Infobox River
river_name = Unstrut

caption = Bridge over the Unstrut.
origin = Thuringia
mouth = Saale
basin_countries = Germany
length = km to mi|192 |wiki=no
tributaries =Helme, Gera,Wipper,Lossa
elevation =
discharge =
watershed =
The Unstrut is a river in Germany, left tributary of the Saale. It originates in northern Thuringia near Dingelstädt (west of Kefferhausen in the Eichsfeld area). In its lower reaches, it flows through Saxony-Anhalt and empties into the Saale near Naumburg. The total length of the Unstrut is km to mi|192|wiki=yes|abbr=no. Towns along the Unstrut include Mühlhausen, Sömmerda, Bad Frankenhausen, Artern, Roßleben, and Freyburg. Tributaries of the Unstrut are the Gera, Wipper, Helme, and Lossa.

Together with the Saale, the Unstrut forms the winegrowing district of Saale-Unstrut. The well-known brand of sparkling wine, "Rotkäppchen" ("Little Red Riding Hood") is produced in the cellars of Freyburg.


Strödu in Old High German means a boggy thicket, un- is a prefix to intensify the meaning, so the Unstrut region was a very swampy area.In 575 the river was called Onestrudis, in the 7th century Unestrude, in 994 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 Heinrich 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 so called Pfalz, "palatium" or "villa regia" was built. He died there in 936, and 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. Remains are still to be seen; the exact location of the "palatium" is not known any more.

Due to its swampy character, the Unstrut was not navigable for ships for a long time. Finally, in the years 1790-1794, 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 railroad, the Unstrutbahn, alongside the river was built, the significance of the river route was much reduced. The Unstrut region is, with an are of 300 ha, one of the smallest wine growing districts, but quite well-known.


*Historical city Mühlhausen
*castle ruin Wendelstein
*cloister ruin Memleben
*castle Neuenburg at Freyburg

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