Lower Franconia

Lower Franconia (German: Unterfranken, Austro-Bavarian: Untafrankn) is one of seven districts of Bavaria, Germany. The districts of Lower, Middle and Upper Franconia make up the region of Franconia.

Lower Franconia

Map of Bavaria highlighting Lower Franconia
Region seatWürzburg
  Total8,530.99 km2 (3,293.83 sq mi)
 (31 December 2018)[1]
  Density150/km2 (400/sq mi)


After the founding of the Kingdom of Bavaria the state was totally reorganised and, in 1808, divided into 15 administrative government regions (German: Regierungsbezirke, singular Regierungsbezirk), in Bavaria called Kreise (singular: Kreis). They were created in the fashion of the French departements, quite even in size and population, and named after their main rivers.

In the following years, due to territorial changes (e. g. loss of Tyrol, addition of the Palatinate), the number of Kreise was reduced to 8. One of these was the Untermainkreis (Lower Main District). In 1837 king Ludwig I of Bavaria renamed the Kreise after historical territorial names and tribes of the area. This also involved some border changes or territorial swaps. Thus the name Untermainkreis changed to Lower Franconia and Aschaffenburg, but the city name was soon dropped, leaving just Lower Franconia.

In 1933, the regional Nazi Gauleiter Otto Hellmuth insisted on renaming the district Mainfranken, but after 1945 the name Unterfranken was resurrected.

The municipal reform (Kreisreform) of June 1972 consolidated the 22 country districts of Lower Franconia into nine.

New districtFormer district(s)
AschaffenburgAschaffenburg, Alzenau
Bad KissingenBad Kissingen, Bad Brückenau, Hammelburg
HaßbergeEbern, Haßfurt, Hofheim in Unterfranken, part of Gerolzhofen
KitzingenKitzingen, part of Gerolzhofen
Main-SpessartGemünden, Karlstadt, Lohr, part of Marktheidenfeld
MiltenbergMiltenberg, Obernburg, part of Marktheidenfeld
Rhön-GrabfeldBad Neustadt an der Saale, Königshofen, Mellrichstadt
SchweinfurtSchweinfurt, part of Gerolzhofen
WürzburgWürzburg, Ochsenfurt, part of Gerolzhofen, part of Marktheidenfeld

Unterfranken is the north-west part of Franconia and consists of three district-free cities (Kreisfreie Städte) and nine country districts (Landkreise).

The major portion of the Franconian wine region is situated in Lower Franconia.

Coat of arms

The coat of arms includes the "Franconian Rake" (the arms of Duchy of Franconia) in the upper portion, the "Rennfähnlein", a banner, quarterly argent (silver) and gules (red), on a lance or (gold), in bend, on an azure (blue) field, associated with Würzburg in the lower left quadrant, and a white/silver wheel on a red field symbolizing the clerical state of Mainz, in the lower right quadrant.

Area and population

City or District Population (2013) Area (km2) Communities
City of Aschaffenburg 67,748 5.22% 62 0.7% 1 0.3%
City of Schweinfurt 51,918 4.00% 36 0.4% 1 0.3%
City of Würzburg 124,154 9,57% 88 1.0% 1 0.3%
Aschaffenburg 172,521 13.30% 699 8.2% 32 10.4%
Bad Kissingen 103,003 7.94% 1,137 13.3% 26 8.4%
Haßberge 84,136 6.49% 956 11.2% 26 8.4%
Kitzingen 88,025 6.79% 684 8.0% 31 10.1%
Main-Spessart 126,458 9.75% 1,322 15.5% 40 13.0%
Miltenberg 127,980 9.87% 716 8.4% 32 10.4%
Rhön-Grabfeld 80,065 6.17% 1,022 12.0% 37 12.0%
Schweinfurt 112,916 8.71% 842 9.9% 29 9.4%
Würzburg 158,132 12.19% 968 11.3% 52 16.9%
Total 1,297,056 100.0% 8,531 100.0% 308 100.0%
Historical population
1910 710,943
1939 844,732
1950 1,038,930
1961 1,089,983
1970 1,181,309
1987 1,202,711
2002 1,344,300
2004 1,344,629
2005 1,341,481
2006 1,337,876
2008 1,331,500
2009 1,323,273
2010 1,318,695
2011 1,315,882
2013 1,297,056

Main sights

Next to the former episcopal residence cities of Würzburg (with Veitshöchheim) and Aschaffenburg, the towns of Miltenberg, Amorbach and Werneck, the scenic attractions of the River Main including the Mainschleife at Volkach and the low mountain ranges of the Rhön with the spa town Bad Kissingen and of the Spessart with Mespelbrunn Castle belong to the major tourist attractions.

Notable people from Lower Franconia

Institutes of higher education

See also


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