Franconia (german: Franken; in the Franconian dialect: ''Franggn'' rɑŋgŋ̩
is a region
, characterised by its culture and language, and may be roughly associated with the areas in which the East Franconian
dialect group, colloquially referred to as "Franconian" (German: "''Fränkisch''"), is spoken.
There are several other Franconian
dialects, but only the East Franconian ones are colloquially referred to as "Franconian".
"Core Franconia" is constituted by the three administrative regions
, and Upper Franconia
(largest cities: Nuremberg
, and Bamberg
, respectively) of the state of Bavaria
. Also part of the cultural region of Franconia are the adjacent Franconian
-speaking regions of the otherwise Thuringian
and Upper Saxon
-speaking state of Thuringia
, south of the Rennsteig
ridge; largest city: Suhl
), the Franconian-speaking parts of Heilbronn-Franconia
(largest city: Schwäbisch Hall
) in the state of Baden-Württemberg
, and small parts of the state of Hesse
Those parts of the region of Vogtland
lying in the state of Saxony
(largest city: Plauen
) are sometimes regarded as Franconian as well, because the Vogtlandian
dialects are mostly East Franconian. The inhabitants of Saxon Vogtland, however, mostly do not consider themselves as "Franconian". On the other hand, the inhabitants of the Hessian
-speaking parts of Lower Franconia
west of the Spessart
mountains (largest city: Aschaffenburg
) do consider themselves as "Franconian". Heilbronn-Franconia's largest city of Heilbronn
and its surrounding areas being South Franconian
-speaking, those are only sometimes regarded as Franconian.
Franconia's largest city and unofficial capital is Nuremberg
, which is contiguous with Erlangen
, with which it forms a large conurbation, with around 1.3 million inhabitants.
The German word ''Franken''—Franconians—also refers to the ethnic group
, which is mainly to be found in this region. They are to be distinguished from the Germanic
tribe of the Franks
, and historically formed their easternmost settlement area. The origins of Franconia lie in the settlement of the Franks from the 6th century in the area probably populated until then mainly by the Elbe Germanic
people in the Main river
area, known from the 9th century as East Francia
In the Middle Ages
the region formed much of the eastern part of the Duchy of Franconia
and, from 1500, the Franconian Circle
[Rudolf Endres: "''Der Fränkische Reichskreis''. In: ''Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 29'', published by the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte, Regensburg, 2003, p. 6, se]
During the course of restructuring the south German states by Napoleon
, after the demise of the Holy Roman Empire
, most of Franconia was awarded to Bavaria.
The German name for Franconia, ''Franken'', comes from the dative
plural form of ''Franke,'' a member of the Germanic tribe known as the Franks
The name of the Franks
in turn derives from a word meaning "daring, bold", cognate with old Norwegian
''frakkr'', "quick, bold". Franks from the Middle
and Lower Rhine
gradually gained control of (and so gave their name to) what is now Franconia during the 6th to 8th centuries.
English distinguishes between ''Franks'' (the early medieval Germanic people) and ''Franconians'' in reference to the high medieval stem duchy
, following Middle Latin
use of ''Francia'' for France
vs. ''Franconia'' for the German duchy. In German the name ''Franken'' is equally used for both, while the French are called ''Franzosen'', after Old French ''françois
'', from Latin ''franciscus'', from Late Latin
''Francus'', from ''Frank'', the Germanic tribe.
The Franconian lands lie principally in Bavaria, north and south of the sinuous River Main
which, together with the left (southern) Regnitz
tributary, including its Rednitz
headstreams, drains most of Franconia. Other large rivers include the upper Werra
in Thuringia and the Tauber
, as well as the upper Jagst
streams in the west, both right tributaries of the Neckar
. In southern Middle Franconia, the Altmühl
flows towards the Danube
; the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal
crosses the European Watershed
. The man-made Franconian Lake District
has become a popular destination for day-trippers and tourists.
The landscape is characterized by numerous ''Mittelgebirge
'' ranges of the German Central Uplands
. The Western natural border of Franconia is formed by the Spessart
and Rhön Mountains
, separating it from the former Rhenish Franconia
n lands around Aschaffenburg
(officially part of Lower Franconia), whose inhabitants speak Hessian dialects
. To the north rise the Rennsteig
ridge of the Thuringian Forest
, the Thuringian Highland
and the Franconian Forest
, the border with the Upper Saxon
lands of Thuringia
. The Franconian lands include the present-day South Thuringian districts of Schmalkalden-Meiningen
, the historical ''Gau
'' of Grabfeld
, held by the House of Henneberg
from the 11th century and later part of the Wettin
duchy of Saxe-Meiningen
In the east, the Fichtel Mountains
lead to Vogtland
, Bohemian Egerland
(''Chebsko'') in the Czech Republic
, and the Bavarian Upper Palatinate
. The hills of the Franconian Jura
in the south mark the border with the Upper Bavaria
n region (''Altbayern
''), historical Swabia
, and the Danube basin. The northern parts of the Upper Bavarian Eichstätt District
, territory of the historical Bishopric of Eichstätt
, are also counted as part of Franconia.
In the west, Franconia proper comprises the Tauber Franconia
region along the Tauber river, which is largely part of the Main-Tauber-Kreis
in Baden-Württemberg. The state's larger Heilbronn-Franken
region also includes the adjacent Hohenlohe
and Schwäbisch Hall district
s. In the city of Heilbronn
, beyond the Haller Ebene
plateau, South Franconian
dialects are spoken. Furthermore, in those easternmost parts of the Neckar-Odenwald-Kreis
which had formerly belonged to the Bishopric of Würzburg
, the inhabitants have preserved their Franconian identity. Franconian areas in East Hesse
along Spessart and Rhön comprise Gersfeld
The two largest cities of Franconia are Nuremberg
. Though located on the southeastern periphery of the area, the Nuremberg metropolitan area is often identified as the economic and cultural centre of Franconia. Further cities in Bavarian Franconia include Fürth
. The major (East) Franconian towns in Baden-Württemberg are Schwäbisch Hall
on the Kocher — the imperial city
declared itself "Swabian" in 1442 — and Crailsheim
on the Jagst river. The main towns in Thuringia are Suhl
File:Rothenburg BW 4.JPG|Rothenburg is one of the best known towns in Franconia
File:Walberla 2008.jpg|Walberla in Franconia
File:Möhrendorf Vierzigmannrad Flügel.jpg|Water wheel at the Regnitz
File:Nuremberg panorama morning 3.jpg|Nuremberg is the largest city of Franconia
File:Veste Coburg Luftbild.jpg|Aerial view of the Veste Coburg
Franconia may be distinguished from the regions that surround it by its peculiar historical factors and its cultural and especially linguistic characteristics, but it is not a political entity with a fixed or tightly defined area. As a result, it is debated whether some areas belong to Franconia or not. Pointers to a more precise definition of Franconia's boundaries include: the territories covered by the former Duchy of Franconia
and former Franconian Circle
[Rudolf Endres: ''Der Fränkische Reichskreis.'' In: ''Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 29,'' published by the House of Bavarian History, Regensburg, 2003, p. 37, se]
the range of the East Franconian dialect group
, the common culture and history of the region and the use of the Franconian Rake
on coats of arms, flags and seals. However, a sense of popular consciousness of being Franconian is only detectable from the 19th century onwards, which is why the circumstances of the emergence of a Frankish identity are disputed.
Franconia has many cultural peculiarities which have been adopted from other regions and further developed.
The following regions are counted as part of Franconia today: the Bavarian provinces
of Lower Franconia
, Upper Franconia
and Middle Franconia
, the municipality of Pyrbaum
in the county of Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz
, the northwestern part of the Upper Bavaria
n county of Eichstätt
(covering the same area as the old county of Alt-Eichstätt), the East Franconian counties of South Thuringia
, parts of Fulda
and the Odenwaldkreis
in Hesse, the Baden-Württemberg regions of Tauber Franconia
as well as the region around the Badenian Buchen
In individual cases the membership of some areas is disputed. These include the Bavarian language
area of Alt-Eichstätt
[''Was ist fränkisch? Wie eine Region definiert wird''](_blank)
Bayerischer Rundfunk, Bayern 2
and the Hessian-speaking region around Aschaffenburg
, which was never part of the Franconian Imperial Circle. The affiliation of the city of Heilbronn
, whose inhabitants do not call themselves Franks,
[Ulrich Maier (Justinus-Kerner-Gymnasium Weinsberg): ''Schwäbisch oder fränkisch? Mundart im Raum Heilbronn Bausteine zu einer Unterrichtseinheit.']
see online pdf
is also controversial. Moreover, the sense of belonging to Franconia in the Frankish-speaking areas of Upper Palatinate
, South Thuringia and Hesse is sometimes less marked.
The region of Franconia is divided among the states of Hesse, Thuringia, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg. The largest part of Franconia, both by population and area, belongs to the Free State of Bavaria and is divided into the three provinces (''Regierungsbezirke'') of Middle Franconia
), Upper Franconia
) and Lower Franconia
). The name of these provinces, as in the case of Upper
and Lower Bavaria
, refers to their situation with respect to the River Main
. Thus Upper Franconia lies on the upper reaches of the river, Lower Franconia on its lower reaches and Middle Franconia lies in between, although the Main itself does not flow through Middle Franconia. Where the boundaries of these three provinces meet (the 'tripoint
') is the ''Dreifrankenstein
'' ("Three Franconias Rock").
Small parts of Franconia also belong to the Bavarian provinces of Upper Palatinate
and Upper Bavaria
The Franconian territories of Baden-Württemberg
are the regions of Tauber Franconia
(which belong to the Heilbronn-Franconia Region
with its office in Heilbronn and form part of the Stuttgart Region
) and the area around the Badenian Buchen
in the Rhein-Neckar Region
The Franconian parts of Thuringia (Henneberg Franconia
) lie within the Southwest Thuringia Planning Region.
The Franconian regions in Hesse form the smaller parts of the counties of Fulda
) and the Odenwaldkreis
), or lie on the borders with Bavaria or Thuringia.
Rivers and lakes
The two most important rivers of the region are the Main
and its primary tributary, the Regnitz
. The tributaries of these two rivers in Franconia are the Tauber
and Franconian Saale
. Other major rivers in the region are the Jagst
in Hohenlohe-Franconia, which empty into the Neckar
north of Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg, the Altmühl
and the Wörnitz
in Middle Franconia, both tributaries of the Danube
, and the upper and middle reaches of the Werra
, the right-hand headstream of the Weser
. In the northeast of Upper Franconia rise two left-hand tributaries of the Elbe
: the Saxon Saale
and the Eger
The Main-Danube Canal
connects the Main and Danube across Franconia, running from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim
. It thus complements the Rhine, Main and Danube, helping to ensure a continuous navigable waterway between the North Sea
and the Black Sea
. In Franconia, there are only a few, often very small, natural lake
s. This is due to fact that most natural lakes in Germany are glacial
in origin, and Franconia escaped both influences in recent earth history. Among the largest waterbodies are reservoir
s, which are mostly used as water reserves for the relatively dry landscapes of Franconia. These includes the waters of the Franconian Lake District
, which was established in the 1970s and is also a tourist attraction. The heart of these lakes is the Großer Brombachsee
, which has an area of 8.7 km² and is thus the largest waterbody in Franconia by surface area.
Hills, mountains and plains
Several Central Upland
ranges dominate the Franconian countryside. In the southeast, Franconia is shielded from the rest of Bavaria by the Franconian Jura
. In the east, the Fichtel Mountains
form the border; in the north are Franconian Forest
, the Thuringian Forest
, the Rhön Mountains
and the Spessart
form a kind of natural barrier. To the west are the Franconian Heights
and the Swabian-Franconian Forest
. In the Franconian part of South Hesse is the Odenwald
. Parts of the southern Thuringian Forest
border on Franconia. The most important hill ranges in the interior of the region are the Steigerwald
and the Franconian Jura with their sub-ranges of Hahnenkamm
and Franconian Switzerland
. The highest mountain in Franconia is the Schneeberg
in the Fichtel Mountains which is .
Other well-known mountains include the Ochsenkopf
[Source: the BfN map]
), the Kreuzberg
) and the Hesselberg
). The outliers
of the region include the Hesselberg and the Gleichberge
. The lowest point in Franconia is the water level of the River Main in Kahl
which lies at a height of 100 metres above sea level.
In addition to the hill and mountain ranges, there are also several very level areas, including the Middle Franconian Basin
and the Hohenlohe Plain
. In the south of Franconia are smaller parts of the flat Nördlinger Ries
, one of the best preserved impact craters on earth.
Forests, reserves, flora and fauna
Franconia's flora is dominated by deciduous and coniferous forests. Natural forests in Franconia occur mainly in the ranges of the Spessart, Franconian Forest, Odenwald and Steigerwald. The Nuremberg ''Reichswald'' is another great forest
, located within the metropolitan region of Nuremberg. Other large areas of forest in the region are the Mönchswald
, the Reichsforst
in the Fichtel Mountains and the Selb Forest
. In the river valleys along the Main and Tauber, the countryside was developed for viticulture. In Spessart there are great oak forests. Also widespread are calcareous grassland
s, extensively used pasture
s on very oligotrophic
, poor sites. In particular, the southern Franconian Jura
, with the Altmühl Valley
, is characterized by poor grassland of this type. Many of these places have been designated as a protected area
Franconia has several regions with sandy habitats that are unique for south Germany and are protected as the so-called Sand Belt of Franconia or ''Sandachse Franken
''. When the Altmühlsee
reservoir was built, a bird island was created and designated as a nature reserve where a variety of birds nest. Another important reserve is the Black Moor
in the Rhön
, which is one of the most important bog areas in Central Europe. A well known reserve is the Luisenburg Rock Labyrinth
, a felsenmeer
blocks up to several metres across. The establishment of the first Franconian national park
in the Steigerwald caused controversy and its designation was rejected in July 2011 by the Bavarian government
The reason was the negative attitude of local population. Conservationists are now demanding protection for parts of the Steigerwald by nominating it for a World Heritage Site.
[ Press report on the rejected Steigerwald National Park at BR-online, Studio-Franken]
There are several nature park
s in Franconia, including the Altmühl Valley Nature Park
, which, since 1969, has been one of the largest in Germany.
Other nature park
s are the Swabian-Franconian Forest Nature Park
in Baden-Württemberg, and the nature parks of Bavarian Rhön
, Fichtel Mountains
, Franconian Heights
, Franconian Forest
, Franconian Switzerland-Veldenstein Forest
in Bavaria, as well as the Bergstraße-Odenwald Nature Park
which straddles Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg and Hesse. Nature parks cover almost half the area of Franconia.
In 1991 UNESCO
recognised the Rhön as a biosphere reserve
. Among the most picturesque geotopes in Bavaria, are the Franconian sites of ''Fossa Carolina
'', the Twelve Apostle Rocks (''Zwölf-Apostel-Felsen''), the Ehrenbürg
, the cave ruins of Riesenburg
and the lake of Frickenhäuser See
. The European Bird Reserve
s in Franconia are found mainly in uplands like the Steigerwald, in large forests like Nuremberg's Imperial Forest or along rivers like the Altmühl.
[Karte der Vogelschutzgebiete](_blank)
: ''Mittelfranken'', stellvertretend für alle Europäischen Vogelschutzgebieten in Franken
There are also numerous Special Areas of Conservation
and protected landscape
s. In Franconia there are very many tufa
s, raised stream beds near river sources within the karst
landscape that are known as 'stone runnels' (''Steinerne Rinne
n''). There are protected examples at Heidenheim
Like large parts of Germany, Franconia only has a few large species of wild animal. Forest dwellers include various species of marten
, fallow deer
, red deer
, roe deer
, wild boar
. In natural areas such as the Fichtel mountains there are populations of lynx
[''Fichtelgebirge Nature Park''](_blank)
, retrieved 2 Jun 2014.
have grown in numbers. There are occasional sightings of animals that had long been extinct in Central Europe, for example, the wolf
Only in the extreme northeast of Franconia and in the Spessart are there Variscan outcrop
s of the crystalline basement
, which were uplifted from below the surface when the Alps
exerted a northwards-oriented pressure. These are rocks of pre-Permian
vintage, which were folded during various stages of Variscan orogeny
in the Late Palaeozoic
- before about 380 to 300 million years ago - and, in places, were metamorphosed
under high pressure and temperature or were crystallized by ascending magma
in the Earth's crust
[Stefan Glaser, Gerhard Doppler and Klaus fword (eds.): ''GeoBavaria. 600 Millionen Jahre Bayern. Internationale Edition.'' Bayerisches Geologisches Landesamt, Munich, 2004]
), p. 4
Rocks which were unchanged or only lightly metamorphosed, because they had been deformed at shallow crustal depths, include the Lower Carboniferous
shale and greywacke of Franconian Forest. The Fichtel mountains, the Münchberg Plateau and the Spessart, by contrast, have more metamorphic rocks (phyllite
). The Fichtel mountains are also characterized by large granite
bodies, called post-kinematic plutons
which, in the late phase of Variscan orogeny, intruded into the metamorphic rocks. In most cases these are S-type granites whose melting was caused by heated-up sedimentary rocks sunk deep into the Earth's crust.
[Stefan Glaser, Gerhard Doppler and Klaus fword. (eds.): ''GeoBavaria. 600 Millionen Jahre Bayern. Internationale Edition.'' Bayerisches Geologisches Landesamt, Munich, 2004]
), p. 24
While the Fichtel and Franconian Forest can be assigned to the Saxo-Thuringian Zone of Central European Variscan orogeny, the Spessart belongs to the Central German Crystalline Zone.
The Münchberg mass is variously attributed to the Saxo-Thuringian or Moldanubian Zones.
A substantially larger part of the shallow subsurface in Franconia comprises Mesozoic
, unmetamorphosed, unfolded rocks of the South German Scarplands
[Stefan Glaser, Gerhard Doppler and Klaus Schwerd (eds.): '' GeoBavaria. 600 million years Bavaria. International Edition. ''GeoBavaria. 600 Millionen Jahre Bayern. Internationale Edition.'' Bayerisches Geologisches Landesamt, Munich, 2004]
), p. 26
The regional geological element of the South German Scarplands is the Franconian Platform (''Süddeutsche Großscholle''). At the so-called Franconian Line
, a significant fault line
, the Saxo-Thuringian-Moldanubian basement was uplifted in places up to 2000 m above the Franconian Platform. The western two-thirds of Franconia is dominated by the Triassic
with its sandstone
s and claystone
s (so-called siliciclastic
s) of the bunter sandstone
; the limestone
s and marl
s of the Muschelkalk
and the mixed, but predominantly siliciclastic, sedimentary rocks of the Keuper
. In the Rhön
, the Triassic rocks are overlain and intruded by volcanic rock
s and trachyte
s) of the Tertiary
. The eastern third of Franconia is dominated by the Jurassic
rocks of the Franconian Jura
, with the dark shales of the Black Jura
, the shales and ferruginous sandstones of the Brown Jura
and, the weathering-resistant limestones and dolomitic rocks
of the White Jura
, which stand out from the landscape and form the actual ridge of the Franconian Jura itself.
In the Jura, mostly siliciclastic sedimentary rocks formed in the Cretaceous
The Mesozoic sediments have been deposited in largescale basin areas. During the Triassic, the Franconian part of these depressions was often part of the mainland, in the Jurassic it was covered for most of the time by a marginal sea
of the western Tethys Ocean
. At the time when the limestones and dolomites of the White Jura were being deposited, this sea was divided into sponge reefs and intervening lagoons. The reef bodies and the fine-grained lagoon limestones and marls are the material from which the majority of the Franconian Jura is composed today.
[Stefan Glaser, Gerhard Doppler and Klaus Schwerde. (eds.): Stefan Glaser, Gerhard Doppler und Klaus Schwerd (Red.): ''GeoBavaria. 600 Millionen Jahre Bayern. Internationale Edition.'' Bayerisches Geologisches Landesamt, Munich, 2004]
), p. 40 ff.
Following a drop in the sea level towards the end of the Upper Jurassic, larger areas also became part of the mainland at the beginning of the subsequent Cretaceous period. During the Upper Cretaceous, the sea advanced again up to the area of the Franconian Jura. At the end of the Cretaceous, the sea then retreated again from the region.
In addition, large parts of South and Central Germany experienced a general uplift -or in areas where the basement had broken through a substantial uplift - the course of formation of the Alps during the Tertiary. Since then, Franconia has been mainly influenced by erosion
(especially in the Jura in the form of karst
), which has ultimately led to formation of today's landscapes.
The oldest macrofossil
s in Franconia, which are also the oldest in Bavaria, are archaeocyatha
-like, goblet-shaped marine organisms, which were discovered in 2013 in a limestone block of Late Lower Cambrian
age, about 520 million years old. The block comes from the vicinity Schwarzenbach am Wald
from the so-called Heinersreuth Block Conglomerate (''Heinersreuther Blockkonglomerat''), a Lower Carboniferous wildflysch
. However, the aforementioned archaeocyathids are not three-dimensional fossils, but two-dimensional thin section
s. These thin sections had already been prepared and investigated in the 1970s but the archaeocyathids among them were apparently overlooked at that time.
Better known and more highly respected fossil finds in Franconia come from the unfolded sedimentary rocks of the Triassic and Jurassic. The bunter sandstone
, however, only has a relatively small number of preserved whole fossils. Much more commonly, it contains trace fossil
s, especially the tetrapod
footprints of ''Chirotherium
''. The type locality
for these animal track
s is Hildburghausen
in the Thuringian part of Franconia, where it occurs in the so-called Thuringian Chirotherium Sandstone (''Thüringer Chirotheriensandstein'', main Middle Bunter Sandstone). ''Chirotherium'' is also found in the Bavarian and Württemberg parts of Franconia. Sites include Aura
near Bad Kissingen, Karbach
[Frank-Otto Haderer, Georges Demathieu, Ronald Böttcher: ''Wirbeltier-Fährten aus dem Rötquarzit (Oberer Buntsandstein, Mittlere Trias) von Hardheim bei Wertheim/Main (Süddeutschland).'' Stuttgarter Beiträge zur Naturkunde, Serie B. No. 230, 1995]
There the deposits are somewhat younger (Upper Bunter Sandstone), and the corresponding stratigraphic
interval is called the Franconian Chirotherium Beds (''Fränkische Chirotherienschichten'').
Among the less significant body fossil records of vertebrates are the procolophonid
''Anomoiodon liliensterni'' from Reurieth
in the Thuringian part of Franconia and ''Koiloskiosaurus coburgiensis'' from Mittelberg
near Coburg, both from the Thuringian Chirotherium Sandstone, and the Temnospondyle
'' (possibly identical with the mastodonsaurus, ''Heptasaurus cappelensis
'') from the Upper Bunter
As early as the first decade of the 19th century George, Count of Münster
began systematic fossil gathering and digs and in the Upper Muschelkalk
. For example, the Oschenberg
hill near Laineck
became the type locality of two relatively well-known marine reptiles of the Triassic period, later found in other parts of Central Europe: the "flat tooth lizard", ''Placodus
'' and the "false lizard", ''Nothosaurus
In Franconia's middle Keuper
) is one of the best known and most common species of dinosaurs of Central Europe: ''Plateosaurus engelhardti
'', an early representative of the sauropodomorpha
. Its type locality is located at Heroldsberg
south of Nuremberg. When the remains of ''Plateosaurus'' were first discovered there in 1834, it was the first discovery of a dinosaur on German soil, and this occurred even before the name "dinosauria" was coined. Another important ''Plateosaurus'' find in Franconia was made at Ellingen
Far more famous than ''Plateosaurus'', ''Placodus'' and ''Nothosaurus'' is the ''Archaeopteryx
'', probably the first bird geologically. It was discovered in the southern Franconian Jura, ''inter alia'' at the famous fossil site of Solnhofen in the Solnhofen Platform Limestone (''Solnhofener Plattenkalk'', (Solnhofen-Formation, early Tithonian
, Upper Jurassic). In addition to ''Archaeopteryx'', in the very fine-grained, laminated lagoon limestones are the pterosaur ''Pterodactylus
'' and various bony fish
es as well as numerous extremely detailed examples of invertebrates e.g. feather star
s and dragonflies
is the other "big" and similarly famous fossil locality in the Solnhofen Formation, situated on the southern edge of the Jura in Upper Bavaria
. Here, as well as ''Archaeopteryx'', the theropod dinosaurs, ''Compsognathus
'' and ''Juravenator
,'' were found.
An inglorious episode in the history of paleontology took place in Franconia: fake fossils, known as Beringer's Lying Stones
, were acquired in the 1720s by Würzburg doctor and naturalist, Johann Beringer
, for a lot of money and then described in a monograph
, along with genuine fossils from the Würzburg area. However, it is not entirely clear whether the Beringer forgeries were actually planted or whether he himself was responsible for the fraud.
Franconia has a humid cool temperate
transitional climate, which is neither very continental nor very maritime. The average monthly temperatures vary depending on the area between about -1 to -2 °C in January and 17 to 19 °C in August, but may reach a peak of about 35 °C for a few days in the summer, especially in the large cities. The climate of Franconia is sunny and relatively warm. For part of the summer, for example, Lower Franconia is one the sunniest areas in Germany. Daily temperatures in the Bavarian part of Franconia are an average of 0.1 °C higher than the average for Bavaria as a whole. Relatively less rain falls in Franconia, and likewise in the rest of North Bavaria rain than is usual for its geographic location; even summer storms are often less powerful than in other areas of South Germany. In southern Bavaria about 2,000 mm of precipitation falls annually and almost three times as much as in parts of Franconia (about 500–900 mm) in the rain shadow of the Spessart, Rhön and Odenwald.
Quality of life
Franconia, as part of Germany, has a high quality of life
. In the ''Worldwide Quality of Living Survey'' by Mercer
in 2010, the city of Nuremberg was one of the top 25 cities in the world in terms of quality of life and came sixth in Germany.
In environmental ranking Nuremberg came thirteenth in the world and was the best German city
In a survey by the German magazine, ''Focus
,'' on quality of life in 2014, the districts of Eichstätt and Fürth were among the top positions in the table. In the ''Glücksatlas'' by Deutsche Post
Franconia achieved some of the highest scores, but the region slipped in 2013 to 13th place out of 19.
Franconia is named after the Franks
, a Germanic tribe
who conquered most of Western Europe by the middle of the 8th century. Despite its name, Franconia is not the homeland of the Franks, but rather owes its name to being partially settled by Franks from the Rhineland during the 7th century following the defeat of the Alamanni
who had dominated the region earlier.
At the beginning of the 10th century a ''Duchy of Franconia'' (german: Herzogtum Franken|links=no) was established within East Francia
, which comprised modern Hesse
, parts of Baden-Württemberg
and most of today's Franconia. After the dissolution of the so-called Stem duchy
of Franconia, the Holy Roman Emperors
created the Franconian Circle
(German ''Fränkischer Reichskreis'') in 1500 to embrace the principalities that grew out of the eastern half of the former duchy. The territory of the Franconian Circle roughly corresponds with modern Franconia. The title of a ''Duke of Franconia
'' was claimed by the Würzburg bishops
until 1803 and by the kings of Bavaria
until 1918. Examples of Franconian cities founded by Frankish noblemen are Würzburg
, first mentioned in the 7th century, Ansbach
, first mentioned in 748, and Weissenburg
, founded in the 7th century.
Early history and Antiquity
Fossil finds show that the region was already settled by primitive man
, ''Homo erectus
'', in the middle Ice Age
about 600,000 years ago. Probably the oldest human remains in the Bavarian part of Franconia were found in the cave ruins of Hunas at Pommelsbrunn
in the county of Nuremberg Land
. In the late Bronze Age
, the region was probably only sparsely inhabited, as few noble metal
s occur here and the soils are only moderately fertile. In the subsequent Iron Age
(from about 800 B.C.) the Celts
become the first nation to be discernible in the region. In northern Franconia they built a chain of hill fort
s as a line of defence against the Germanii
advancing from the north. On the Staffelberg
they built a powerful settlement, to which Ptolemy
the name ''oppidum Menosgada
'', and on the Gleichberge
is the largest surviving ''oppidum
'' in Central Germany
, the Steinsburg
. With the increased expansion of Rome
in the first century B.C. and the simultaneous advance of the Elbe Germanic tribes
from the north, the Celtic culture began to fall into decline. The southern parts of present-day Franconia soon fell under Roman control; however, most of the region remained in Free Germania
. Initially Rome tried extend its direct influence far to the northeast; in the longer term, however, the Germanic-Roman frontier formed further southwest.
Under the emperors, Domitian
(98-117) and Hadrian
(117-138), the Rhaetian Limes
was built as a border facing the Germanic tribes to the north. This defensive line ran through the south of Franconia and described an arc across the region whose northernmost point lay at present-day Gunzenhausen
. To protect it, the Romans built several forts like Biriciana
, but by the mid-third century, the border could no longer be maintained and by 250 A.D. the Alemanni
occupied the areas up to the Danube
. Fortified settlements such as the Gelbe Bürg
controlled the new areas.
[Wilfried Menghin: ''Grundlegung: Das frühe Mittelalter''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, begr. von Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd, revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 47–69, here: p. 60]
More such Gau forts have been detected north of the former Limes as well. To which tribe their occupants belonged is unknown in most cases. However, it is likely that it was mainly Alemanni and Juthungi
in especially in the south.
[Wilfried Menghin: ''Grundlegung: Das frühe Mittelalter''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, begr. von Max Spindler, 3. Bd., 1. Teilbd: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd, revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 47–69, here: S. 55.]
By contrast, it was the Burgundians
who settled on the Lower and Middle Main.
Many of these hill forts appear to have been destroyed, however, no later than 500 A.D. The reasons are not entirely clear, but it could have been as a result of invasions by the Huns
which thus triggered the Great Migration
. In many cases, however, it was probably conquest by the Franks
that spelt the end of these hilltop settlements.
With their victories over the heartlands of the Alamanni and Thuringians
in the 6th century, the present region of Franconia also fell to the Franks
[Karten zur Geschichte Bayerns: Jutta Schumann / Dieter J. Weiß, in: ''Edel und Frei. Franken im Mittelalter'', ed. by Wolfgang Jahn / Jutta Schumann / Evamaria Brockhoff, Augsburg, 2004 (Veröffentlichungen zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 47/04), pp. 174–176, Cat. No. 51. Sieh]
Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte
/ref> After the division of the Frankish Empire, East Francia (''Francia orientialis'') was formed from the territories of the dioceses of Mainz, Worms, Würzburg and Speyer. Later, the diocese of Bamberg was added.
In the 7th century, the Slavs started to populate the northeastern parts of the region from the east, because the area of today's Upper Franconia was very sparsely populated (Bavaria Slavica). [Franz-Joseph Schmale, Wilhelm Störmer: ''Die politische Entwicklung bis zur Eingliederung ins Merowingische Frankenreich''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, begr. von Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd, revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 89–114, here: p. 80.] However, in the 10th and 11th centuries, they largely gave up their own language and cultural tradition. The majority of the population of Franconia was pagan well into the Early Middle Ages, The first people to spread the Christian faith strongly were wandering Irish Anglo-Saxon monks in the early 7th century. Saint Kilian, who together with his companions, Saint Colman and Saint Totnan are considered to be the apostles to the Franks, suffering martyrdom in Würzburg in the late 7th century, probably did not encounter any pagans in the ducal court. It was probably Saint Boniface who carried the Christian mission deep into the heart of the ordinary population of Franconia.
In the mid-9th century the tribal Duchy of Franconia emerged, one of the five tribal or stem duchies of East Francia. The territory of the stem duchy was far bigger than modern Franconia and covered the whole of present-day Hesse, northern Baden-Württemberg, southern Thuringia, large parts of Rhineland-Palatinate and parts of the Franconian provinces in Bavaria. It extended as far west as Speyer, Mainz, and Worms (west of the Rhine) and even included Frankfurt ("ford of the Franks"). In the early 10th century, the Babenbergs and Conradines fought for power in Franconia. Ultimately this discord led to the Babenberg Feud which was fuelled and controlled by the crown. The outcome of this feud meant the loss of power for the Babenbergs, but indirectly resulted in the Conradines winning the crown of East Francia. Sometime around 906, Conrad succeeded in establishing his ducal hegemony over Franconia, but when the direct Carolingian male line failed in 911, Conrad was acclaimed King of the Germans, largely because of his weak position in his own duchy. Franconia, like Alamannia was fairly fragmented and the duke's position was often disputed between the chief families. Conrad had granted Franconia to his brother Eberhard on his succession, but when Eberhard rebelled against Otto I in 938, he was deposed from his duchy, which disintegrated in 939 on Eberhard's death into West or Rhenish Franconia (), and East Franconia (') [East Franconia should not be confused with the eastern division of the Frankish Empire, East Francia, which was also known as in Latin. This refers to the much larger area which later became the German Kingdom and of which the whole of the Duchy of Franconia was a part.] and was directly subordinated to the Reich. Only after that was the former considered to be under the sphere of the bishops of Würzburg as the true Franconia, its territory gradually shrinking to its present area.
Meanwhile, the inhabitants of parts of present-day Upper and Middle Franconia, who were not under the control of Würzburg, probably also considered themselves to be Franks at that time, and certainly their dialect distinguished them from the inhabitants of Bavaria and Swabia. [Karten zur Geschichte Bayerns: Jutta Schumann / Dieter J. Weiß, in: Edel und Frei. Franken im Mittelalter, ed. by Wolfgang Jahn / Jutta Schumann / Evamaria Brockhoff, Augsburg, 2004 (Veröffentlichungen zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 47/04), pp. 174–176, Cat. No. 51. Se]
Unlike the other stem duchies, Franconia became the homeland and power base of East Frankish and German kings after the Ottonians died out in 1024.
Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte
[Josef Kirmeier: ''Bayern und das Deutsche Reich (10.-12. Jahrhundert)'', In: ''Politische Geschichte Bayerns'', published by the Haus der Bayerischen Geschichte as Issue 9 of the ''Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur'', pp. 7–9, here: p. 7] As a result, in the High Middle Ages, the region did not become a strong regional force such as those which formed in Saxony, Bavaria and Swabia. In 1007, the later canonized Henry II founded the Bishopric of Bamberg and endowed it with rich estates. Bamberg became a favoured ''Pfalz'' and an important centre of the Empire. Because parts of the Bishopric of Würzburg also fell to Bamberg, Würzburg was enfeoffed several royal estates by King Henry II by way of compensation.
From the 12th century Nuremberg Castle was the seat of the Burgraviate of Nuremberg. The burgraviate was ruled from about 1190 by the Zollerns, the Franconian line of the later House of Hohenzollern, which provided the German emperors of the 19th and 20th century. Under the Hohenstaufen kings, Conrad III and Frederick Barbarossa, Franconia became the centre of power in the Empire. During the time when there was no emperor, the Interregnum (1254–1273), some territorial princes became ever more powerful. After the Interregnum, however, the rulers succeeded in re-establishing a stronger royal lordship in Franconia. Franconia soon played an important role again for the monarchy at the time of Rudolf of Habsburg; the itineraries of his successors showing their preference for the Rhine-Main region. In 1376 the Swabian League of Cities was founded and was joined later by several Franconian imperial cities. During the 13th century the Teutonic Order was formed, taking over its first possession in Franconia in 1209, the Bailiwick of Franconia. The foundation of many schools and hospitals and the construction of numerous churches and castles in this area goes back to the work of this Roman Catholic military order. The residence place of the bailiwick was at Ellingen until 1789 when it was transferred to today's Bad Mergentheim. [Rudolf Endres: ''Staat und Gesellschaft. Zweiter Teil: 1500-1800''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, begr. von Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd, revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 702–781, here: pp. 752ff] Other orders such as the Knights Templar could not gain a foothold in Franconia; the Order of St. John worked in the Bishopric of Würzburg and had short term commands. [Wilhelm Störmer: ''Die innere Entwicklung: Staat, Gesellschaft, Kirche, Wirtschaft''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, begr. von Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 210–315, here: p. 314.]
Successor states of East Francia
As of the 13th century, the following states, among others, had formed in the territory of the former Duchy:
Early Modern Period
On 2 July 1500 during the reign of Emperor Maximilian I, as part of the Imperial Reform Movement, the Empire was divided into Imperial Circles. This led in 1512 to the formation of the Franconian Circle.
Seen from a modern perspective, the Franconian Circle may be viewed as an important basis for the sense of a common Franconian identity that exists today. The Franconian Circle also shaped the geographical limits of the present-day Franconia. In the late Middle Ages and Early Modern Period, the Imperial Circle was severely affected by ''Kleinstaaterei'', the patchwork of tiny states in this region of Germany. As during the late Middle Ages, the bishops of Würzburg used the nominal title of Duke of Franconia during the time of the Imperial Circle. In 1559, the Franconian Circle was given jurisdiction over coinage (''Münzaufsicht'') and, in 1572, was the only Circle to issue its own police ordinance.
Members of the Franconian Circle included the imperial cities, the prince-bishoprics, the Bailiwick of Franconia of the Teutonic Order and several counties. The Imperial Knights with their tiny territories, of which there was a particularly large number in Franconia, were outside the Circle assembly and, until 1806, formed the Franconian Knights Circle (''Fränkischer Ritterkreis'') consisting of six Knights' Cantons. Because the extent of Franconia, already referred to above, is disputed, there were many areas that might be counted as part of Franconia today, that lay outside the Franconian Circle. For example, the area of Aschaffenburg belonged to Electoral Mainz and was a part of the Electoral Rhenish Circle, the area of Coburg belonged to the Upper Saxon Circle and the Heilbronn area to the Swabian Circle. In the 16th century, the College of Franconian Counts was founded to represent the interests of the counts in Franconia.
Franconia played an important role in the spread of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther, [Rudolf Endres: ''Von der Bildung des Fränkischen Reichskreises und dem Beginn der Reformation bis zum Augsburger Religionsfrieden von 1555''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, edited by Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 451–472, here: pp. 455ff.] Nuremberg being one of the places where the Luther Bible was printed. The majority of other Franconian imperial cities and imperial knights embraced the new confession. [Rudolf Endres: ''Von der Bildung des Fränkischen Reichskreises und dem Beginn der Reformation bis zum Augsburger Religionsfrieden von 1555''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, edited by Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol.: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, re-published by Andreas Kraus, 3rd revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 451–472, here: p. 467.] In the course of the counter-reformation several regions of Franconia returned to Catholicism, however, and there was also an increase in witch trials. In addition to Lutheranism, the radical reformatory baptist movement spread early on across the Franconian area. Important Baptist centres were Königsberg and Nuremberg.
In 1525, the burden of heavy taxation and socage combined with new, liberal ideas that chimed with the Reformation movement, unleashed the German Peasants' War. The Würzburg area was particularly hard hit with numerous castles and monasteries being burned down. [''Stadthistorische Streiflichter (24)''](_blank) In the end, however, the uprisings were suppressed and for centuries the lowest strata of society were excluded from all political activity.
From 1552, Margrave Albert Alcibiades attempted to break the supremacy of the mighty imperial city of Nuremberg and to secularise the ecclesial estates in the Second Margrave War,
www.wuerzburg.de, accessed 7 June 2014.
[Rudolf Endres: ''Von der Bildung des Fränkischen Reichskreises und dem Beginn der Reformation bis zum Augsburger Religionsfrieden von 1555''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, ed. Max Spindler, 3 vols., 1 sub-vol: History of Franconia to the end of the 18th century, revised by Andreas Kraus, 3rd revised edition, Munich, 1997, pp. 451-472, here: p. 469] to create a duchy over which he would rule. Large areas of Franconia were eventually devastated in the fighting until King Ferdinand I together with several dukes and princes decided to overthrow Albert.
In 1608, the reformed princes merged into a so-called Union within the Empire. In Franconia, the margraves of Ansbach and Bayreuth as well as the imperial cities were part of this alliance. The Catholic side responded in 1609 with a counter-alliance, the League. The conflicts between the two camps ultimately resulted in the Thirty Years' War, which was the greatest strain on the cohesion of the Franconian Circle Initially, Franconia was not a theatre of war, although marauding armies repeatedly crossed its territory. However, in 1631, Swedish troops under Gustavus Adolphus advanced into Franconia and established a large encampment in summer 1632 around Nuremberg. [Rudolf Endres: ''Vom Augsburger Religionsfrieden bis zum Dreißigjährigen Krieg''. In: Handbuch der Bayerischen Geschichte, ed. Max Spindler, 3rd vol., 1st sub-vol: Geschichte Frankens bis zum Ausgang des 18. Jahrhunderts, revised by Andreas Kraus, 3rd revised edn., Munich, 1997, pp. 473–495, here: p. 490.] However, the Swedes lost the Battle of the Alte Veste against Wallenstein's troops and eventually withdrew. Franconia was one of the poorest regions in the Empire and lost its imperial political significance. [Michael Henker: ''Bayern im Zeitalter von Reformation und Gegenreformation (16./17. Jahrhundert)'', In: ''Politische Geschichte Bayerns'', published by the House of Bavarian History as Issue 9 of the ''Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur'', pp. 14–17, here: p. 17] During the course of the war, about half the local population lost their lives. To compensate for these losses about 150,000 displaced Protestants settled in Protestant areas, including Austrian exiles.
Franconia never developed into a unified territorial state, because the patchwork quilt of small states (''Kleinstaaterei'') survived the Middle Ages and lasted until the 18th century. [Karlheinz Scherr: ''Bayern im Zeitalter des Fürstlichen Absolutismus (17./18. Jahrhundert)'', In: ''Politische Geschichte Bayerns'', published by the House of Bavarian History as Issue 9 of the ''Hefte zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur'', pp. 18–21, here: p. 20] As a result, the Franconian Circle had the important task of preserving peace, preventing abuses and to repairing war damage and had a regulatory role in the region until the end of the Holy Roman Empire. Until the War of the Spanish Succession, the Circle had become an almost independent organization and joined the Grand Alliance against Louis XIV as an almost sovereign state. The Circle also developed early forms of a welfare state. It also played a major role in the control of disease during the 16th and 17th centuries. After Charles Alexander abdicated in 1792, the former margraviates of Ansbach and Bayreuth were annexed by Prussia. Karl August Freiherr von Hardenberg was appointed as governor of these areas by Prussia.
Later Modern Period
Most of modern-day Franconia became part of Bavaria in 1803 thanks to Bavaria's alliance with Napoleon. Culturally it is in many ways different from Bavaria proper ("Altbayern", Old Bavaria), however. The ancient name was resurrected in 1837 by Ludwig I of Bavaria. During the Nazi period, Bavaria was broken up into several different Gaue, including Franconia and Main-Franconia.
= 19th century
In 1803, what was to become the Kingdom of Bavaria was given large parts of Franconia through the enactment of the ''Reichsdeputationshauptschluss'' under pressure from Napoleon for secularization and mediatisation. In 1806, the Act of Confederation led to stronger ties between Bavaria, Württemberg, Baden and other areas with France, whereupon the Holy Roman Empire including the Franconian Circle fell apart.
[''Rheinbundakte, deutsche Fassung (1806)''](_blank) As a reward Bavaria was promised other estates, including the city of Nuremberg.
House of Bavarian History , retrieved 7 June 2014.
In the so-called ''Rittersturm'' of 1803, Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden seized the territories of the Imperial Knights and Franconian nobility, whose estates were often no bigger than a few parishes, even though the ''Reichsdeputationshauptschluss'' had not authorised this. In 1806 and 1810, Prussia had to release the territories of Ansbach and Bayreuth, which it had annexed in 1792, to Bavaria, whereby Prussia lost its supremacy in the region. [''Preußen in Franken 1792 - 1806''](_blank)
In 1814, as a result of the Congress of Vienna, the territories of the Principality of Aschaffenburg and Grand Duchy of Würzburg went to the Kingdom of Bavaria. In order to merge the patchwork quilt of small states in Franconia and Swabia into a greater Bavaria, Maximilian Joseph Montgelas reformed the political structure.I Out of this in January 1838 emerged the Franconian provinces with their present names of Middle, Upper and Lower Franconia. Considerable resentment arose in parts of the Franconian territories over their new membership of Bavaria.
, material from the State Exhibition in 1999 by the House of Bavarian History
[Hans Maier: ''Die Franken in Bayern'', p. 6] There were liberal demands for republican structures which erupted in the revolts of 1848 and 1849 and the Gaibach Festival in 1832. On the one hand the reconciliation policy of the Wittelsbachs
, retrieved 12 July 2014.
and Montgelas' aforementioned policy of unification, and, on the other hand, the inclusion of Bavaria in the German Empire in 1871, which weakened her power Bavaria slightly, the conflict between Franconia and Bavaria eased considerably.
From 1836 to 1846, the Kingdom of Bavaria built the Ludwig Canal from Bamberg to Kelheim, which was only abandoned in 1950. However, the canal lost much of its importance shortly after the arrival of the railways. Between 1843 and 1854, the Ludwig South-North Railway was established within Franconia, which ran from Lindau on Lake Constance via Nuremberg, Bamberg and Kulmbach to Hof. The first locomotive to run on German soil steamed 1835 from Nuremberg to Fürth on 7 December 1835.
= 20th century
After the First World War the monarchy in Bavaria was abolished, but the state could not agree on a compromise between a Soviet system and parliamentarianism. This caused fighting between the opposing camps and the then prime minister was shot. As a result, the government fled to Bamberg in 1919, where the Bamberg Constitution was adopted while, in Munich, the Bavarian Soviet Republic reigned briefly.
[Wolf Weigand: ''Bayern zur Zeit der Weimarer Republik und des Nationalsozialismus (1918 - 1945).'' In] In 1919 the Free State of Coburg voted in a referendum against joining Thuringia and was instead united with Bavaria on 1 July 1920.
''Politische Geschichte Bayerns''
published by the House of Bavarian History as No. 9 of the booklets on Bavarian History and Culture, 1989, pp. 26-28, here: p. 26
thumb|upright|The Renaissance_period_from_1605_until_the_destruction_of_its_façade_in_1945..html" style="text-decoration: none;"class="mw-redirect" title="Renaissance architecture">Renaissance period from 1605 until the destruction of its façade in 1945.">Renaissance architecture">Renaissance period from 1605 until the destruction of its façade in 1945.
During the Nazi era Nuremberg played a prominent role in the self-expression of the National Socialists as the permanent seat of the Nazi Party. Gunzenhausen made its mark as one of the first towns in the Reich itself to exercise discrimination against the Jewish population. The first Hitler Monument in Germany was established there in April 1933. On 25 March 1934 the first anti-Jewish pogrom in Bavaria took place in Gunzenhausen. The attack brought the town negative press coverage worldwide. [Werner Falk: ''Ein früher Hass auf Juden'' in Nürnberger Nachrichten, 25 March 2009.] On 15 September, a Reichstag was specially convened in Nuremberg for the purpose of passing the Nuremberg Laws, under which the antisemitic ideology of the Nazis became a legal basis for such actions.
Like all parts of the German Reich, Franconia was badly affected by Allied air raids. Nuremberg, as a major industrial centre and transportation hub, was hit particularly hard. Between 1940 and 1945 the city was the target of dozens of air raids. Many other places were also affected by air raids. For example, the air raid on 4 December 1944 on Heilbronn and the bombing of Würzburg on 16 March 1945, in which both old towns were almost completely destroyed, was a disaster for both cities. By contrast, the old town of Bamberg was almost completely spared. In order to protect cultural artefacts, the historic art bunker was built below Nuremberg Castle. In the closing stages of the Second World War, at the end of March and April 1945, Franconian towns and cities were captured by formations of the US Army who advanced from the west after the failure of the Battle of the Bulge and Operation Nordwind. The Battle of Nuremberg lasted five days and resulted in at least 901 deaths. The Battle of Crailsheim lasted 16 days, the Battle of Würzburg seven and the Battle of Merkendorf three days.
Following the unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, Bavarian Franconia became part of the American zone of occupation; whilst South Thuringia, with the exception of smaller enclaves like Ostheim, became part of the Soviet zone and the Franconian parts of today's Baden-Württemberg also went to the American zone The most important part of the Allied prosecution programme against leaders of the Nazi regime were the Nuremberg Trials against leaders of the German Empire during the Nazi era, held from 20 November 1945 to 14 April 1949. The Nuremberg Trials are considered a breakthrough for the principle that, for a core set of crimes, there is no immunity from prosecution. For the first time, the representatives of a sovereign state were held accountable for their actions. In autumn 1946, the Free State of Bavaria was reconstituted with the enactment of the Bavarian Constitution.
The state of Württemberg-Baden was founded on 19 September 1945. On 25 April 1952 this state merged with Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern (both from the former French occupation zone) to create the present state of Baden-Württemberg. On 1 December 1945 the state of Hesse was founded. Beginning in 1945, refugees and displaced persons from Eastern Europe were settled particularly in rural areas. After 1945, Bavaria and Baden-Württemberg managed the transition from economies that were predominantly agriculture to become leading industrial states in the so-called ''Wirtschaftswunder''. In Lower and Upper Franconia, there was still the problem, however, of the zone along the Inner German Border which was a long way from the markets for its agricultural produce, and was affected by migration and relatively high unemployment, which is why these areas received special support from federal and state governments.
By contrast, the state of Thuringia was restored by the Soviets in 1945. On 7 October 1949 the German Democratic Republic, commonly known as East Germany, was founded. In 1952 in the course of the 1952 administrative reform in East Germany, the state of Thuringia was relieved of its function. The Soviet occupying forces exacted a high level of reparations (especially the dismantling of industrial facilities) which made the initial economic conditions in East Germany very difficult. Along with the failed economic policies of the GDR, this led to a general frustration that fuelled the uprising of 17 June. There were protests in the Franconian territories too, for example in Schmalkalden. The village of Mödlareuth became famous because, for 41 years, it was divided by the Inner German Border and was nicknamed 'Little Berlin. After ''Die Wende'', the fall of the Berlin Wall on 9 November 1989 and reunification on 3 October 1990, made possible mainly by mass demonstrations in East Germany and local exodus of East Germans, the state of Thuringia was reformed with effect from 14 October 1990. [Steffen Raßloff: ''Geschichte Thüringens.'' Munich, 2010, p. 106]
In the years from 1971 to 1980 an administrative reform was carried out in Bavaria with the aim of creating more efficient municipalities (''Gemeinden'') and counties (''Landkreise''). Against sometimes great protests by the population, the number of municipalities was reduced by a third and the number of counties by about a half. Among the changes was the transfer of the Middle Franconian county of Eichstätt to Upper Bavaria. On 18 May 2006, the Bavarian Landtag approved the introduction of Franconia Day (''Tag der Franken'') in the Franconian territories of the free state. [Document 15/5583 of the Bavarian Landtag](_blank)
Since ''Die Wende'', new markets have opened up for the Franconian region of Bavaria in the new (formerly East German) federal states and the Czech Republic, enabling the economy to recover.
(pdf; 86 kB)
Today, Franconia is in the centre of the EU (at Oberwestern near Westerngrund; )
While Old Bavaria is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, Franconia is a mixed area. Lower Franconia and the western half of Upper Franconia (Bamberg, Lichtenfels, Kronach) is predominantly Catholic, while most of Middle and the eastern half of Upper Franconia (Bayreuth, Hof, Kulmbach) are predominantly Protestant (Evangelical Church in Germany). The city of Fürth in Middle Franconia historically (before the Nazi era) had a large Jewish population; Henry Kissinger was born there.
A large part of the population of Franconia, which has a population of five million, consider themselves Franconians (''Franken'', in German homonymous with the name of the historical Franks), a sub-ethnic group of the German people alongside Alemanni, Swabians, Bavarians, Thuringians and Saxons.
Such an ethnic identity is generally not shared by other parts of the Franconian-speaking area (members of which may identify as Rhine Franconians (''Rheinfranken'') or Moselle Franconians (''Moselfranken'').
The Free State of Bavaria counts Franconians as one of the "four tribes of Bavaria" (''vier Stämme Bayerns''), alongside Bavarians, Swabians and Sudeten Germans.
Towns and cities
With the exception of Heilbronn, all cities in Franconia and all towns with a population of over 50,000 are within the Free State of Bavaria. The five cities of Franconia are Nuremberg, Würzburg, Fürth, Heilbronn and Erlangen. In Middle Franconia, in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg there is a densely populated urban area consisting of Nuremberg, Fürth, Erlangen and Schwabach. Nuremberg is the fourteenth largest city in Germany and the second largest in Bavaria.
The largest settlements in Baden-Württemberg's Franconian region are Heilbronn (pop: 117,531), Schwäbisch Hall (37,096) and Crailsheim (32,417).
[Statistisches Bundesamt – Gemeinden in Deutschland mit Bevölkerung am 31. Dezember 2012](_blank) The largest places in the Thuringian part are Suhl (35,665), Sonneberg (23,796) and Meiningen (20,966).
(xls file; 4.0 MB) (population figures from the 2011 census)
The largest place in the Hessian part of Franconia is Gersfeld with just 5,512 inhabitants. The largest cities within Bavaria are Nuremberg (495,121), Würzburg (124,577), Fürth (118,358) and Erlangen (105,412).
In the Middle Ages Franconia, with its numerous towns, was separate and not part of other territories such as the Duchy of Bavaria. [Karten zur Geschichte Bayerns: Helmut Flachenecker, in: Edel und Frei. Franken im Mittelalter, ed. by Wolfgang Jahn / Jutta Schumann / Evamaria Brockhoff, Augsburg, 2004 (Veröffentlichungen zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 47/04), pp. 308–313, Cat. No. 134. Se] In the late medieval period it was dominated by mainly smaller towns with a few hundred to a thousand inhabitants, whose size barely distinguished them from the villages. Many towns grew up along large rivers or were founded by the prince-bishops and nobility. Even the Hohenstaufens operated in many towns, most of which later became Imperial Cities with a strong orientation towards Nuremberg.
House of Bavarian History
The smallest town in Franconia is Thuringia's Ummerstadt with 487 inhabitants.
German is the official language and also the ''lingua franca''. Numerous other languages are spoken that come from other language regions or the native countries of immigrants.
East Franconian German, the dialect spoken in Franconia, is very different from the Austro-Bavarian dialect. Most Franconians do not call themselves Bavarians. Even though there is no Franconian state, red and white are regarded as the state colours (''Landesfarben'') of Franconia.
The proportion of Roman Catholics and Protestants among the population of Franconia is roughly the same, but varies from region to region.
[Karten zur Geschichte Bayerns: ''Überwiegend protestantische und überwiegend katholische Gebiete in Franken.'' In: Kirmeier, Josef et al. (ed.): ''200 Jahre Franken in Bayern.'' Aufsatzband zur Landesausstellung 2006, Augsburg, 2006 (Veröffentlichungen zur Bayerischen Geschichte und Kultur 51), se] Large areas of Middle and Upper Franconia are mainly Protestant.
House of Bavarian History
The denominational orientation today still reflects the territorial structure of Franconia at the time of the Franconian Circle. For example, regions, that used to be under the care of the bishoprics of Bamberg, Würzburg and Eichstätt, are mainly Catholic today. On the other hand, all former territories of the imperial cities and the margraviates of Ansbach and Bayreuth have remained mainly Lutheran. The region around the city of Erlangen, which belonged to the Margraviate of Bayreuth, was a refuge for the Huguenots who fled there after the St. Bartholomew's Day massacre in France. Following the success of the Reformation in Nuremberg under Andreas Osiander, it had been an exclusively Protestant imperial city and belonged to the Protestant league of imperial states, the Corpus Evangelicorum, within the ''Reichstag''. Subsequent historical events such as the stream of refugees after the Second World War and the increasing mobility of the population has since blurred denominational geographical boundaries, however.
The influx of immigrants from Eastern Europe has also seen the establishment of an Orthodox community in Franconia. The Romanian Orthodox Metropolis of Germany, Central and Northern Europe has its headquarters in Nuremberg.
Before the Nazi era Franconia was as a region with significant Jewish communities, most of whom were Ashkenazi Jews.
[Steven M. Lowenstein: ''Alltag und Tradition: Eine fränkisch-jüdische Geographie.'' In: ''Die Juden in Franken.'' (= ''Studien zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur in Bayern'', Volume 5) Munich, 2012 pp. 5-24, here: p. 5.] The first Jewish communities appeared in Franconia in the 12th and 13th centuries and thus later than, for example, in Regensburg. In the Middle Ages, Franconia was a stronghold of Torah studies. But Franconia also began to exclude the Jewish populations particularly early on. For example, there were two Jewish massacres - the Rintfleisch massacres of 1298 and the Armleder Uprising of 1336-1338 - and in the 15th and 16th centuries many cities exiled their Jewish populations, which is why many Jews settled in rural communities. Franconia also rose to early prominence in the discrimination of Jews during the Nazi era. [Steven M. Lowenstein: ''Alltag und Tradition: Eine fränkisch-jüdische Geographie.'' In: ''Die Juden in Franken.'' (= ''Studien zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur in Bayern'', Volume 5) Munich, 2012 pp. 5-24, here: p. 5-6.] One of the first casualties of the organized Nazi persecution of Jews took place on 21 March in Künzelsau and on 25/26 March 1933 in Creglingen, where police and SA troops under the leadership of ''Standartenführer'' Fritz Klein led a so-called "weapons search operations".
Whilst, in 1818, about 65 per cent of Bavarian Jews lived in the Bavarian part of Franconia, [Steven M. Lowenstein: ''Alltag und Tradition: Eine fränkisch-jüdische Geographie.'' In: ''Die Juden in Franken.'' (= ''Studien zur Jüdischen Geschichte und Kultur in Bayern'', Volume 5) Munich, 2012 pp. 5-24, here: p. 14] today there are only Jewish communities in Bamberg, Bayreuth, Erlangen, Fürth, Hof, Nuremberg and Würzburg and in Heilbronn in Baden-Württemberg.
Adherents of Islam continue to grow, especially in the larger cities, due to the influx of ''gastarbeiters'' and other immigrants from Muslim countries. As a result, many 'backyard mosques' (''Hinterhofmoscheen'') have sprung up, which are gradually being replaced by purpose-built mosques.
Franconia has almost 300 small breweries. The northwestern parts, the areas around river Main called Franconian wine region also produce a lot of wine. Food typical for the region includes Bratwurst (especially the famous small Nuremberger Bratwurst), ''Schäuferla'' (roast pork shoulder), Sauerbraten, dumplings, potato salad (typically made with broth), fried carp, Grupfder (seasoned cheese spread), ''Presssack'' (a type of Head cheese: pressed or jellied pork trimmings, like tongue, cheeks, etc.). Lebkuchen are a traditional type of gingerbread, and Küchla is a sort of sweet fried pastry.
Image:Schaeufele 01.jpg| ''Schäuferla''
Image:Nuernberg Drei im Weckla 001.JPG|Three Nuremberger Bratwürste in a roll (''Drei im Weckla'')
Image:GravityTap.jpg|Schlenkerla Rauchbier straight from the cask
File:Bocksbeutels.jpg|Franconian wine is traditionally filled up in Bocksbeutels
Image:Kroder Karpfen.JPG|Fried Carp with beer and salad
The tourism industry stresses the romantic character of Franconia.
Arguments for this include the picturesque countryside and the many historic buildings that present the long history and culture of the region., [''Franken. Allianz Reiseführer'', 2011, pp. 12ff] In addition, the relatively few industrial towns outside of the main industrial cities is underlined. Franconian wine, the rich tradition of beer brewing and local culinary specialities, such as ''Lebküchnerei'' or gingerbread baking, are also seen as a draw that is worth marketing, and which make Franconia a popular tourist destination in Germany. The Romantic Road, the best known German theme route, links several of the tourist high points in western Franconia. The Castle Road runs through the whole Franconian region with its numerous castles and other medieval structures.
The Franconian countryside is suitable for many sporting activities. For example, the Franconian Way, Celtic Way and the hiking trail network of the Altmühl Valley and the Central Uplands offer a lot of hiking options.
Cycling along the large rivers is very popular, for example along the Main Cycleway, which was the first German long distance cycleway to be awarded five starts by the Allgemeiner Deutscher Fahrrad-Club (ADFC). The Tauber Valley Cycleway, a 101 kilometre-long cycle trail in Tauber Franconia, was the second German long distance cycleway to receive five stars. [Touristikgemeinschaft Liebliches Taubertal]
In the Fichtel Mountains and the Franconian Forest, many tourists come for making hiking tours. In winter people can do skiing f. e. on the Ochsenkopf. Very popular are raftings on the Wild Rodach in Wallenfels in the Franconian Forest.
''Fünf Sterne für den "Klassiker"''
In: Tauber-Zeitung. Online at www.swp.de. 31 October 2009. Retrieved 6 April 2010.
* East Franconian German
* Franconia (wine region)
* Franconian Flag
* Franconian Rake
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* Wüst, Wolfgang (ed.): ''Frankens Städte und Territorien als Kulturdrehscheibe. Kommunikation in der Mitte Deutschlands.'' Interdisciplinary conference 29 to 30 September 2006 in Weißenburg i. Bayern (Mittelfränkische Studien 19) Ansbach, 2008, .
Bezirk of Lower Franconia
Government of Lower Franconia
Bezirk of Middle Franconia
Government of Middle Franconia
Bezirk of Upper Franconia
Government of Upper Franconia
English pages available
The Baden-Württemberg region of Heilbronn-Franken
Category:Dukes of Franconia
Category:Regions of Bavaria
Category:History of the Palatinate (region)