The Main is a river in Germany, with a length of 527 km (327 mi) (including the White Main: 574 km (357 mi)) the most significant right tributary of the Rhine.
The Main flows through the German states of Bavaria, Baden-Württemberg (forming the border with Bavaria for some distance) and Hesse. Its basin competes with the Danube for water; as a result, many of its boundaries are identical with those of the European Watershed.
The Main begins near Kulmbach in Franconia at the joining of its two headstreams, the Red Main (Roter Main) and the White Main (Weißer Main). The Red Main rises in the Franconian Jura mountain range, 50 km (31 mi) in length, and runs through Creussen and Bayreuth. The White Main rises in the mountains of the Fichtelgebirge; it is 41 km (25 mi) long. In its upper and middle section it runs in valleys of the German Highlands. In its lower section it crosses the Lower Main Lowlands (Hanau-Seligenstadt Basin and northern Upper Rhine Plain) to Wiesbaden, where it discharges into the Rhine River. Major tributaries of the Main are the Regnitz, the Franconian Saale, the Tauber, and the Nidda.
The name derives from the Latin Moenus or Menus, and is not related to the name of the city Mainz (Latin: Moguntiacum).
The Main is navigable for shipping from its mouth at the Rhine close to Mainz for 396 km to Bamberg. Since 1992, the Main has been connected to the Danube via the Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the highly regulated Altmühl river. The river has been canalized with 34 large locks (300 m × 12 m (980 ft × 39 ft)) to allow CEMT class V (110 m × 11.45 m (360 ft × 37.6 ft)) vessels to navigate the total length of the river. The 16 locks in the adjacent Rhine-Main-Danube Canal and the Danube itself are of the same dimensions.
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