Franconia

Introduction

Franconia (frăngkōˈnēə) [key], Ger. Franken, historic region and one of the five basic or stem duchies of medieval Germany, S Germany. The region was included in the Frankish kingdom of Austrasia, becoming in the 9th cent. a duchy and the center of the East Frankish (or East German) kingdom. It stretched from the western bank of the Rhine eastward along both banks of the Main and included the cities of Speyer, Worms, Mainz, Frankfurt, Würzburg, and Fulda. The name of the duchy survives in three administrative districts of Bavaria.

Lower Franconia, Ger. Unterfranken, 3,277 sq mi (8,487 sq km), is a hilly region in NW Bavaria, famous for the forested Spessart hills. It is traversed by the Main River. Agriculture is widely pursued, and industry is centered at Würzburg (the region's capital), Schweinfurt, and Aschaffenburg. Bad Kissingen is a noted resort.

Middle Franconia, Ger. Mittelfranken, 2,941 sq mi (7,617 sq km), in N central Bavaria, is a hilly, fertile region located in the Franconian Jura Mts. It is drained by the Altmühl, Rednitz, and Pegnitz rivers. Ansbach is the capital; Nürnberg, Fürth, and Erlangen are important industrial and cultural centers.

Upper Franconia, Ger. Oberfranken, 2,896 sq mi (7,501 sq km), in NE Bavaria, is a hilly, forested region, drained by the Main and Pegnitz rivers. It includes the Frankenwald and the Fichtelgebirge near the Czech border. Bayreuth, the capital, and Bamberg, Coburg, and Hof are the chief cities and industrial centers.

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