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Unstrut River
Unstrut Bruecke Weischuetz.jpg
Bridge over the Unstrut
Country Germany
Physical characteristics
Main source Thuringia
River mouth Saale
51°10′33″N11°48′7″E / 51.17583°N 11.80194°E / 51.17583; 11.80194 Coordinates: 51°10′33″N11°48′7″E / 51.17583°N 11.80194°E / 51.17583; 11.80194
Length 192 kilometres (119 mi)
Basin features
Progression SaaleElbeNorth Sea
Tributaries Helme, Gera, Wipper, Lossa

The Unstrut is a river in eastern Germany and a left tributary of the Saale.

River Natural flowing watercourse

A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of water. Small rivers can be referred to using names such as stream, creek, brook, rivulet, and rill. There are no official definitions for the generic term river as applied to geographic features, although in some countries or communities a stream is defined by its size. Many names for small rivers are specific to geographic location; examples are "run" in some parts of the United States, "burn" in Scotland and northeast England, and "beck" in northern England. Sometimes a river is defined as being larger than a creek, but not always: the language is vague.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Saale river in Germany

The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale and Thuringian Saale, is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.


The Unstrut originates in northern Thuringia near Dingelstädt (west of Kefferhausen in the Eichsfeld area) and its catchment area is the whole of the Thuringian Basin. It breaks out of the basin through the Thuringian Gate west of Heldrungen and, in its lower reaches, flows through Saxony-Anhalt before emptying into the Saale near Naumburg. The total length of the Unstrut is 192 kilometres (119 mi). Towns along the Unstrut include Mühlhausen, Sömmerda, Bad Frankenhausen, Artern, Roßleben, and Freyburg. The main tributaries of the Unstrut are the Gera, Wipper, Helme, and Lossa.

Thuringia State in Germany

Thuringia, officially the Free State of Thuringia, is a state of Germany.

Dingelstädt Place in Thuringia, Germany

Dingelstädt is a town in the district of Eichsfeld in Thuringia, Germany. It is situated on the upper course of the river Unstrut, 8 km (5 mi) south of Leinefelde-Worbis and 15 km (9 mi) northwest of Mühlhausen. The former municipalities Helmsdorf, Kefferhausen, Kreuzebra and Silberhausen were merged into Dingelstädt in January 2019.

Kefferhausen Ortsteil of Dingelstädt in Thuringia, Germany

Kefferhausen is a village and a former municipality in the district of Eichsfeld in Thuringia, Germany. Since 1 January 2019, it is part of the town Dingelstädt.

The countryside around the Saale and Unstrut rivers forms the wine-growing region of Saale-Unstrut. The well-known brand of sparkling wine, Rotkäppchen ("Little Red Riding Hood") is produced in the cellars of Freyburg.

Saale-Unstrut wine-producing region

Saale-Unstrut is a region (Anbaugebiet) for quality wine in Germany, and takes its name from the rivers Saale and Unstrut. The region is located on various hill slopes around these rivers. Most of the region's 685 hectares under vine in 2008 is situated in the federal state of Saxony-Anhalt, with around 20 hectares in the state of Thuringia.

"Little Red Riding Hood" is a European fairy tale about a young girl and a Big Bad Wolf. Its origins can be traced back to the 10th century by several European folk tales, including one from Italy called The False Grandmother, later written among others by Italo Calvino in the Italian Folktales collection; the best known versions were written by Charles Perrault and the Brothers Grimm. The story has been changed considerably in various retellings and subjected to numerous modern adaptations and readings. Other names for the story are: "Little Red Ridinghood", "Little Red Cap" or simply "Red Riding Hood". It is number 333 in the Aarne–Thompson classification system for folktales.


Old High German Strödu means 'boggy thicket' and un- is a prefix to intensify the meaning, and so the Unstrut region was a very swampy area. In 575, the river was attested as the Onestrudis, in the 7th century it was referred to as the Unestrude, and in 994 as the Vnstruod.


In 531, according to the Decem Libri of Gregory of Tours, the decisive battle between the Franconians and Thuringians took place along the Unstrut, which resulted in the destruction and annexation of the early medieval Thuringian kingdom by the Frankish empire. In 933 the German king Henry I fought, after a ten-year truce, against a Hungarian army in the Battle of Riade, a place near the Unstrut, but which is now unknown. His victory led to a period of peace, until the Hungarians returned in 955 and were defeated again. One of his favourite places was Memleben on the Unstrut, where a royal residence, a so-called Pfalz, palatium or villa regia, was built. He died there in 936, as did his son, Otto I, in 973. A monastery was built there in the next years, becoming one of the most important in the German realm for a short time. Its ruins may still be seen; the exact location of the palatium is not known any more.

Gregory of Tours Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours

Gregory of Tours was a Gallo-Roman historian and Bishop of Tours, which made him a leading prelate of the area that had been previously referred to as Gaul by the Romans. He was born Georgius Florentius and later added the name Gregorius in honour of his maternal great-grandfather. He is the primary contemporary source for Merovingian history. His most notable work was his Decem Libri Historiarum, better known as the Historia Francorum, a title that later chroniclers gave to it, but he is also known for his accounts of the miracles of saints, especially four books of the miracles of Martin of Tours. St. Martin's tomb was a major pilgrimage destination in the 6th century, and St. Gregory's writings had the practical effect of promoting this highly organized devotion.

Franks people

The Franks were a collection of Germanic peoples, whose name was first mentioned in 3rd century Roman sources, associated with tribes on the Lower and Middle Rhine, on the edge of the Roman Empire. Later the term was associated with Romanized Germanic dynasties within the collapsing Roman Empire, who eventually commanded the whole region between the rivers Loire and Rhine. They then imposed power over many other post-Roman kingdoms and Germanic peoples, and still later they were given recognition by the Catholic Church as successors to the old rulers of the Western Roman Empire.

The Thuringii, or Toringi, were a Germanic tribe that appeared during the late Migration Period in the Harz Mountains of central Germania, a region still known today as Thuringia. It became a kingdom, which came into conflict with the Merovingian Franks, and it later came under their influence and Frankish control. The name is still used for one of modern Germany's federal states (Bundesländer).

Due to its marshy character, the Unstrut was not navigable for ships for a long time. Finally, in the years 1790–94, the river was made navigable on the orders of the Elector of Saxony. It became an important shipping lane for a century; in particular, sandstone and limestone were shipped. From 1889, when the Unstrut Railway (Unstrutbahn), was built alongside the river, the significance of the waterway as a transport route was much reduced. Although the Unstrut wine-growing region, with an area of 300 hectares (740 acres), is one of the smallest, it is quite well known.


Mühlhausen Place in Thuringia, Germany

Mühlhausen is a city in the north-west of Thuringia, Germany, 5 km north of Niederdorla, the country's geographical centre, 50 km north-west of Erfurt, 65 km east of Kassel and 50 km south-east of Göttingen.

Memleben Abbey human settlement in Germany

Memleben Abbey was a Benedictine monastery in Memleben on the Unstrut river, today part of the Kaiserpfalz municipality in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The convent, now ruined, was established by Emperor Otto II and his consort Theophanu about 979.

Neuenburg Castle (Freyburg) château

Neuenburg Castle is a hilltop castle overlooking Freyburg, a town in the state of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.

See also

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