NECKAR, a river of Germany, and a right-bank tributary of the Rhine, rises between the Black Forest and the Swabian Alb, near Schwenningen, in Wurttemberg, at an altitude of 2287 ft. As far as Rottweil only a mountain stream, it here attains the volume of a river, flows N. as far as Horb, thence in a north-easterly direction, and with rapid current it passes Rottenburg and the university town of Tubingen, taking then a generally northerly course. From Esslingen the Neckar becomes broader and deeper and its valley very picturesque, and after passing Cannstatt, from which point it is navigable for small craft, it flows through vine-clad hills by the pleasant village of Marbach, Schiller's birthplace, receives at Besigheim the waters of its most considerable tributary, the Enz, swirls down by Lauffen, and enters the beautiful vale of Heilbronn. Hence, between hills crowned by frequent feudal castles, it runs by Wimpfen and by Hornberg, where Gdtz von Berlichingen lived, to Eberbach, where it enters the sandstone formation of the Odenwald. It now takes a tortuous westerly course, and the scenery on its banks becomes more romantic. Winding down by Neckarsteinach and Neckargemund between lofty wooded heights, it sweeps beneath the Kanigsstuhl (1900 ft.), washes the walls of Heidelberg, and now quitting the valley enters the plain of the Rhine and falls into that river from the right at Mannheim. Its length is 247 m., and its drainage area 479 0 sq. m. Its more important tributaries are the Enz, Eschach and Glatt (left), and the Fils, Rems, Kocher and Jagst (right). It is navigable for small steamboats up to Heilbronn, for boats up to Cannstatt, and for rafts from Rottweil. It is the principal waterway of Wurttemberg, and is greatly used for floating down timber. From Rottenburg downwards its banks are almost everywhere planted with vineyards. Up to Frankfort it has been deepened and the channel otherwise improved. A committee, chiefly promoted by the Wurttemberg government and the Stuttgart chamber of commerce, reported in 1901 that it was both desirable and practicable to dredge the river and to canalize it, from Esslingen down to Mannheim, and that the cost would probably be between 2 and 22 millions sterling.
See T. Eckart, Bilder aus dem Neckartal (1893).
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