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Franconia
Franconia
(German: Franken, also called Frankenland) is a region in Germany, characterised by its culture and language, and may be roughly associated with the areas in which the East Franconian
East Franconian
dialect group, locally referred to as fränkisch, is spoken.[1] It commonly refers to the eastern part of the historical Franconian stem duchy, mainly represented by the modern Bavarian administrative districts of Lower, Middle, and Upper Franconia, the adjacent northeastern parts of Heilbronn-Franken in Baden-Württemberg, parts of Thuringia
Thuringia
south of the Rennsteig
Rennsteig
ridge, and small parts of Hesse. Sometimes Vogtland
Vogtland
is also regarded as part of Franconia
Franconia
(because the Vogtländisch dialect is often regarded as sub-group of East Franconian) but this is disputed. However, there is no fixed area that is officially defined as Franconia. 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
Franconia
lie in the settlement of the Franks
Franks
from the 6th century in the area probably populated until then mainly by the Elbe Germanic
Elbe Germanic
people in the Main river area. Known from the 9th century as East Francia ( Francia
Francia
Orientalis).[2] in the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
the region formed much of the eastern part of the Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
and, from 1500, the Franconian Circle.[3] In the course of the restructuring of the south German states by Napoleon
Napoleon
after the demise of the Holy Roman Empire, most of Franconia
Franconia
was awarded to Bavaria.[4]

Contents

1 Etymology 2 Geography

2.1 Overview 2.2 Extent 2.3 Administrative divisions 2.4 Rivers and lakes 2.5 Hills, mountains and plains 2.6 Forests, reserves, flora and fauna 2.7 Geology

2.7.1 General 2.7.2 Fossils

2.8 Climate 2.9 Quality of life

3 History

3.1 Name 3.2 Early history and Antiquity 3.3 Middle Ages

3.3.1 Successor states of East Francia

3.4 Modern Period

3.4.1 Early Modern Period 3.4.2 Later Modern Period

3.4.2.1 19th century 3.4.2.2 20th century

4 Contemporary Franconia

4.1 Population 4.2 Towns and cities 4.3 Language 4.4 Religions

4.4.1 Christianity 4.4.2 Judaism 4.4.3 Islam

4.5 Culture 4.6 Tourism

5 See also 6 Notes 7 References 8 Bibliography 9 External links

Etymology[edit] Main article: Name of the Franks Further information: Name of France The German name for Franconia, Franken, comes from the dative plural form of Franke, a member of the Germanic tribe known as the Franks.[5] The name of the Franks
Franks
in turn derives from a word meaning "daring, bold", cognate with old Norwegian frakkr, "quick, bold".[6] In the 9th century the realm of the Franks
Franks
was divided. The German region of Franconia
Franconia
corresponds the region along the river Main which was the original territory of the Ripuarian Franks.[7] English distinguishes between Franks
Franks
(the early medieval Germanic people) and Franconians in reference to the high medieval stem duchy, following Middle Latin
Middle Latin
use of Francia
Francia
for France vs. Franconia
Franconia
for the German duchy, while in German the name Franken is equally used for both, while the French are called Franzosen, after Old French françois, from Latin franciscus. Geography[edit]

The present-day Upper, Lower, and Middle Franconian administrative districts (in blue), with adjacent East Franconian
East Franconian
language areas in Thuringia
Thuringia
(red) and in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
(yellow)

Overview[edit] The Franconian lands lie principally in Bavaria, north and south of the sinuous River Main
River Main
which, together with the left (southern) Regnitz
Regnitz
tributary, including its Rednitz
Rednitz
and Pegnitz headstreams, drains most of Franconia. Other large rivers include the upper Werra in Thuringia
Thuringia
and the Tauber, as well as the upper Jagst
Jagst
and Kocher streams in the west, both right tributaries of the Neckar. In southern Middle Franconia, the Altmühl
Altmühl
flows towards the Danube; the Rhine–Main– Danube
Danube
Canal crosses the European Watershed. The man-made Franconian Lake District
Franconian Lake District
has become a popular destination for day-trippers and tourists. The landscape is characterized by numerous Mittelgebirge
Mittelgebirge
ranges of the German Central Uplands. The Western natural border of Franconia
Franconia
is formed by the Spessart
Spessart
and Rhön
Rhön
Mountains, separating it from the former Rhenish Franconian lands around Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg
(officially part of Lower Franconia), whose inhabitants speak Hessian dialects. To the north rise the Rennsteig
Rennsteig
ridge of the Thuringian Forest, the Thuringian Highland
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, Hildburghausen
Hildburghausen
and Sonneberg, the historical Gau of Grabfeld, held by the House of Henneberg
House of Henneberg
from the 11th century and later part of the Wettin duchy of Saxe-Meiningen. In the east, the Fichtel Mountains
Fichtel Mountains
lead to Vogtland, Bohemian Egerland (Chebsko) in the Czech Republic, and the Bavarian Upper Palatinate. The hills of the Franconian Jura
Franconian Jura
in the south mark the border with the Upper Bavarian region (Altbayern), historical Swabia, and the Danube basin. The northern parts of the Upper Bavarian Eichstätt
Eichstätt
District, territory of the historical Bishopric of Eichstätt, are also counted as part of Franconia. In the west, Franconia
Franconia
proper comprises the Tauber
Tauber
Franconia
Franconia
region along the Tauber
Tauber
river, which As of   2014[update] is largely part of the Main-Tauber-Kreis
Main-Tauber-Kreis
in Baden-Württemberg. The state's larger Heilbronn-Franken region also includes the adjacent Hohenlohe and Schwäbisch Hall
Schwäbisch Hall
districts. In the city of Heilbronn, beyond the Haller Ebene
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
Hesse
along Spessart
Spessart
and Rhön
Rhön
comprise Gersfeld
Gersfeld
and Ehrenberg. The two largest cities of Franconia
Franconia
are Nuremberg
Nuremberg
and Würzburg. Though located on the southeastern periphery of the area, the Nuremberg
Nuremberg
metropolitan area is often identified as the economic and cultural centre of Franconia. Further cities in Bavarian Franconia include Fürth, Erlangen, Bayreuth, Bamberg, Aschaffenburg, Schweinfurt, Hof, Coburg, Ansbach
Ansbach
and Schwabach. The major (East) Franconian towns in Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
are Schwäbisch Hall
Schwäbisch Hall
on the Kocher
Kocher
— the imperial city declared itself "Swabian" in 1442 — and Crailsheim
Crailsheim
on the Jagst
Jagst
river. The main towns in Thuringia
Thuringia
are Suhl and Meiningen.

Rothenburg is one of the best known towns in Franconia

Walberla in Franconia

Water wheel at the Regnitz

Nuremberg
Nuremberg
is the largest city of Franconia

Aerial view of the Veste Coburg

Extent[edit]

The Franconian Rake
Franconian Rake
may be used as an indicator of whether a place is part of Franconia. Here: the vestry of Meiningen's municipal church in South Thuringia. The Franconian Rake
Franconian Rake
may be seen on the left

Franconia
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
Franconia
or not. Pointers to a more precise definition of Franconia's boundaries include: the territories covered by the former Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
and former Franconian Circle,[8] the range of the East Franconian
East Franconian
dialect group, the common culture and history of the region and the use of the Franconian Rake
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.[9] Franconia
Franconia
has many cultural peculiarities which have been adopted from other regions and further developed.[9] The following regions are counted as part of Franconia
Franconia
today: the Bavarian provinces of Lower Franconia, Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
and Middle Franconia, the municipality of Pyrbaum
Pyrbaum
in the county of Neumarkt in der Oberpfalz, the northwestern part of the Upper Bavarian county of Eichstätt
Eichstätt
(covering the same area as the old county of Alt-Eichstätt), the East Franconian
East Franconian
counties of South Thuringia, parts of Fulda and the Odenwaldkreis
Odenwaldkreis
in Hesse, the Baden-Württemberg regions of Tauber
Tauber
Franconia
Franconia
and Hohenlohe
Hohenlohe
as well as the region around the Badenian Buchen. In individual cases the membership of some areas is disputed. These include the Bavarian language
Bavarian language
area of Alt-Eichstätt[9] and the Hessian-speaking[10] 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,[11] is also controversial. Moreover, the sense of belonging to Franconia
Franconia
in the Frankish-speaking areas of Upper Palatinate, South Thuringia[12] and Hesse
Hesse
is sometimes less marked. Administrative divisions[edit]

The Bavarian provinces of Upper, Middle and Lower Franconia

The region of Heilbronn- Franconia
Franconia
in Baden-Württemberg

The region of Franconia
Franconia
is divided among the states of Hesse, Thuringia, Bavaria
Bavaria
and Baden-Württemberg. The largest part of Franconia, both by population and area, belongs to the Free State of Bavaria
Bavaria
and is divided into the three provinces (Regierungsbezirke) of Middle Franconia
Middle Franconia
(capital: Ansbach), Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
(capital: Bayreuth) and Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia
(capital: Würzburg). The name of these provinces, as in the case of Upper and Lower Bavaria, refers to their situation with respect to the River Main. Thuse Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
lies on the upper reaches of the river, Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia
on its lower reaches and Middle Franconia
Middle Franconia
lies in between, although the Main does not flow through Middle Franconia
Middle Franconia
itself. Where the boundaries of these three provinces meet (the 'tripoint') is the Dreifrankenstein ("Three Franconias Rock").[13] Small parts of Franconia
Franconia
also belong to the provinces of Upper Palatinate
Upper Palatinate
and Upper Bavaria. The Franconian territories of Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
are the regions of Tauber
Tauber
Franconia
Franconia
and Hohenlohe, which belong to the Heilbronn- Franconia
Franconia
Region
Region
with its office in Heilbronn
Heilbronn
and are part of the Stuttgart Region, and the area around the Badenian Buchen in the Rhein- Neckar
Neckar
Region. The Franconian parts of Thuringia
Thuringia
(Henneberg Franconia) lie within the Southwest Thuringia
Thuringia
Planning Region. The Franconian regions in Hesse
Hesse
form the smaller parts of the counties of Fulda (Kassel province) and the Odenwaldkreis
Odenwaldkreis
(Darmstadt province), or lie on the border with Bavaria
Bavaria
or Thuringia. Rivers and lakes[edit]

The lake of Großer Brombachsee. View over Ramsberg looking east towards the dam

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
Franconia
are the Tauber, Pegnitz, Rednitz
Rednitz
and Franconian Saale. Other major rivers in the region are the Jagst
Jagst
and Kocher
Kocher
in Hohenlohe-Franconia, which empty into the Neckar
Neckar
north of Heilbronn
Heilbronn
in Baden-Württemberg, the Altmühl
Altmühl
and the Wörnitz
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
Upper Franconia
rise two left-hand tributaries of the Elbe: the Saxon Saale and the Eger. The Main- Danube
Danube
Canal connects the Main and Danube
Danube
across Franconia, running from Bamberg
Bamberg
via Nuremberg
Nuremberg
to Kelheim. It thus complements the Rhine, Main and Danube, helping to ensure a continuous navigable waterway between the North Sea
North Sea
and the Black Sea. In Franconia, there are only a few, often very small, natural lakes. This is due to fact that most natural lakes in Germany
Germany
are glacial or volcanic in origin, and Franconia
Franconia
escaped both influences in recent earth history. Among the largest waterbodies are reservoirs, which are mostly used as water reserves for the relatively dry landscapes of Franconia. These includes the waters of the Franconian Lake
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
Franconia
by surface area. Hills, mountains and plains[edit] Several Central Upland
Central Upland
ranges dominate the Franconian countryside. In the southeast, Franconia
Franconia
is shielded from the rest of Bavaria
Bavaria
by the Franconian Jura. In the east, the Fichtel Mountains
Fichtel Mountains
form the border; in the north are Franconian Forest, the Thuringian Forest, the Rhön Mountains and the Spessart
Spessart
form a kind of natural barrier. To the west are the Franconian Heights
Franconian Heights
and the Swabian-Franconian Forest. In the Franconian part of South Hesse
Hesse
is the Odenwald. Parts of the southern Thuringian Forest
Thuringian Forest
border on Franconia. The most important hill ranges in the interior of the region are the Steigerwald
Steigerwald
and the Franconian Jura with their sub-ranges of Hahnenkamm and Franconian Switzerland. The highest mountain in Franconia
Franconia
is the Schneeberg in the Fichtel Mountains which is 1,051 m above sea level (NHN).[14] Other well-known mountains include the Ochsenkopf (1,024m[14]), the Kreuzberg (927.8m[14]) and the Hesselberg
Hesselberg
(689.4m[14]). The outliers of the region include the Hesselberg
Hesselberg
and the Gleichberge. The lowest point in Franconia
Franconia
is the water level of the River Main
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
Hohenlohe
Plain. In the south of Franconia
Franconia
are smaller parts of the flat Nördlinger Ries, one of the best preserved impact craters on earth. Forests, reserves, flora and fauna[edit]

The Steinerne Rinne near Rohrbach, Ettenstatt, county of Weißenburg-Gunzenhausen

Franconia's flora is dominated by deciduous and coniferous forests. Natural forests in Franconia
Franconia
occur mainly in the ranges of the Spessart, Franconian Forest, Odenwald
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
Fichtel Mountains
and the Selb Forest. In the river valleys along the Main and Tauber, the countryside was developed for viticulture. In Spessart
Spessart
there are great oak forests. Also widespread are calcareous grasslands, extensively used pastures on very oligotrophic, poor sites. In particular, the southern Franconian Jura, with the Altmühl
Altmühl
Valley, is characterized by poor grassland of this type. Many of these places have been designated as a protected areas. Franconia
Franconia
has several regions with sandy habitats that are unique for south Germany
Germany
and are protected as the so-called Sand Belt of Franconia
Franconia
or Sandachse Franken.[15] 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.[16] A well known reserve is the Luisenburg Rock Labyrinth at Wunsiedel, a felsenmeer of granite blocks up to several metres across. The establishment of the first Franconian national park in the Steigerwald
Steigerwald
caused controversy and its designation was rejected in July 2011 by the Bavarian government.[17] The reason was the negative attitude of local population. Conservationists are now demanding protection for parts of the Steigerwald
Steigerwald
by nominating it for a World Heritage Site.[17] There are several nature parks in Franconia, including the Altmühl
Altmühl
Valley Nature Park, which, since 1969, has been one of the largest in Germany.[18] Other nature parks are the Swabian- Franconian Forest
Franconian Forest
Nature Park in Baden-Württemberg, and the nature parks of Bavarian Rhön, Fichtel Mountains, Franconian Heights, Franconian Forest, Franconian Switzerland-Veldenstein Forest, Haßberge, Spessart
Spessart
and Steigerwald
Steigerwald
in Bavaria, as well as the Bergstraße- Odenwald
Odenwald
Nature Park which straddles Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
and Hesse. Nature parks cover almost half the area of Franconia.[19] In 1991 UNESCO
UNESCO
recognised the Rhön
Rhön
as a biosphere reserve.[20] Among the most picturesque geotopes in Bavaria, are the Franconian sites of Fossa Carolina, the Twelve Apostle
Apostle
Rocks (Zwölf-Apostel-Felsen), the Ehrenbürg, the cave ruins of Riesenburg and the lake of Frickenhäuser See.[21] The European Bird Reserves in Franconia
Franconia
are found mainly in uplands like the Steigerwald, in large forests like Nuremberg's Imperial Forest
Forest
or along rivers like the Altmühl.[22] There are also numerous Special Areas of Conservation
Special Areas of Conservation
and protected landscapes. In Franconia
Franconia
there are very many tufas, raised stream beds near river sources within the karst landscape that are known as 'stone runnels' (Steinerne Rinnen). There are protected examples at Heidenheim and Wolfsbronn. Like large parts of Germany, Franconia
Franconia
only has a few large species of wild animal. Forest
Forest
dwellers include various species of marten, fallow deer, red deer, roe deer, wild boar and fox. In natural areas such as the Fichtel mountains there are populations of lynx and capercaillie,[23] and beaver and otter have grown in numbers. There are occasional sightings of animals that had long been extinct in Central Europe, for example, the wolf.[24] Geology[edit]

Opened-up, copper-ore-bearing, Spessart
Spessart
crystalline rock in Sommerkahl near Aschaffenburg

Fine sandstone, silt stone and argillites of the bunter sandstone layer (Lower Triassic) in the Seltenbach Gorge in the Spessart

Tower-like rocks of Upper Jurassic- Corallian Limestone in Tüchersfeld, northern Franconian Jura
Franconian Jura
(Franconian Switzerland)

General[edit] Only in the extreme northeast of Franconia
Franconia
and in the Spessart
Spessart
are there Variscan
Variscan
outcrops of the crystalline basement, which were uplifted from below the surface when the Alps
Alps
exerted a northwards-oriented pressure. These are rocks of pre- Permian
Permian
vintage, which were folded during various stages of Variscan
Variscan
orogeny in the Late Palaeozoic
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.[25] 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, schist, amphibolite, gneiss). 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.[26] While the Fichtel and Franconian Forest
Franconian Forest
can be assigned to the Saxo-Thuringian Zone of Central European Variscan
Variscan
orogeny, the Spessart
Spessart
belongs to the Central German Crystalline Zone.[25] The Münchberg mass is variously attributed to the Saxo-Thuringian or Moldanubian Zones.[27] A substantially larger part of the shallow subsurface in Franconia comprises Mesozoic, unmetamorphosed, unfolded rocks of the South German Scarplands.[28] The regional geological element of the South German Scarplands is the Franconian Platform (Süddeutsche Großscholle).[29] 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.[30] The western two-thirds of Franconia
Franconia
is dominated by the Triassic
Triassic
with its sandstones, siltstones and claystones (so-called siliciclastics) of the bunter sandstone; the limestones and marls of the Muschelkalk
Muschelkalk
and the mixed, but predominantly siliciclastic, sedimentary rocks of the Keuper. In the Rhön, the Triassic
Triassic
rocks are overlain and intruded by volcanic rock (basalts, basanites, phonolites and trachytes) of the Tertiary. The eastern third of Franconia
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
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
Franconian Jura
itself.[28] In the Jura, mostly siliciclastic sedimentary rocks formed in the Cretaceous have survived. The Mesozoic
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
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.[31] 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.[31] In addition, large parts of South and Central Germany
Germany
experienced a general uplift -or in areas where the basement had broken through a substantial uplift - the course of formation of the Alps
Alps
during the Tertiary. Since then, Franconia
Franconia
has been mainly influenced by erosion and weathering (especially in the Jura in the form of karst), which has ultimately led to formation of today's landscapes. Fossils[edit]

Skull and forward cervical spine of Plateosaurus engelhardti, probably the replica of a skeleton from Ellingen

The so-called London Exemplar of Archaeopteryx
Archaeopteryx
(here a replica) comes from the Langenaltheim
Langenaltheim
Quarry, west of Solnhofen.

The oldest macrofossils in Franconia, which are also the oldest in Bavaria, are archaeocyatha, sponge-like, goblet-shaped marine organisms, which were discovered in 2013 in a limestone block of Late Lower Cambrian
Cambrian
age, about 520 million years old. The block comes from the vicinity Schwarzenbach am Wald
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 sections. These thin sections had already been prepared and investigated in the 1970s but the archaeocyathids among them were apparently overlooked at that time.[32] Better known and more highly respected fossil finds in Franconia
Franconia
come from the unfolded sedimentary rocks of the Triassic
Triassic
and Jurassic. The bunter sandstone, however, only has a relatively small number of preserved whole fossils. Much more commonly, it contains trace fossils, especially the tetrapod footprints of Chirotherium. The type locality for these animal tracks is Hildburghausen
Hildburghausen
in the Thuringian part of Franconia, where it occurs in the so-called Thuringian Chirotherium
Chirotherium
Sandstone
Sandstone
(Thüringer Chirotheriensandstein, main Middle Bunter Sandstone).[33] Chirotherium
Chirotherium
is also found in the Bavarian and Württemberg parts of Franconia. Sites include Aura near Bad Kissingen, Karbach, Gambach and Külsheim.[34] There the deposits are somewhat younger (Upper Bunter Sandstone), and the corresponding stratigraphic interval is called the Franconian Chirotherium
Chirotherium
Beds (Fränkische Chirotherienschichten).[34] Among the less significant body fossil records of vertebrates are the procolophonid Anomoiodon liliensterni from Reurieth
Reurieth
in the Thuringian part of Franconia[35] and Koiloskiosaurus coburgiensis from Mittelberg near Coburg,[36] both from the Thuringian Chirotherium
Chirotherium
Sandstone, and the Temnospondyle Mastodonsaurus
Mastodonsaurus
ingens (possibly identical with the mastodonsaurus, Heptasaurus cappelensis) from the Upper Bunter at Gambach.[37][38] As early as the first decade of the 19th century George, Count
Count
of Münster began systematic fossil gathering and digs and in the Upper Muschelkalk
Muschelkalk
at Bayreuth. For example, the Oschenberg hill near Laineck became the type locality of two relatively well-known marine reptiles of the Triassic
Triassic
period, later found in other parts of Central Europe: the "flat tooth lizard", Placodus[39] and the "false lizard", Nothosaurus.[40] In Franconia's middle Keuper
Keuper
(the Feuerletten) 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
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
Franconia
was made at Ellingen.[41] Far more famous than Plateosaurus, Placodus
Placodus
and Nothosaurus
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
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
Pterodactylus
and various bony fishes as well as numerous extremely detailed examples of invertebrates e.g. feather stars and dragonflies. Eichstätt
Eichstätt
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
Würzburg
doctor and naturalist, Johann Beringer, for a lot of money and then described in a monograph, along with genuine fossils from the Würzburg
Würzburg
area. However, it is not entirely clear whether the Beringer forgeries were actually planted or whether he himself was responsible for the fraud.[42] Climate[edit] Franconia
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
Franconia
is sunny and relatively warm. For part of the summer, for example, Lower Franconia
Lower Franconia
is one the sunniest areas in Germany. Daily temperatures in the Bavarian part of Franconia
Franconia
are an average of 0.1 °C higher than the average for Bavaria
Bavaria
as a whole.[43] Relatively less rain falls in Franconia, and likewise in the rest of North Bavaria
Bavaria
rain than is usual for its geographic location; even summer storms are often less powerful than in other areas of South Germany.[44] In southern Bavaria
Bavaria
about 2,000 mm of precipitation falls annually and almost three times as much as in parts of Franconia
Franconia
(about 500–900 mm) in the rain shadow of the Spessart, Rhön
Rhön
and Odenwald.[45] Quality of life[edit] 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
Nuremberg
was one of the top 25 cities in the world in terms of quality of life and came sixth in Germany.[46] In environmental ranking Nuremberg
Nuremberg
came thirteenth in the world and was the best German city[46] In a survey by the German magazine, Focus, on quality of life in 2014, the districts of Eichstätt
Eichstätt
and Fürth
Fürth
were among the top positions in the table.[47] In the Glücksatlas by Deutsche Post Franconia
Franconia
achieved some of the highest scores,[48] but the region slipped in 2013 to 13th place out of 19.[49] History[edit] Main article: History of Franconia Name[edit] Franconia
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
Franconia
is not the homeland of the Franks, but rather owes its name to being partially settled by Franks
Franks
from the Rhineland during the 7th century AD
7th century AD
following the defeat of the Alamanni
Alamanni
and Thuringians
Thuringians
who had dominated the region earlier.[50] At the beginning of the 10th century a Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
(German: Herzogtum Franken) was established within East Francia, which comprised modern Hesse, Palatinate, parts of Baden-Württemberg
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
Franconian Circle
roughly corresponds with modern Franconia. The title of a Duke of Franconia
Franconia
was claimed by the Würzburg
Würzburg
bishops until 1803 and by the kings of Bavaria
Bavaria
until 1918.[51] 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.[52] Early history and Antiquity[edit]

The Celts
Celts
built the mighty fortress of Menosgada
Menosgada
on the Staffelberg

Fossil finds show that the region was already settled by primitive man, Homo erectus, in the middle Ice Age
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
Pommelsbrunn
in the county of Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Land.[53] In the late Bronze Age, the region was probably only sparsely inhabited, as few noble metals occur here and the soils are only moderately fertile.[54] In the subsequent Iron Age
Iron Age
(from about 800 B.C.) the Celts
Celts
become the first nation to be discernible in the region. In northern Franconia
Franconia
they built a chain of hill forts as a line of defence against the Germanii
Germanii
advancing from the north. On the Staffelberg
Staffelberg
they built a powerful settlement, to which Ptolemy
Ptolemy
the name oppidum Menosgada,[55] 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
Elbe Germanic
tribes from the north, the Celtic culture begain to fall into decline. The southern parts of present-day Franconia
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.[56]

A 1990 replica of the Porta decumana of the Biriciana. View over the camp ring road

Under the emperors, Domitian
Domitian
(81-96), Trajan
Trajan
(98-117) and Hadrian (117-138), the Rhaetian Limes
Rhaetian Limes
was built as a border facing the Germanic tribes to the north. This defensive line ran through the south of Franconia
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
Biriciana
at Weißenburg, but by the mid-third century, the border could no longer be maintained and by 250 A.D. the Alemanni
Alemanni
occupied the areas up to the Danube. Fortified settlements such as the Gelbe Bürg
Gelbe Bürg
at Dittenheim
Dittenheim
controlled the new areas.[57] 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
Alemanni
and Juthungi
Juthungi
in especially in the south.[58] By contrast, it was the Burgundians
Burgundians
who settled on the Lower and Middle Main.[58] 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
Huns
which thus triggered the Great Migration. In many cases, however, it was probably conquest by the Franks
Franks
that spelt the end of these hilltop settlements.[57] Middle Ages[edit]

Franconian warrior's grave goods from the early mediaeval burial site of Westheim

Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
around 800

With their victories over the heartlands of the Alamanni
Alamanni
and Thuringians
Thuringians
in the 6th century, the present region of Franconia
Franconia
also fell to the Franks.[2] After the division of the Frankish Empire, East Francia
Francia
( Francia
Francia
orientialis) was formed from the territories of the dioceses of Mainz, Worms, Wurzburg
Wurzburg
and Speyer. Later, the diocese of Bamberg
Bamberg
was added.[2] In the 7th century, the Slavs
Slavs
started to populate the northeastern parts of the region from the east, because the area of today's Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
was very sparsely populated ( Bavaria
Bavaria
Slavica).[59] However, in the 10th and 11th centuries, they largely gave up their own language and cultural tradition. The majority of the population of Franconia
Franconia
was pagan well into the Early Middle Ages, The first people to spread the Christian faith strongly were wandering Irish Anglo-Saxon
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
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.[60] Main article: Duchy of Franconia In the mid-9th century the tribal Duchy of Franconia
Duchy of Franconia
emerged, one of the five tribal or stem duchies of East Francia.[61] The territory of the stem duchy was far bigger than modern Franconia
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
Worms
(west of the Rhine) and even included Frankfurt ("ford of the Franks"). In the early 10th century, the Babenbergs
Babenbergs
and Conradines fought for power in Franconia. Ultimately this discord led to the Babenberg Feud
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
Alamannia
was fairly fragmented and the duke's position was often disputed between the chief families. Conrad had granted Franconia
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
Franconia
( Francia
Francia
Rhenensis), and East Franconia
Franconia
(Francia Orientalis)[note 1] and was directly subordinated to the Reich. Only after that was the former Francia
Francia
orientalis considered to be under the sphere of the bishops of Würzburg
Würzburg
as the true Franconia, its territory gradually shrinking to its present area.[2] 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
Franks
at that time, and certainly their dialect distinguished them from the inhabitants of Bavaria
Bavaria
and Swabia.[62] Unlike the other stem duchies, Franconia
Franconia
became the homeland and power base of East Frankish and German kings after the Ottonians
Ottonians
died out in 1024.[61] 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
Bavaria
and Swabia. In 1007, the later canonized Henry II founded the Bishopric of Bamberg
Bamberg
and endowed it with rich estates.[63] Bamberg became a favoured Pfalz and an important centre of the Empire.[63] Because parts of the Bishopric of Würzburg
Würzburg
also fell to Bamberg, Würzburg
Würzburg
was enfeoffed several royal estates by King Henry II by way of compensation.[64]

Franconia
Franconia
around 1200

From the 12th century Nuremberg
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.[65] Under the Hohenstaufen kings, Conrad III and Frederick Barbarossa, Franconia
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.[66] 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.[67] During the 13th century the Teutonic Order
Teutonic Order
was formed, taking over its first possession in Franconia
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
Roman Catholic
military order. The residence place of the bailiwick was at Ellingen
Ellingen
until 1789 when it was transferred to today's Bad Mergentheim.[68] Other orders such as the Knights Templar could not gain a foothold in Franconia; the Order of St. John
Order of St. John
worked in the Bishopric of Würzburg
Würzburg
and had short term commands.[69] Successor states of East Francia[edit] As of the 13th century, the following states, among others, had formed in the territory of the former Duchy:

Bishopric of Würzburg Abbacy of Fulda County of Abenberg County of Henneberg County of Hohenlohe County of Lauffen

County of Löwenstein County of Rieneck County of Truhendingen County of Vaihingen County of Wertheim County of Wildberg

Modern Period[edit] Early Modern Period[edit]

Map of Franconia, 1642

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.[3] Seen from a modern perspective, the Franconian Circle
Franconian Circle
may be viewed as an important basis for the sense of a common Franconian identity that exists today.[8] The Franconian Circle
Franconian Circle
also shaped the geographical limits of the present-day Franconia.[62] In the late Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and Early Modern Period, the Imperial Circle
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
Würzburg
used the nominal title of Duke of Franconia
Franconia
during the time of the Imperial Circle.[70] In 1559, the Franconian Circle
Franconian Circle
was given jurisdiction over coinage (Münzaufsicht) and, in 1572, was the only Circle to issue its own police ordinance.[71][72] Members of the Franconian Circle
Franconian Circle
included the imperial cities, the prince-bishoprics, the Bailiwick of Franconia
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
Franconia
today, that lay outside the Franconian Circle. For example, the area of Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg
belonged to Electoral Mainz
Mainz
and was a part of the Electoral Rhenish Circle, the area of Coburg
Coburg
belonged to the Upper Saxon Circle
Upper Saxon Circle
and the Heilbronn
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.[73] Franconia
Franconia
played an important role in the spread of the Reformation initiated by Martin Luther,[74] Nuremberg
Nuremberg
being one of the places where the Luther Bible
Luther Bible
was printed.[75] The majority of other Franconian imperial cities and imperial knights embraced the new confession.[76] In the course of the counter-reformation several regions of Franconia
Franconia
returned to Catholicism, however, and there was also an increase in witch trials.[77] In addition to Lutheranism, the radical reformatory baptist movement spread early on across the Franconian area. Important Baptist
Baptist
centres were Königsberg and Nuremberg.[78][79]

Extent of the uprisings in the Peasants' War

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
Würzburg
area was particularly hard hit with numerous castles and monasteries being burned down.[80] 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
Albert Alcibiades
attempted to break the supremacy of the mighty imperial city of Nuremberg
Nuremberg
and to secularise the ecclesial estates in the Second Margrave War,[81] to create a duchy over which he would rule.[82] Large areas of Franconia
Franconia
were eventually devastated in the fighting until King Ferdinand I together with several dukes and princes decided to overthrow Albert.

Part of Wallenstein's camp around Zirndorf
Zirndorf
and the Alte Veste

In 1608, the reformed princes merged into a so-called Union within the Empire. In Franconia, the margraves of Ansbach
Ansbach
and Bayreuth
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[83] Initially, Franconia
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
Franconia
and established a large encampment in summer 1632 around Nuremberg.[84] However, the Swedes lost the Battle of the Alte Veste
Alte Veste
against Wallenstein's troops and eventually withdrew. Franconia
Franconia
was one of the poorest regions in the Empire and lost its imperial political significance.[85] 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.[86]

The Franconian Imperial Circle
Imperial Circle
in 1789

Franconia
Franconia
never developed into a unified territorial state, because the patchwork quilt of small states (Kleinstaaterei) survived the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
and lasted until the 18th century.[87] As a result, the Franconian Circle
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.[87] It also played a major role in the control of disease during the 16th and 17th centuries.[88] After Charles Alexander abdicated in 1792, the former margraviates of Ansbach
Ansbach
and Bayreuth
Bayreuth
were annexed by Prussia.[89][90] Karl August Freiherr von Hardenberg was appointed as governor of these areas by Prussia.[90] Later Modern Period[edit] Most of modern-day Franconia
Franconia
became part of Bavaria
Bavaria
in 1803 thanks to Bavaria's alliance with Napoleon. Culturally it is in many ways different from Bavaria
Bavaria
proper ("Altbayern", Old Bavaria), however. The ancient name was resurrected in 1837 by Ludwig I of Bavaria. During the Nazi
Nazi
period, Bavaria
Bavaria
was broken up into several different Gaue, including Franconia
Franconia
and Main-Franconia. 19th century[edit] In 1803, what was to become the Kingdom of Bavaria
Bavaria
was given large parts of Franconia
Franconia
through the enactment of the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss under pressure from Napoleon
Napoleon
for secularization and mediatisation.[91] 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
Franconian Circle
fell apart.[92][93] As a reward Bavaria
Bavaria
was promised other estates, including the city of Nuremberg.[92] In the so-called Rittersturm of 1803, Bavaria, Württemberg and Baden seized the territories of the Imperial Knights and Franconian nobility, whoses estates were often no bigger than a few parishes, even though the Reichsdeputationshauptschluss had not authorised this.[70] In 1806 and 1810, Prussia
Prussia
had to release the territories of Ansbach
Ansbach
and Bayreuth, which it had annexed in 1792, to Bavaria, whereby Prussia
Prussia
lost its supremacy in the region.[90] In 1814, as a result of the Congress of Vienna,the territories of the Principality of Aschaffenburg
Aschaffenburg
and Grand Duchy of Würzburg
Würzburg
went to the Kingdom of Bavaria. In order to merge the patchwork quilt of small states in Franconia
Franconia
and Swabia
Swabia
into a greater Bavaria, Maximilian Joseph Montgelas reformed the political structure.[94][95] Out of this in January 1838 emerged the Franconian provinces with their present names of Middle, Upper and Lower Franconia. .[96] Considerable resentment arose in parts of the Franconian territories over their new membership of Bavaria.[97] There were liberal demands for republican structures which erupted in the revolts of 1848 and 1849 and the Gaibach Festival in 1832.[98][99] On the one hand the reconciliation policy of the Wittelsbachs[97] and Montgelas' aforementioned policy of unification, and, on the other hand, the inclusion of Bavaria
Bavaria
in the German Empire
German Empire
in 1871, which weakened her power Bavaria
Bavaria
slightly, the conflict between Franconia
Franconia
and Bavaria
Bavaria
eased considerably. From 1836 to 1846, the Kingdom of Bavaria
Bavaria
built the Ludwig Canal
Ludwig Canal
from Bamberg
Bamberg
to Kelheim, which was only abandoned in 1950.[100] However, the canal lost much of its importance shortly after the arrival of the railways. Between 1843 and 1854, the Ludwig South-North Railway
Ludwig South-North Railway
was established within Franconia, which ran from Lindau on Lake
Lake
Constance via Nuremberg, Bamberg
Bamberg
and Kulmbach
Kulmbach
to Hof. The first locomotive to run on German soil steamed 1835 from Nuremberg
Nuremberg
to Fürth
Fürth
on 7 December 1835. 20th century[edit] After the First World War
First World War
the monarchy in Bavaria
Bavaria
was abolished, but the state could not agree on a compromise between a Soviet system
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
Bamberg
in 1919, where the Bamberg
Bamberg
Constitution was adopted while, in Munich, the Bavarian Soviet Republic
Bavarian Soviet Republic
reigned briefly.[101] In 1919 the Free State of Coburg
Coburg
voted in a referendum against joining Thuringia
Thuringia
and was instead united with Bavaria
Bavaria
on 1 July 1920.[101]

Destruction in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
in 1945 (Egidienplatz)

Destruction in Heilbronn
Heilbronn
in 1945

The Pellerhaus in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
was one of the most important buildings of the Renaissance period from 1605 until the destruction of its façade in 1945.

During the Nazi
Nazi
era Nuremberg
Nuremberg
played a prominent role in the self-expression of the National Socialists
National Socialists
as the permanent seat of the Nazi
Nazi
Party.[102] Gunzenhausen
Gunzenhausen
made its mark as one of the first towns in the Reich itself to exercise discrimination against the Jewish
Jewish
population. The first Hitler Monument in Germany
Germany
was established there in April 1933. On 25 March 1934 the first anti- Jewish
Jewish
pogrom in Bavaria
Bavaria
took place in Gunzenhausen. The attack brought the town negative press coverage worldwide.[103] On 15 September, a Reichstag was specially convened in Nuremberg
Nuremberg
for the purpose of passing the Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Laws, under which the antisemitic ideology of the Nazis became a legal basis for such actions.[104] Like all parts of the German Reich, Franconia
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[105] and the bombing of Würzburg
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
Bamberg
was almost completely spared.[106] In order to protect cultural artefacts, the historic art bunker was built below Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Castle.[107] 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
Nuremberg
lasted five days and resulted in at least 901 deaths. The Battle of Crailsheim lasted 16 days, the Battle of Würzburg
Würzburg
seven and the Battle of Merkendorf three days. Following the unconditional surrender on 8 May 1945, Bavarian Franconia
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
Soviet zone
and the Franconian parts of today's Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
also went to the American zone[108] The most important part of the Allied prosecution programme against leaders of the Nazi
Nazi
regime were the Nuremberg
Nuremberg
Trials against leaders of the German Empire
German Empire
during the Nazi
Nazi
era, held from 20 November 1945 to 14 April 1949.[109] The Nuremberg
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
Bavaria
was reconstituted with the enactment of the Bavarian Constitution.[110] The state of Württemberg-Baden
Württemberg-Baden
was founded on 19 September 1945.[111] On 25 April 1952 this state merged with Baden and Württemberg-Hohenzollern
Württemberg-Hohenzollern
(both from the former French occupation zone) to create the present state of Baden-Württemberg.[112] On 1 December 1945 the state of Hesse
Hesse
was founded. Beginning in 1945, refugees and displaced persons from Eastern Europe were settled particularly in rural areas.[113] After 1945, Bavaria
Bavaria
and Baden-Württemberg
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,[114] which is why these areas received special support from federal and state governments. By contrast, the state of Thuringia
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
Thuringia
was relieved of its function[115] 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.[116] 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.[117] The village of Mödlareuth
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
Germany
and local exodus of East Germans, the state of Thuringia
Thuringia
was reformed with effect from 14 October 1990.[115]

The administrative reform in Bavaria
Bavaria
in the Franconian county of Ansbach

In the years from 1971 to 1980 an administrative reform was carried out in Bavaria
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
Eichstätt
to Upper Bavaria. On 18 May 2006, the Bavarian Landtag
Bavarian Landtag
approved the introduction of Franconia
Franconia
Day (Tag der Franken) in the Franconian territories of the free state.[118] Since Die Wende, new markets have opened up for the Franconian region of Bavaria
Bavaria
in the new (formerly East German) federal states and the Czech Republic, enabling the economy to recover.[119] Today, Franconia is in the centre of the EU (at Oberwestern near Westerngrund; geographical centre of the EU 50°07′02″N 9°14′52″E / 50.117286°N 9.247768°E / 50.117286; 9.247768)[120] Contemporary Franconia[edit] While Old Bavaria
Bavaria
is overwhelmingly Roman Catholic, Franconia
Franconia
is a mixed area. Lower Franconia
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
Upper Franconia
(Bayreuth, Hof, Kulmbach) are predominantly Protestant (Evangelical Church in Germany). The city of Fürth
Fürth
in Middle Franconia
Middle Franconia
historically (before the Nazi
Nazi
era) had a large Jewish
Jewish
population; Henry Kissinger
Henry Kissinger
was born there. Population[edit] A large part of the population of Franconia, which has a population of five million,[121] consider themselves Franconians (Franken, in German homonymous with the name of the historical Franks), a sub-ethnic group of the German people
German people
alongside Alemanni, Swabians, Bavarians, Thuringians
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
Rhine
Franconians (Rheinfranken) or Moselle Franconians (Moselfranken). The Free State of Bavaria
Bavaria
counts Franconians as one of the "four tribes of Bavaria" (vier Stämme Bayerns), alongside Bavarians, Swabians
Swabians
and Sudeten Germans.[122] Towns and cities[edit] With the exception of Heilbronn, all cities in Franconia
Franconia
and all towns with a population of over 50,000 are within the Free State of Bavaria. The five cities of Franconia
Franconia
are Nuremberg, Würzburg, Fürth, Heilbronn
Heilbronn
and Erlangen. In Middle Franconia, in the metropolitan region of Nuremberg
Nuremberg
there is a densely populated urban area consisting of Nuremberg, Fürth, Erlangen
Erlangen
and Schwabach. Nuremberg
Nuremberg
is the fourteenth largest city in Germany
Germany
and the second largest in Bavaria. The largest settlements in Baden-Württemberg's Franconian region are Heilbronn
Heilbronn
(pop: 117,531), Schwäbisch Hall
Schwäbisch Hall
(37,096) and Crailsheim (32,417).[123] The largest places in the Thuringian part are Suhl (35,665), Sonneberg
Sonneberg
(23,796) and Meiningen
Meiningen
(20,966).[124] The largest place in the Hessian part of Franconia
Franconia
is Gersfeld
Gersfeld
with just 5,512 inhabitants.[125] The largest cities within Bavaria
Bavaria
are Nuremberg
Nuremberg
(495,121), Würzburg
Würzburg
(124,577), Fürth
Fürth
(118,358) and Erlangen
Erlangen
(105,412).[126] In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
Franconia, with its numerous towns, was separate and not part of other territories such as the Duchy of Bavaria.[127] 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
Hohenstaufens
operated in many towns, most of which later became Imperial Cities
Imperial Cities
with a strong orientation towards Nuremberg.[127] The smallest town in Franconia
Franconia
is Thuringia's Ummerstadt
Ummerstadt
with 487 inhabitants.[124] Language[edit]

Distribution of the East Franconian
East Franconian
dialects with transition zones

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
East Franconian
German, the dialect spoken in Franconia, is very different from the Austro-Bavarian
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. Religions[edit] Christianity[edit] The proportion of Roman Catholics and Protestants among the population of Franconia
Franconia
is roughly the same, but varies from region to region.[128] Large areas of Middle and Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
are mainly Protestant.[128] The denominational orientation today still reflects the territorial structure of Franconia
Franconia
at the time of the Franconian Circle. For example, regions, that used to be under the care of the bishoprics of Bamberg, Würzburg
Würzburg
and Eichstätt, are mainly Catholic today. On the other hand, all former territories of the imperial cities and the margraviates of Ansbach
Ansbach
and Bayreuth
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
St. Bartholomew's Day massacre
in France.[129] 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.[130] Subsequent historical events such as the stream of refugees after the Second World War
Second World War
and the increasing mobility of the population have 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. Judaism[edit] Before the Nazi
Nazi
era Franconia
Franconia
was as a region with significant Jewish communities, most of whom were Ashkenazi Jews.[131] The first Jewish communities appeared in Franconia
Franconia
in the 12th and 13th centuries and thus later than, for example, in Regensburg. In the Middle Ages, Franconia
Franconia
was a stronghold of Torah
Torah
studies. But Franconia
Franconia
also began to exclude the Jewish
Jewish
populations particularly early on. For example, there were two Jewish
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
Jewish
populations, which is why many Jews settled in rural communities. Franconia
Franconia
also rose to early prominence in the discrimination of Jews during the Nazi era.[132] One of the first casualties of the organized Nazi persecution of Jews took place on 21 March in Künzelsau
Künzelsau
and on 25/26 March 1933 in Creglingen, where police and SA troops under the leadership of Standartenführer
Standartenführer
Fritz Klein led a so-called "weapons search operations".[133][134] Whilst, in 1818, about 65 per cent of Bavarian Jews lived in the Bavarian part of Franconia,[135] today there are only Jewish
Jewish
communities in Bamberg, Bayreuth, Erlangen, Fürth, Hof, Nuremberg
Nuremberg
and Würzburg[136] and in Heilbronn
Heilbronn
in Baden-Württemberg. Islam[edit] 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' (Hinterhofmoschees) have sprung up, which are gradually being replaced by purpose-built mosques. Culture[edit] Franconia
Franconia
has almost 300 small breweries.[137] The northwestern parts, the areas around river Main called Franconian wine
Franconian wine
region also produce a lot of wine. Food typical for the region includes Bratwurst (especially the famous small Nuremberger Bratwurst), Schäuferla (stewed 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
Lebkuchen
are a traditional type of biscuit, and Küchla is a sort of sweet fried dough.

Schäuferla

Three Nuremberger Bratwürste in a roll (Drei im Weckla)

Schlenkerla Rauchbier straight from the cask

Franconian wine
Franconian wine
is traditionally filled up in Bocksbeutels

Fried Carp
Carp
with beer and salad

Tourism[edit]

One of the best known tourist attractions in Franconia
Franconia
is the town of Rothenburg ob der Tauber

Schloss Langenburg (Baden-Württemberg) lies on the Castle Road

The tourism industry stresses the romantic character of Franconia.[138][139] Arguments for this include the picturesque countryside and the many historic buildings that present the long history and culture of the region.[139] 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,[139][140] and which make Franconia
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.[141] The Castle Road
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
Altmühl
Valley and the Central Uplands offer a lot of hiking options. Cycling
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
Tauber
Valley Cycleway, a 101 kilometre-long cycle trail in Tauber Franconia, was the second German long distance cycleway to receive five stars.[142]

See also[edit]

Franconia
Franconia
portal

East Franconian
East Franconian
German Franconia
Franconia
(wine region) Franconian Flag Franconian Rake Fränkel

Notes[edit]

^ East Franconia
Franconia
should not be confused with the eastern division of the Frankish Empire, East Francia, which was also known as Francia Orientalis in Latin. This refers to the much larger area which later became the German Kingdom
German Kingdom
and which the whole of the Duchy of Franconia
Franconia
was a part.

References[edit]

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Bibliography[edit]

Andert, Reinhold. Der fränkische Reiter. Dingsda-Verlag Querfurt, Leipzig, 2006, ISBN 3-928498-92-4. Beckstein, Günther (text) and Erich Weiß (photographs). Franken, Mein Franken - Impressionen aus meiner Heimat. Bamberg, 2009, ISBN 978-3-936897-61-6. Bernet, Claus. Himmlisches Franken. Norderstedt, 2012, ISBN 978-3-8482-3041-9. Blessing, Werner K. and Dieter Weiß (eds.): Franken. Vorstellung und Wirklichkeit in der Geschichte. (= Franconia. Appendices to the Yearbook for Franconian State Research, Vol. 1), Neustadt (Aisch), 2003. Bogner, Franz X. Franken aus der Luft. Stürtz-Verlag Wurzburg, 2008, ISBN 978-3-8003-1913-8. Bogner, Franz X. Oberfranken aus der Luft. Ellwanger-Verlag, 128 pages. Bayreuth, 2011, ISBN 978-3-925361-95-1. Bötzinger, Martin. Leben und Leiden während des Dreißigjährigen Krieges in Thüringen und Franken. Langensalza, ²1997, ISBN 3-929000-39-3. Cantor, Norman. The Civilization of the Middle Ages. 1993. ISBN 0-06-017033-6. Elkar, Rainer S. Geschichtslandschaft Franken - wohlbestelltes Feld mit Lücken. In: Jahrbuch für Regionalgeschichte 23 (2005), pp. 145–158. Fischer,Berndt. Naturerlebnis Franken. Streifzüge durch eine Seelenlandschaft. Buch & Kunstverlag Oberpfalz, Amberg, 2001, ISBN 3-924350-91-4. Nestmeyer, Ralf: Franken. Ein Reisehandbuch. Michael-Müller-Verlag, Erlangen, 2013, ISBN 978-3-89953-775-8. Peters, Michael. Geschichte Frankens. Vom Ausgang der Antike bis zum Ende des Alten Reiches. Katz Verlag, 2007, ISBN 978-3-938047-31-6 (c.f. review). Petersohn, Jürgen. Franken im Mittelalter. Identität und Profil im Spiegel von Bewußtsein und Vorstellung. (Vorträge und Forschungen, Sonderband 51), Ostfildern, 2008 (c.f. the review). Reuter, Timothy. Germany
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External links[edit]

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Franconia.

Wikivoyage has a travel guide for Franconia.

Wikisource
Wikisource
has the text of the 1879 American Cyclopædia
American Cyclopædia
article Franconia.

Bezirk of Lower Franconia Government of Lower Franconia Bezirk of Middle Franconia Government of Middle Franconia Bezirk of Upper Franconia Government of Upper Franconia
Upper Franconia
English pages available The Baden-Württemberg
Baden-Württemberg
region of Heilbronn-Franken Dukes of Franconia Franconia
Franconia
images

Coordinates: 49°48′58″N 10°51′54″E / 49.816°N 10.865°E / 49.816; 10.865

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WorldCat Identities VIAF: 181144928864554440471 LCCN: sh86000

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