Ochsenfurt in the Main Valley has a handsome Town Hall (the "New Town Hall" of 1488-99) and many half-timbered buildings. In the Gothic parish church are a tabernacle from the workshop of Adam Kraft and a statue of St Nicholas by Tilman Riemenschneider. The town also has a Heimatmuseum (local costumes, etc.).
The old-world little town of Marktbreit was once a prosperous town thanks to its coffee trade and the shipping trade on the Main. On the banks of the river is the Old Crane (1784). The town has a large Town Hall (1579) and Baroque burghers' houses, and a Renaissance Schloss (1580) of the Counts of Seinsheim.
Kitzingen, lies in a fertile basin in the Main valley. The town's principal landmark is the Falterturm (15th-16th C.), which now houses the German Shrovetide (Carnival) Museum. In the Marktplatz stand the fine Renaissance Town Hall (1561-63), the massive Marktturm (c. 1360) and the Protestant parish church (17th C.), with a Baroque facade. In the Etwashausen district is the Heiligkreuzkirche (Holy Cross Church; 1741-45) by Balthasar Neumann.
From Kitzingen in the Main Valley a detour can be made to the charming little town of Iphofen, with well preserved town walls, three fortified gates and other old buildings (Late Gothic parish church, Amtshaus of 1693, Town Hall of 1717).
Up the Main valley is Dettelbach (which can also be reached direct from Würzburg), an old-world little town still surrounded by its 15th C. walls, with 36 towers and two gates. Handsome Late Gothic Town Hall (1492-1512). At the far end of the town is the pilgrimage church of Maria im Sand (16th-17th C.), with a sumptuous main doorway and an altar with a much venerated image of the Virgin (1779).
The route along the Main passes through Münsterschwarzach (Benedictine monastery with church of 1935-38; Mission Museum) to the little town of Volkach. The town has old town gates, handsome gabled houses (16th-18th C.), a Renaissance Town Hall (1544), and a Late Gothic parish church (15th C).Northwest of the town, on the vine-clad slopes of the Kirchberg, stands the Gothic pilgrimage church of St Maria im Weingarten (Mary in the Vineyard), with a famous "Madonna with Rosary" (1521) by Tilman Riemenschneider.The Volkach festival attracts nearly 8,000 visitors each September.
Escherndorf is a village in the Franken region which hosts a festival every weekend in September and October.
Hassfurt, in the upper Main valley, has remains of its old town walls and gates. In the Markt are the Gothic Town Hall (15th C.) and the twin-towered parish church (15th C.), with a figure of St John the Baptist by Tilman Riemenschneider in the choir. At the east end of the town is the Late Gothic Ritterkapelle (Knights' Chapel; 1390-1455), with 226 coats of arms on the outside of the choir and on the reticulated vaulting of the interior.The route along the Main continues north by way of Staffelstein, Vierzehnheiligen and Banz, followed by Lichtenfels and Burgkunstadt.
Main Valley Pictures View All