RHONGEBIRGE, or DIE Riiw, a mountain-chain of central Germany, running in a north-westerly direction from the Bavarian province of Lower Franconia to the Prussian province of Hesse-Nassau and the grand duchy of Saxe-Weimar, and divided by the Werra from the Thuringian Forest on the N. The other sides are bounded by the Fulda on the W. and the Sinn and Frankish Saab on the E. and S. Its length is 50 m., breadth 5-7 m., and its mean elevation 190o ft. This district is divided into three groups - the southern, the high (Hobe) and the nearer (Vordere) Rhdn. Of these the southern, a continuation of the Spessart, largely consists of flat conical masses and reaches its highest point in the Heiliger Kreuzberg (2900 ft.). The Hohe Rhon, beginning immediately to the north-west of the latter mountain, is a high plateau of red sandstone, covered with fens and basalt peaks. It is a wild, dreary, inclement tract of country, covered with snow for six months in the year and visited by frequent fogs and storms. It is said of it that whoever desires to experience a northern winter can spare himself a journey to the North Cape or Siberia, and find it his native Rhon. There is little vegetation, and the inhabitants eke out a scanty sustenance from the cultivation of potatoes and flax. The highest inhabited place is Frankenhausen, lying at a height of 2350 ft. with 6383 inhabitants (1900). The nearer (Vordere) Rhdn, forming the northern side of the range, is more attractive, with forests and deep and fertile valleys.
See Lenk, Zur geologischen Kenntnis der siidlichen Rhon (Wiirzburg, 1887); Scheidtweiler, Die Rhon and ihre wirthschaftlichen Verhaltnisse (Frankfort, 1887); and Daniel, Deutschland (5th ed., Leipzig, 1878).
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