Hinterer und Mittlerer Lech in der Augsburger Altstadt ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg

Lech canals

Since the Middle Ages the canals have supplied process water and energy. They were mentioned for the first time in 1276. They were indispensable for supplying water to the many craftsmen´s businesses, which powered their machines with water wheels, and later for factories and for generating electricity.

Building history and description
  • historic canal system, mostly fed from Lechanstich at the Hochablass (High drain), except the Vorderer Lech, which gets its water from the Lochbach, which is already discharged at the Lechstaustufe 22
  • in the area of the old town consists of four canals
  • Augsburg, city center, Ulrichsviertel and Lechviertel
  • below the characteristic gravel road, north-south orientation (between the Red Gate plant in the south and the water tower on the Mauerberg in the north)
  • Establishment from the early Middle Ages (7th-8th century AD), in the city law book of 1276 for the first time written and specifically documented, expansion until 1907, re-discovery of the old town canals in the course of measures of urban development about 1970-1980
  • permanent removal and conversion, over-shaping and renovation
  • The Lech canals include Vorderer Lech, Schwallech , Mittlerer Lech, Hinterer Lech, Stadtgraben, Inner Stadtgraben, Stadtbach and Brunnenmeisterbach
  • other watercourses only part of the nomination area, entire system of all 29 Lech canals with a total length of 77 km runs with a gradient of 29 meters through the entire urban area
  • Lechanstich at the Hochablass (High drain) and the "Lochbachanstich" (Lechstaustufe 22) as the origin of the canal system
Hinterer Lech ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Eastern Lech (canal)
Zusammenfluss von Mittlerem und Hinterem Lech ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Confluence of Eastern and Middle Lech
Schwallech ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Eastern Lech (canal) at Café Rufus
Hinterer Lech ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
Eastern Lech (canal)
Schwallech bei St. Ursula ©Martin Augsburger/Stadt Augsburg
At St. Ursula the Schwallech (canal) separates into Eastern and Middle Lech
Use and purpose
  • former work canals of the city of Augsburg, use of the driving water until the 20th century by means of water wheels, annual stream return (water drainage and cleaning)
  • Use: Power transmission for various machines of different industries (mills, processing of wood, metal, textiles, use in dye works, tanneries or in papermaking, water collection in water towers or sanitation)
  • over centuries grown, sophisticated system of water supply and use , characterized by constant change, expansion, renovations, etc.
  • some canals (eg Stadtbach) also nature-rich natural areas
  • Lech canals of the old town as a central characteristic in the history and development of the city of Augsburg
    • Canals were used for defense (moat)
    • Canals led through the Lechviertel and allowed intensive use by mill wheels, thereby flourishing trade and commerce and economic growth of the city
    • Canals used for sewage or waste disposal
    • Lech canal led under the built up to 1609 by Elias Holl Stadtmetzg (official object), was used as cooling and waste disposal
  • In terms of content, it was closely linked to Stadtmetzg, Lech canals raised drinking water in the three waterworks in the old town and also supplied the three monumental Fountains 
Authenticity and unique features
  • largely original condition, under ensemble protection (according to Bavarian monument protection law), but often overbuilt and rebuilt
  • only partially accessible, ongoing inspections and investigations of the historical substance and its condition by the Bavarian State Office for Historic Preservation
  • ongoing maintenance and cleaning by the civil engineering department of the city of Augsburg, system falls under the Water Resources Act and Bavarian Water Act
  • central element of the Augsburg water industry
  • continuous development as a supplier of water and hydropower
  • high importance for medieval and early modern economy and prosperity of the city