The Main River is the most significant tributary of "Father Rhine". It is formed by the two source rivers, the Red Main and the White Main, near Kulmbach.
The source of the White Main is in the Fichtelgebirge (Fichtel Mountains) at a height of around 884 meters (2,900 feet). The hard granites make the water very pure and give it a clear white colour. The water quality is exceptional and is also the reason for the good reputation of the "Kulmbacher Beer". The Red Main rises on the slopes of the Franconian Jura at a lower height of around 578 meters (1,900 feet). The river owns its name to the reddish brown clays of its river bed. It flows through Bayreuth before it meets the White Main.
The Main flows westwards and meets the Rhine at Mainz after a distance of 524 kilometers (326 miles). More often on its course it changes direction dramatically. The Cimbri, a tribe from Nothern Europe, gave the river the name "Moine" what means translated "curved snack" and from wich the present name derives. As the crow flies it is just a distance of 241 kilometers (150 miles) from the source of the Main to its confluence with the Rhine.
Throughout the year the Main has a very gentle flow and the speed of the current is less than one mile per hour unless in times of high water the current may rise to 3 or even 4 miles per hour.
Already from Roman times but especially in the Middle Ages the Main was considered as one of the most important trading routes, linking "Father Rhine" and "Mother Danube".