SAALE, a river of Germany, a tributary of the Elbe, rises between Bayreuth and Hof in the N.E. of Bavaria, springing out of the Fichtelgebirge at an altitude of 2390 ft. It pursues a winding course in a northerly direction, and after passing the manufacturing town of Hof, flows amid well-wooded hills until it reaches the pleasant vale of Saalberg. Here it receives the waters of the Schwarza, in whose romantic valley lies the castle of Schwarzburg, the ancestral scat of the princes of the ruling house of Schwarzburg-Rudolstadt. From Saalberg the Saale enters the dreary limestone formation of Thuringia, sweeps beneath the barren, conical hills lying opposite to the university town of Jena, passes the pleasant watering-place of Rosen, washes numerous vine-clad hills and, after receiving at Naumburg the deep and navigable Unstrut, flows past Weissenfels, Merseburg, Halle, Bernburg and Kalbe, and joins the Elbe just above Barby, after traversing a distance of 226 m. It is navigable from Naumburg, 100 m., with the help of sluices, and is connected with the Elster near Leipzig by a canal. The soil of the lower part of its valley is of exceptional fertility, and produces, amongst other crops, large supplies of sugar beetroot. Among its affluents are the 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, is picturesque, and even romantic, because of the many castles which crown the enclosing heights. It is sometimes called the Thuringian or Saxon Saale, to distinguish it from another Saale (70 m. long), a right-bank tributary of the Main, in the Bavarian district of Lower Franconia.
See Hertzberg, Die historische Bedeutung des Saaletals (Halle, 1895).
Note - this article incorporates content from Encyclopaedia Britannica, Eleventh Edition, (1910-1911)