The Selbitz is a left-bank tributary of the river Saale in the eastern Franconian Forest and is a watercourse of tertiary importance. Its source lies about 650 metres above sea level from a pond northwest of the Helmbrechts quarter of Wüstenselbitz, flows around Helmbrechts at first in an easterly direction and then towards the north. As it continues it runs through the towns of Schauenstein, Selbitz and Naila, before flowing through the Höllental between Hölle and Blechschmidtenhammer cutting a channel into the dolorite rock up to 170 m deep.
In the village of Hölle, a district of Naila on the left bank of the Selbitz, a 262 metre-deep mineral spring, the Höllensprudel, has been bored. From the mouth of the Thuringian Muschwitz at the exit of the Hölle Valley and at its own confluence with the Saale near Blankenstein the Selbitz forms the border between Bavaria and Thuringia for about 2 kilometres. During the Cold War division of Germany , the Selbitz was part of the inner German border, with fences and guard towers on the Thuringian side in the German Democratic Republic to prevent east-west traffic.
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