Petersgrat bei Hof Bayern.jpg
The Saale valley near Hof
Country Germany
StatesBavaria, Thuringia, Saxony-Anhalt
Reference no.DE: 56
Physical characteristics
 - locationnear Zell im Fichtelgebirge
 - coordinates50°07′14″N 11°49′50″E / 50°07′14″N 11°49′50″E / 50.12056; 11.83056
 - location
near Barby into the Elbe
 - coordinates
51°57′17″N 11°54′50″E / 51°57′17″N 11°54′50″E / 51.95472; 11.91389
 - elevation
49.5 m above sea level (NN)
Length413 km (257 mi)[1]
Basin size24,167 km2 (9,331 sq mi)[1]
 - average115 m3/s (4,100 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionElbeNorth Sea
 - leftIlm, Unstrut, Bode
 - rightWhite Elster
BridgesSaale bridge, Rudolphstein,
Old Saale bridge, Jena-Burgau
Inland portsHafen Halle (Saale), Sophienhafen in Halle (Saale)
NavigableFrom its mouth to Bad Dürrenberg; for Europa ships to Halle-Trotha[2]

The Saale (German pronunciation: [ˈzaːlə]), also known as the Saxon Saale (German: Sächsische Saale) and Thuringian Saale (German: Thüringische 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.


Saale in Bad Kösen

The Saale originates on the slope of the Großer Waldstein mountain near Zell in the Fichtelgebirge in Upper Franconia (Bavaria), at an elevation of 728 metres (2,388 ft). It pursues a winding course in a northern direction, and after passing the manufacturing town of Hof, enters Thuringia. It flows amid well-wooded low mountains of the Thuringian Forest until it reaches the valley of Saalfeld. After leaving Saalfeld the Saale reaches Rudolstadt. Here it receives the waters of the Schwarza, in whose valley lies the ruined castle of Schwarzburg, the ancestral seat of the formerly ruling House of Schwarzburg.

From Saalfeld the Saale enters the limestone hill region north of the Thuringian Forest, and sweeps beneath the barren, conical hills enclosing the university town of Jena. It enters Saxony-Anhalt and passes the spa of Bad Kösen, washes numerous vine-clad hills and, after receiving the deep and navigable Unstrut at Naumburg, flows past Weißenfels, Merseburg, Halle, Bernburg and Calbe. It finally joins the Elbe just above Barby, after traversing a distance of 413 kilometres (257 mi)[1]—shortened 14 kilometres (9 mi) by a bypass from its natural length of 427 kilometres (265 mi).

The Saale is navigable from Naumburg and is also planned connected from Leuna with the White Elster near Leipzig by an unfinished canal. The soil of the lower part of its valley is exceptionally fertile, and produces, amongst other crops, large supplies of sugar beet. Among its tributaries are the White Elster, Regnitz and Orla on the right bank, and the Ilm, Unstrut, Salza, Wipper and Bode on the left. Its upper course is rapid. Its valley, down to Merseburg, contains many castles which crown the enclosing heights.

Other Languages
Afrikaans: Saale
العربية: زاله
aragonés: Río Saale
تۆرکجه: زاله چایی
беларуская: Заале
беларуская (тарашкевіца)‎: Заале
български: Зале
brezhoneg: Saale
català: Saale
Чӑвашла: Зале
čeština: Sála
dansk: Saale
Deutsch: Saale
dolnoserbski: Solawa
eesti: Saale
español: Saale
Esperanto: Saale
euskara: Saale
فارسی: زاله (رود)
français: Saale
Gaeilge: An tSaale
한국어: 잘레강
հայերեն: Զալե (գետ)
hornjoserbsce: Solawa
italiano: Saale
latviešu: Zāle (upe)
lietuvių: Zalė
македонски: Зале
Nederlands: Saale (rivier)
日本語: ザーレ川
norsk: Saale
norsk nynorsk: Saale
polski: Soława
português: Rio Saale
română: Saale
русский: Зале
Scots: Saale
shqip: Lumi Saale
Simple English: Saale
slovenčina: Sála (rieka)
српски / srpski: Зале
srpskohrvatski / српскохрватски: Zale
suomi: Saale
svenska: Saale
українська: Заале
Tiếng Việt: Sông Saale