Danube

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Danube
Neue Donau mit der Fussgangerbrucke Ponte Cagrana in Wien.jpg
The Danube in Vienna
Danubemap.png
Course of the Danube, marked in red
Location
Country Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Ukraine
Cities Ulm, Ingolstadt, Regensburg, Linz, Vienna, Bratislava, Győr, Budapest, Dunaújváros, Vukovar, Novi Sad, Zemun, Belgrade, Pančevo, Smederevo, Drobeta Turnu-Severin, Galați
Physical characteristics
Source Breg
 - location Martinskapelle, Black Forest, Germany
 - coordinates 48°05′44″N08°09′18″E / 48.09556°N 8.15500°E / 48.09556; 8.15500
 - elevation1,078 m (3,537 ft)
2nd source Brigach
 - location St. Georgen, Black Forest, Germany
 - coordinates 48°06′24″N08°16′51″E / 48.10667°N 8.28083°E / 48.10667; 8.28083
 - elevation940 m (3,080 ft)
Source confluence 
 - location Donaueschingen
 - coordinates 47°57′03″N08°31′13″E / 47.95083°N 8.52028°E / 47.95083; 8.52028
Mouth Danube Delta
 - location
Romania
 - coordinates
45°13′3″N29°45′41″E / 45.21750°N 29.76139°E / 45.21750; 29.76139 Coordinates: 45°13′3″N29°45′41″E / 45.21750°N 29.76139°E / 45.21750; 29.76139
Length2,850 [1]  km (1,770 mi)
Basin size801,463 km2 (309,447 sq mi)
Discharge 
 - locationbefore delta
 - average7,000 m3/s (250,000 cu ft/s)
Discharge 
 - location Passau
30km before town
 - average580 m3/s (20,000 cu ft/s)
Discharge 
 - location Vienna
 - average1,900 m3/s (67,000 cu ft/s)
Discharge 
 - location Budapest
 - average2,350 m3/s (83,000 cu ft/s)
Discharge 
 - location Belgrade
 - average4,000 m3/s (140,000 cu ft/s)

The Danube ( /ˈdæn.jb/ DAN-yoob; known by various names in other languages ) is Europe's second longest river, after the Volga. It is located in Central and Eastern Europe.

Volga River river in Russia, the longest river in Europe

The Volga is the longest river in Europe with a catchment area of 1,350,000 square kilometres. It is also Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and drainage basin. The river flows through central Russia and into the Caspian Sea, and is widely regarded as the national river of Russia.

Central and Eastern Europe Geographic region in Europe

Central and Eastern Europe, abbreviated CEE, is a term encompassing the countries in Central Europe, the Baltics, Eastern Europe, and Southeastern Europe (Balkans), usually meaning former communist states from the Eastern Bloc in Europe. Scholarly literature often uses the abbreviations CEE or CEEC for this term. The Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development also uses the term "Central and Eastern European Countries (CEECs)" for a group comprising some of these countries.

Contents

The Danube was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, and today flows through 10 countries, more than any other river in the world. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for 2,850 km (1,770 mi), passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova and Ukraine before draining into the Black Sea. Its drainage basin extends into nine more countries.

Roman Empire Period of Imperial Rome following the Roman Republic (27 BC–476 AD)

The Roman Empire was the post-Roman Republic period of the ancient Roman civilization. Ruled by emperors, it had large territorial holdings around the Mediterranean Sea in Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, and the Caucasus. From the constitutional reforms of Augustus to the military anarchy of the third century, the Empire was a principate ruled from Italy, homeland of the Romans and metropole of the empire, with the city of Rome as capital. The Roman Empire was then ruled by multiple emperors and divided in a Western Roman Empire, based in Milan and later Ravenna, and an Eastern Roman Empire, based in Nicomedia and later Constantinople. Rome remained the nominal capital of both parts until 476 AD, when Odoacer deposed Romulus Augustus after capturing Ravenna and the Senate of Rome sent the imperial regalia to Constantinople. The fall of the Western Roman Empire to barbarian kings, along with the hellenization of the Eastern Roman Empire into the Byzantine Empire, is conventionally used to mark the end of Ancient Rome and the beginning of the Middle Ages.

Germany Federal parliamentary republic in central-western Europe

Germany, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central and Western Europe, lying between the Baltic and North Seas to the north, and the Alps, Lake Constance and the High Rhine to the south. It borders Denmark to the north, Poland and the Czech Republic to the east, Austria and Switzerland to the south, France to the southwest, and Luxembourg, Belgium and the Netherlands to the west.

Austria Federal republic in Central Europe

Austria, officially the Republic of Austria, is a country in Central Europe comprising 9 federated states. Its capital, largest city and one of nine states is Vienna. Austria has an area of 83,879 km2 (32,386 sq mi), a population of nearly 9 million people and a nominal GDP of $477 billion. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Hungary and Slovakia to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the west. The terrain is highly mountainous, lying within the Alps; only 32% of the country is below 500 m (1,640 ft), and its highest point is 3,798 m (12,461 ft). The majority of the population speaks local Bavarian dialects as their native language, and German in its standard form is the country's official language. Other regional languages are Hungarian, Burgenland Croatian, and Slovene.

The Danube river basin is home to fish species such as pike, zander, huchen, Wels catfish, burbot and tench. It is also home to a large diversity of carp and sturgeon, as well as salmon and trout. A few species of euryhaline fish, such as European seabass, mullet, and eel, inhabit the Danube Delta and the lower portion of the river.

Northern pike species of fish

The northern pike, known simply as a pike in Britain, Ireland, most of Canada, and most parts of the United States, is a species of carnivorous fish of the genus Esox. They are typical of brackish and fresh waters of the Northern Hemisphere.

Zander species of fish

The zander is a species of fish from freshwater and brackish habitats in western Eurasia. It is a popular game fish and has been introduced to a variety of localities outside its native range.

Huchen species of fish

The huchen or Danube salmon is a large species of freshwater fish in the salmon family of order Salmoniformes. It is the type species of its genus.

Since ancient times, the Danube has become a traditional trade route in Europe, nowadays 2,415 km (1,501 mi) of its total length being navigable. The river is also an important source of energy and drinking water.

Names and etymology

Danube is an Old European river name derived from a Proto-Indo-European *dānu. Other river names from the same root include the Dunaj, Dzvina/Daugava, Don, Donets, Dnieper, Dniestr, Dysna, Tana/Deatnu and Tuoni. In Rigvedic Sanskrit, dānu means "fluid, drop", and in Avestan, the same word means "river". In the Rigveda, Dānu once appears as the mother of Vrtra, "a dragon blocking the course of the rivers". The Finnish word for Danube is Tonava, which is most likely derived from the word for the river in Swedish and German, Donau. Its Sámi name Deatnu means "Great River". It is possible that dānu in Scythian as in Avestan was a generic word for "river": Dnieper and Dniestr, from Danapris and Danastius, are presumed to continue Scythian *dānu apara "far river" and *dānu nazdya- "near river", respectively. [2]

Old European hydronymy

Old European is the term used by Hans Krahe (1964) for the language of the oldest reconstructed stratum of European hydronymy in Central and Western Europe.

Proto-Indo-European language proto-language (last common ancestor) of the Indo-European language family

Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the linguistic reconstruction of the ancient common ancestor of the Indo-European languages, the most widely spoken language family in the world.

Daugava river in Europe

The Daugava or russian name Западная Двина is a river rising in the Valdai Hills, flowing through Russia, Belarus, and Latvia and into the Gulf of Riga. The total length of the river is 1,020 km (630 mi); 325 km (202 mi) are in Russia.

The river was known to the ancient Greeks as the Istros (Ἴστρος) [3] a borrowing from a Daco-Thracian name meaning "strong, swift", from a root possibly also encountered in the ancient name of the Dniester (Danaster in Latin, Tiras in Greek) and akin to Iranic turos “swift” and Sanskrit iṣiras "swift", from the PIE *isro-, *sreu “to flow”. [4] In the Middle Ages, the Greek Tiras was borrowed into Italian as Tyrlo and into Turkic languages as Tyrla, the latter further borrowed into Romanian as a regionalism (Turlă). [5]

Ancient Greece Civilization belonging to an early period of Greek history

Ancient Greece was a civilization belonging to a period of Greek history from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of antiquity. Immediately following this period was the beginning of the Early Middle Ages and the Byzantine era. Roughly three centuries after the Late Bronze Age collapse of Mycenaean Greece, Greek urban poleis began to form in the 8th century BC, ushering in the Archaic period and colonization of the Mediterranean Basin. This was followed by the period of Classical Greece, an era that began with the Greco-Persian Wars, lasting from the 5th to 4th centuries BC. Due to the conquests by Alexander the Great of Macedon, Hellenistic civilization flourished from Central Asia to the western end of the Mediterranean Sea. The Hellenistic period came to an end with the conquests and annexations of the eastern Mediterranean world by the Roman Republic, which established the Roman province of Macedonia in Roman Greece, and later the province of Achaea during the Roman Empire.

Sanskrit language of ancient India

Sanskrit is a language of ancient India with a 3,500 year history. It is the primary liturgical language of Hinduism and the predominant language of most works of Hindu philosophy as well as some of the principal texts of Buddhism and Jainism. Sanskrit, in its variants and numerous dialects, was the lingua franca of ancient and medieval India. In the early 1st millennium CE, along with Buddhism and Hinduism, Sanskrit migrated to Southeast Asia, parts of East Asia and Central Asia, emerging as a language of high culture and of local ruling elites in these regions.

Italian language Romance language

Italian is a Romance language of the Indo-European language family. Italian, together with Sardinian, is by most measures the closest language to Vulgar Latin of the Romance languages. Italian is an official language in Italy, Switzerland, San Marino and Vatican City. It has an official minority status in western Istria. It formerly had official status in Albania, Malta, Monaco, Montenegro (Kotor) and Greece, and is generally understood in Corsica and Savoie. It also used to be an official language in the former Italian East Africa and Italian North Africa, where it plays a significant role in various sectors. Italian is also spoken by large expatriate communities in the Americas and Australia. Many speakers of Italian are native bilinguals of both Italian and other regional languages.

The Thraco-Phrygian name was Matoas, [6] "the bringer of luck". [7]

Phrygian language dialect of Indo-European language spoken by the Phrygians

The Phrygian language was the Indo-European language of the Phrygians, spoken in Asia Minor during Classical Antiquity.

In Latin, the Danube was variously known as Danubius, Danuvius or as Ister. [8] The Latin name is masculine, as are all its Slavic names, except Slovenian (the name of the Rhine is also masculine in Latin, most of the Slavic languages, as well as in German). The German Donau (Early Modern German Donaw, Tonaw, [9] Middle High German Tuonowe) [10] is feminine, as it has been re-interpreted as containing the suffix -ouwe "wetland".

Romanian differs from other surrounding languages in designating the river with a feminine term, Dunărea. [11] This form was not inherited from Latin, although Romanian is a Romance language. [12] To explain the loss of the Latin name, scholars who suppose that Romanian developed near the large river propose [12] that the Romanian name descends from a hypotetical Thracian *Donaris that shares the same PIE root with the Iranic don-/dan-, with the suffix -aris also encountered in the ancient name of the Ialomița River, Naparis, and in the unidentified Miliare river mentioned by Jordanes in his Getica. [13] Gábor Vékony says that this hypothesis is not plausible, because the Greeks borrowed the Istros form from the native Thracians. [12] He proposes that the Romanian name is loanword from a Turkic language. [12]

The modern languages spoken in the Danube basin all use names related to Dānuvius: German : Donau (IPA: [ˈdoːnaʊ] ); Austro-Bavarian : Doana; Silesian : Důnaj; Upper Sorbian : Dunaj; Czech : Dunaj (IPA:  [ˈdunaj] ); Slovak : Dunaj (IPA:  [ˈdunaj] ); Polish : Dunaj (IPA:  [ˈdunaj] ); Hungarian : Duna (IPA:  [ˈdunɒ] ); Slovene : Donava (IPA:  [ˈdóːnaʋa] ); Serbo-Croatian : Dunav / Дунав (IPA:  [dǔnaʋ] or [dǔnaːʋ] ); Romanian : Dunărea (IPA:  [ˈdunəre̯a] ); Bulgarian : Дунав, romanized: Dunav (IPA:  [ˈdunɐf] ); Ukrainian : Дунай, romanized: Dunai (IPA:  [duˈnɑj] ); Portuguese : Danúbio (IPA:  [dɐˈnubju] ); French : Danube (IPA:  [danyb] ); Greek : Δούναβης (IPA:  [ˈðunavis] ); Italian : Danubio (IPA:  [daˈnuːbjo] ); Spanish : Danubio (IPA:  [daˈnuβjo] ); Romansh : Danubi; Albanian : Tunë, definite Albanian form : Tuna. [14]

Geography

The Danube basin Danube basin.png
The Danube basin

Classified as an international waterway, it originates in the town of Donaueschingen, in the Black Forest of Germany, at the confluence of the rivers Brigach and Breg. The Danube then flows southeast for about 2,730 km (1,700 mi), passing through four capital cities (Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, and Belgrade) before emptying into the Black Sea via the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine.

Once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire, the river passes through or touches the borders of 10 countries: Romania (29.0% of basin area), Hungary (11.6%), Serbia (10.2%), Austria (10.0%), Germany (7.0%), Bulgaria (5.9%), Slovakia (5.9%), Croatia (4.4%), Ukraine (3.8%), and Moldova (1.6%). [15] Its drainage basin extends into nine more (ten if Kosovo is included).

Drainage basin

The Danube discharges into the Black Sea (the upper body of water in the image). The Danube Spills into the Black Sea.jpg
The Danube discharges into the Black Sea (the upper body of water in the image).
Where the Danube Meets the Black Sea (NASA Goddard image). Danubedelta chilia lobe satellite image.jpg
Where the Danube Meets the Black Sea (NASA Goddard image).

In addition to the bordering countries (see above), the drainage basin includes parts of nine more countries: Bosnia and Herzegovina (4.6%), the Czech Republic (2.9%), Slovenia (2.0%), Montenegro (0.9%), Switzerland (0.2%), Italy (<0.1%), Poland (<0.1%), North Macedonia (<0.1%) and Albania (<0.1%). [15] Its total drainage basin is 801,463 km2 (309,447 sq mi). [16] [17] The highest point of the drainage basin is the summit of Piz Bernina at the Italy–Switzerland border, at 4,049 metres (13,284 ft). [18]

Tributaries

The land drained by the Danube extends into many other countries. Many Danubian tributaries are important rivers in their own right, navigable by barges and other shallow-draught boats. From its source to its outlet into the Black Sea, its main tributaries are (in order that they enter):

  1. Iller (entering at Ulm)
  2. Lech
  3. Altmühl (entering at Kelheim)
  4. Naab (entering at Regensburg)
  5. Regen (entering at Regensburg)
  6. Isar
  7. Inn (entering at Passau)
  8. Ilz (entering at Passau)
  9. Enns
  10. Morava (entering near Devín Castle)
  11. Rába (entering at Győr)
  12. Váh (entering at Komárno)
  13. Hron (entering at Štúrovo)
  14. Ipeľ
  15. Sió
  16. Dráva
  17. Vuka (entering at Vukovar)

18. Tisza
19. Sava (entering at Belgrade)
20. Tamiš (entering at Pančevo)
21. Great Morava
22. Mlava
23. Karaş
24. Jiu (entering at Bechet)
25. Iskar (entering near Gigen)
26. Olt (entering at Turnu Măgurele)
27. Osam (entering near Nikopol, Bulgaria)
28. Argeș (entering at Oltenița)
29. Ialomița
30. Siret (entering near Galați)
31. Prut (entering near Galați)

The confluence of the Sava into the Danube at Belgrade.jpg
The confluence of the Sava into the Danube at Belgrade. Pictured from Belgrade Fortress, Serbia

Cities and towns

The historical source of the Danube in Donaueschingen. Donauquelle 4168.jpg
The historical source of the Danube in Donaueschingen.
The Donauzusammenfluss, or "Danube confluence", where the Breg and Brigach unite to form the Danube in Donaueschingen, Germany Donaueschingen Donauzusammenfluss 20080714.jpg
The Donauzusammenfluss, or "Danube confluence", where the Breg and Brigach unite to form the Danube in Donaueschingen, Germany
The Danube in Ulm from the steeple of Ulm Minster, looking southwest Ulm2-midsize.jpg
The Danube in Ulm from the steeple of Ulm Minster, looking southwest
Danube in Linz, Austria Danube in Linz.jpg
Danube in Linz, Austria
The Danube in Bratislava, Slovakia Bratislava Panorama R01.jpg
The Danube in Bratislava, Slovakia
Basilica of Esztergom (Hungary), the third largest cathedral in Europe Varhegy2.JPG
Basilica of Esztergom (Hungary), the third largest cathedral in Europe
Confluence of river Sava into the Danube beneath Belgrade citadel Kalemegdanska terasa Apr 2011.jpg
Confluence of river Sava into the Danube beneath Belgrade citadel

The Danube flows through many cities, including four national capitals (shown below in bold), more than any other river in the world. Ordered from the source to the mouth they are:

Panorama of Danube in Vienna.jpg
Panorama of the Danube in Vienna
DonauknieVisegrad 2.jpg
The Danube Bend is a curve of the Danube in Hungary, near the city of Visegrád. The Transdanubian Mountains lie on the right bank (left side of the picture), while the North Hungarian Mountains on the left bank (right side of the picture).
Budapest view with Parliament.jpg
Panorama of the Danube in Budapest
Budapest from Gellert Hill MC.jpg
Budapest at night
Belgrade Panorama.jpg
Panoramic image of the Danube and Sava river from Kalemegdan, Belgrade Serbia.

Islands

Aerial view of Margaret Island, Budapest, Hungary. There are 15 bridges over the Danube in Budapest. Budapest by air.jpg
Aerial view of Margaret Island, Budapest, Hungary. There are 15 bridges over the Danube in Budapest.
Great War Island, Belgrade, as seen from Zemun, Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube. Lido Zemun View.JPG
Great War Island, Belgrade, as seen from Zemun, Serbia. It is located at the confluence of the Sava and Danube.
Adakale Island in the Danube was forgotten during the peace talks at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, which allowed it to remain a de jure Turkish territory and the Ottoman Sultan Abdulhamid II's private possession until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 (de facto until Romania unilaterally declared its sovereignty on the island in 1919 and further strengthened this claim with the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.) The island was submerged during the construction of the Iron Gates hydroelectric plant in 1970, which also removed the possibility of a potential legal claim by the descendants of Abdulhamid II. Ada Kaleh.jpg
Adakale Island in the Danube was forgotten during the peace talks at the Congress of Berlin in 1878, which allowed it to remain a de jure Turkish territory and the Ottoman Sultan Abdülhamid II's private possession until the Treaty of Lausanne in 1923 ( de facto until Romania unilaterally declared its sovereignty on the island in 1919 and further strengthened this claim with the Treaty of Trianon in 1920.) The island was submerged during the construction of the Iron Gates hydroelectric plant in 1970, which also removed the possibility of a potential legal claim by the descendants of Abdülhamid II.

Sectioning

Modern navigation

The Danube in Budapest Parliament Budapest Hungary.jpg
The Danube in Budapest
Fisher in the Danube Delta DanubedeltaSulinaarm2.jpg
Fisher in the Danube Delta
Freight ship on the Danube near Vienna

The Danube is navigable by ocean ships from the Black Sea to Brăila in Romania (the maritime river sector), and further on by river ships to Kelheim, Bavaria, Germany; smaller craft can navigate further upstream to Ulm, Württemberg, Germany. About 60 of its tributaries are also navigable.

Since the completion of the German Rhine–Main–Danube Canal in 1992, the river has been part of a trans-European waterway from Rotterdam on the North Sea to Sulina on the Black Sea, a distance of 3,500 km (2,200 mi). In 1994 the Danube was declared one of ten Pan-European transport corridors, routes in Central and Eastern Europe that required major investment over the following ten to fifteen years. The amount of goods transported on the Danube increased to about 100 million tons in 1987. In 1999, transport on the river was made difficult by the NATO bombing of three bridges in Serbia during the Kosovo War. Clearance of the resulting debris was completed in 2002, and a temporary pontoon bridge that hampered navigation was removed in 2005.

At the Iron Gate, the Danube flows through a gorge that forms part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania; it contains the Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station dam, followed at about 60 km (37 mi) downstream (outside the gorge) by the Iron Gate II Hydroelectric Power Station. On 13 April 2006, a record peak discharge at Iron Gate Dam reached 15,400 m3/s (540,000 cu ft/s).

There are three artificial waterways built on the Danube: the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal (DTD) in the Banat and Bačka regions (Vojvodina, northern province of Serbia); the 64 km (40 mi) Danube-Black Sea Canal, between Cernavodă and Constanța (Romania) finished in 1984, shortens the distance to the Black Sea by 400 km (250 mi); the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal is about 171 km (106 mi), finished in 1992, linking the North Sea to the Black Sea. [21]

Piracy

In 2010–12, shipping companies (especially from Ukraine) claimed that their vessels suffered from "regular pirate attacks", on the Serbian and Romanian stretches of the Danube. [22] [23] [24] However, these transgressions may not be considered acts of piracy, as defined according to the United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea, but rather instances of "river robbery". [25]

On the other hand, media reports say the crews on transport ships often steal and sell their own cargo and then blame the plundering on "pirates", and the alleged attacks are not piracy but small-time contraband theft that is taking place along the river. [26]

Danube Delta

The Danube Delta (Romanian : Delta Dunăriipronounced  [ˈdelta ˈdunərij] ; Ukrainian : Дельта Дунаю, romanized: Del'ta Dunaju) is the largest river delta in the European Union. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania (Tulcea county), while its northern part, on the left bank of the Chilia arm, is situated in Ukraine (Odessa Oblast). The approximate surface is 4,152 km2 (1,603 sq mi), of which 3,446 km2 (1,331 sq mi) are in Romania. If one includes the lagoons of Razim-Sinoe (1,015 km2 (392 sq mi) of which 865 km2 (334 sq mi) water surface), which are located south of the delta proper, but are related to it geologically and ecologically (their combined territory is part of the World Heritage Site), the total area of the Danube Delta reaches 5,165 km2 (1,994 sq mi).

The Danube Delta is also the best preserved river Delta in Europe, a UNESCO World Heritage Site (since 1991) and a Ramsar Site. Its lakes and marshes support 45 freshwater fish species. Its wetlands support vast flocks of migratory birds of over 300 species, including the endangered pygmy cormorant (Phalacrocorax pygmaeus). These are threatened by rival canalization and drainage schemes such as the Bystroye Canal.[ citation needed ]

International cooperation

Ecology and environment

Pelicans in the Danube Delta, Romania Pelicani din Delta Dunarii.PNG
Pelicans in the Danube Delta, Romania

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) is an organization consisting of 14 member states (Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Montenegro and Ukraine) and the European Union. The commission, established in 1998, deals with the whole Danube river basin, which includes tributaries and the groundwater resources. Its goal is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention by promoting and coordinating sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, improvement and rational use of waters and the implementation of the EU Water Framework Directive.

The Danube Commission is concerned with the maintenance and improvement of the river's navigation conditions. It was established in 1948 by seven countries bordering the river. Members include representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Serbia, It meets regularly twice a year. It also convenes groups of experts to consider items provided for in the commission's working plans.

The commission dates to the Paris Conferences of 1856 and 1921, which established for the first time an international regime to safeguard free navigation on the Danube. Today the Commission include riparian and non-riparian states.

Geology

Iron Gates, Serbia-Romania border Evening at Danube gorge.jpg
Iron Gates, Serbia-Romania border
Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station, Romania-Serbia Dam Serbia Djerdap 2.jpg
Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station, Romania-Serbia

Although the headwaters of the Danube are relatively small today, geologically, the Danube is much older than the Rhine, with which its catchment area competes in today's southern Germany. This has a few interesting geological complications. Since the Rhine is the only river rising in the Alps mountains which flows north towards the North Sea, an invisible line beginning at Piz Lunghin divides large parts of southern Germany, which is sometimes referred to as the European Watershed.

Before the last ice age in the Pleistocene, the Rhine started at the southwestern tip of the Black Forest, while the waters from the Alps that today feed the Rhine were carried east by the so-called Urdonau (original Danube). Parts of this ancient river's bed, which was much larger than today's Danube, can still be seen in (now waterless) canyons in today's landscape of the Swabian Alb. After the Upper Rhine valley had been eroded, most waters from the Alps changed their direction and began feeding the Rhine. Today's upper Danube is but a meek reflection of the ancient one.

The Iron Gate, on the Serbian-Romanian border (Iron Gates natural park and Derdap national park) Danube Iron Gorge La Cazane.JPG
The Iron Gate, on the Serbian-Romanian border (Iron Gates natural park and Đerdap national park)

Since the Swabian Alb is largely shaped of porous limestone, and since the Rhine's level is much lower than the Danube's, today subsurface rivers carry much water from the Danube to the Rhine. On many days in the summer, when the Danube carries little water, it completely oozes away noisily into these underground channels at two locations in the Swabian Alb, which are referred to as the Donauversickerung (Danube Sink). Most of this water resurfaces only 12 kilometres (7 mi) south at the Aachtopf, Germany's wellspring with the highest flow, an average of 8,500 litres per second (300 cu ft/s), north of Lake Constance—thus feeding the Rhine. The European Water Divide applies only for those waters that pass beyond this point, and only during the days of the year when the Danube carries enough water to survive the sink holes in the Donauversickerung.

Since such large volumes of underground water erode much of the surrounding limestone, it is estimated that the Danube upper course will one day disappear entirely in favor of the Rhine, an event called stream capturing.

The hydrological parameters of Danube are regularly monitored in Croatia at Batina, Dalj, Vukovar and Ilok. [27]

History

The oldest bridge across the Danube, constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus between 103-105 CE, directed by Trajan, modern Serbia and Romania. Trajan's Bridge Across the Danube, Modern Reconstruction.jpg
The oldest bridge across the Danube, constructed by Apollodorus of Damascus between 103-105 CE, directed by Trajan, modern Serbia and Romania.
At Esztergom and Sturovo, the Danube separates Hungary from Slovakia Maria Valeria's bridge.jpg
At Esztergom and Štúrovo, the Danube separates Hungary from Slovakia
The Danube in Vienna Vena 06.jpg
The Danube in Vienna
The Danube between Belene and Belene Island, Bulgaria Danube at belene.jpg
The Danube between Belene and Belene Island, Bulgaria
A look upstream from the Donauinsel in Vienna, Austria during an unusually cold winter (February 2006). A frozen Danube usually occurs just once or twice in a lifetime. Frozen Danube Reichsbrucke.JPG
A look upstream from the Donauinsel in Vienna, Austria during an unusually cold winter (February 2006). A frozen Danube usually occurs just once or twice in a lifetime.
Bratislava does not usually suffer major floods, but the Danube sometimes overflows its right bank Bratislavaminorflood.jpg
Bratislava does not usually suffer major floods, but the Danube sometimes overflows its right bank
Combat between Russian and Turkish forces on the Danube in 1854, during the Crimean War (1853-1856) Guerre d'orient, combat sur le Danube.jpg
Combat between Russian and Turkish forces on the Danube in 1854, during the Crimean War (1853–1856)

The Danube basin was the site of some of the earliest human cultures. The Danubian Neolithic cultures include the Linear Pottery cultures of the mid-Danube basin. Many sites of the sixth-to-third millennium BC Vinča culture, (Vinča, Serbia) are sited along the Danube. The third millennium BC Vučedol culture (from the Vučedol site near Vukovar, Croatia) is famous for its ceramics.

Darius the Great, king of Persia, crossed the river in the late 6th century BC in order to invade European Scythia and to subdue the Scythians.

Alexander the Great defeated the Triballian king Syrmus and the northern barbarian Thracian and Illyrian tribes by advancing from Macedonia as far as the Danube in 336 BC.

Under the Romans the Danube formed the border of the Empire with the tribes to the north almost from its source to its mouth. At the same time it was a route for the transport of troops and the supply of settlements downstream. From AD 37 to the reign of the Emperor Valentinian I (364–375) the Danubian Limes was the northeastern border of the Empire, with occasional interruptions such as the fall of the Danubian Limes in 259. The crossing of the Danube into Dacia was achieved by the Imperium Romanum, first in two battles in 102 and then in 106 after the construction of a bridge in 101 near the garrison town of Drobeta at the Iron Gate. This victory over Dacia under Decebalus enabled the Province of Dacia to be created, but in 271 it was lost again.

Avars used the river as their southeastern border in the 6th century.

Ancient cultural perspectives of the lower Danube

Part of the rivers Danubius or Istros was also known as (together with the Black Sea) the Okeanos in ancient times, being called the Okeanos Potamos (Okeanos River). The lower Danube was also called the Keras Okeanoio (Gulf or Horn of Okeanos) in the Argonautica by Apollonius Rhodos (Argon. IV. 282).

At the end of the Okeanos Potamos, is the holy island of Alba (Leuke, Pytho Nisi, Isle of Snakes), sacred to the Pelasgian (and later, Greek) Apollo, greeting the sun rising in the east. Hecateus Abderitas refers to Apollo's island from the region of the Hyperboreans, in the Okeanos. It was on Leuke, in one version of his legend, that the hero Achilles was buried (to this day, one of the mouths of the Danube is called Chilia). Old Romanian folk songs recount a white monastery on a white island with nine priests. [28]

Rivalry along the Danube

Between the late 14th and late 19th centuries, the Ottoman Empire competed first with the Kingdom of Serbia, Second Bulgarian Empire, Kingdom of Hungary, Principality of Wallachia, Principality of Moldavia and later with the Austrian Habsburgs, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Russian Empire for controlling the Danube (Turks call it Tuna), which became the northern border of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Many of the Ottoman–Hungarian Wars (1366–1526) and Ottoman–Habsburg wars (1526–1791) were fought along the river.

The most important wars of the Ottoman Empire along the Danube include the Battle of Nicopolis (1396), the Siege of Belgrade (1456), the Battle of Mohács (1526), the first Turkish Siege of Vienna (1529), the Siege of Esztergom (1543), the Long War (1591–1606), the Battle of Vienna (1683), the Great Turkish War (1683–1699), the Crimean War (1853–1856) and the Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878).

Economics

Drinking water

Along its course, the Danube is a source of drinking water for about 20 million people. In Baden-Württemberg, Germany, almost 30 percent (as of 2004) of the water for the area between Stuttgart, Bad Mergentheim, Aalen and Alb-Donau (district) comes from purified water of the Danube. Other cities such as Ulm and Passau also use some water from the Danube.

In Austria and Hungary, most water is drawn from ground and spring sources, and only in rare cases is water from the Danube used. Most states also find it too difficult to clean the water because of extensive pollution; only parts of Romania where the water is cleaner still obtain drinking water from the Danube on a regular basis. [29]

In the 19th century, the Danube was an important waterway but was, as The Times of London put it, "annually swept by ice that will lift a large ship out of the water or cut her in two as if she were a carrot." [30]

Today, as "Corridor VII" of the European Union, the Danube is an important transport route. Since the opening of the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, the river connects the Port of Rotterdam and the industrial centres of Western Europe with the Black Sea and, also, through the Danube – Black Sea Canal, with the Port of Constanța.

The waterway is designed for large-scale inland vessels (110 × 11.45 m) but it can carry much larger vessels on most of its course. The Danube has been partly canalized in Germany (5 locks) and Austria (10 locks). Proposals to build a number of new locks to improve navigation have not progressed, due in part to environmental concerns.

Downstream from the Freudenau locks in Vienna, canalization of the Danube was limited to the Gabčíkovo dam and locks near Bratislava and the two double Iron Gate locks in the border stretch of the Danube between Serbia and Romania. These locks have larger dimensions. Downstream of the Iron Gate, the river is free flowing all the way to the Black Sea, a distance of more than 860 kilometres (530 mi).

The Danube connects with the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal at Kelheim, with the Donaukanal in Vienna, and with the Danube–Black Sea Canal at Cernavodă.

Apart from a couple of secondary navigable branches, the only major navigable rivers linked to the Danube are the Drava, Sava and Tisa. In Serbia, a canal network also connects to the river; the network, known as the Danube–Tisa–Danube Canals, links sections downstream.

Fishing from a Zille on the Danube in Lower Austria, 1982 Fischerzille LuA 10 m Donau bei Greifenstein Niederosterreich.jpg
Fishing from a Zille on the Danube in Lower Austria, 1982

In the Austrian and German sections of the Danube, a type of flat-bottomed boat called a Zille was developed for use along the river. Zillen are still used today for fishing, ferrying, and other transport of goods and people in this area.

Fishing

The importance of fishing on the Danube, which was critical in the Middle Ages, has declined dramatically. Some fishermen are still active at certain points on the river, and the Danube Delta still has an important industry.

The Upper Danube ecoregion alone has about 60 fish species and the Lower Danube–Dniester ecoregion has about twice as many. [31] Among these are an exceptionally high diversity of sturgeon, a total of six species (beluga, Russian sturgeon, bastard sturgeon, sterlet, starry sturgeon and European sea sturgeon), but these are all threatened and have largely–or entirely in the case of the European sea sturgeon–disappeared from the river. [31] The huchen, one of the largest species of salmon, is endemic to the Danube basin, but has been introduced elsewhere by humans. [32]

Tourism

Wachau Valley near Spitz, Austria Wachau (3).JPG
Wachau Valley near Spitz, Austria

Important tourist and natural spots along the Danube include the Wachau Valley, the Nationalpark Donau-Auen in Austria, Gemenc in Hungary, the Naturpark Obere Donau in Germany, Kopački rit in Croatia, Iron Gate in Serbia and Romania, the Danube Delta in Romania, and the Srebarna Nature Reserve in Bulgaria.

Also, leisure and travel cruises on the river are of significance. Besides the often frequented route between Vienna and Budapest, some ships even go from Passau in Germany to the Danube Delta and back. During the peak season, more than 70 cruise liners are in use on the river, while the traffic-free upper parts can only be discovered with canoes or boats.

The Danube region is not only culturally and historically of importance, but also due to its fascinating landmarks and sights important for the regional tourism industry. With its well established infrastructure regarding cycling, hiking and travel possibilities, the region along the Danube attracts every year an international clientele. In Austria alone, there are more than 14 million overnight stays and about 6.5 million arrivals per year. [33]

The Danube Banks in Budapest are a part of Unesco World Heritage sites, they can be viewed from a number of sightseeing cruises offered in the city.

The Danube Bend is also a popular tourist destination.

Danube Bike Trail

The Danube Bike Trail running along the Schlogener Schlinge Donauradweg Schloegener Schlinge - Aschach.jpg
The Danube Bike Trail running along the Schlögener Schlinge
The Danube Bike Trail leading through the city Linz LinzDonaulaende.jpg
The Danube Bike Trail leading through the city Linz

The Danube Bike Trail (also called Danube Cycle Path or the Donauradweg) is a bicycle trail along the river. Especially the parts through Germany and Austria are very popular, which makes it one of the 10 most popular bike trails in Germany. [34]

The Danube Bike Trail starts at the origin of the Danube and ends where the river flows into the Black Sea. It is divided into four sections:

  1. DonaueschingenPassau (559 km)
  2. PassauVienna (340 km)
  3. ViennaBudapest (306 km)
  4. BudapestBlack Sea (1670 km)

Sultans Trail

The Sultans Trail is a hiking trail that runs along the river between Vienna and Smederevo in Serbia. From there the Sultans Trail leaves the Danube, terminating in Istanbul. Sections along the river are as follows.

  1. ViennaBudapest (323 km)
  2. BudapestSmederevo (595 km)

Donausteig

Resting area along the Donausteig hiking trail near Bad Kreuzen Donausteig Rastplatz.jpg
Resting area along the Donausteig hiking trail near Bad Kreuzen

In 2010 the Donausteig, a hiking trail from Passau to Grein, was opened. It is 450 kilometres (280 mi) long and it is divided into 23 stages. The route passes five Bavarian and 40 Austrian communities. An impressive landscape and beautiful viewpoints, which are along the river, are the highlights of the Donausteig. [35]

The Route of Emperors and Kings

The Route of Emperors and Kings is an international touristic route leading from Regensburg to Budapest, calling in Passau, Linz and Vienna. [36] The international consortium ARGE Die Donau-Straße der Kaiser und Könige, comprising ten tourism organisations, shipping companies, and cities, strives for the conservation and touristic development of the Danube region. [33]

In medieval Regensburg, with its maintained old town, stone bridge and cathedral, the Route of Emperors and Kings begins. It continues to Engelhartszell, with the only Trappist monastery in Austria. Further highlight-stops along the Danube include the "Schlögener Schlinge", the city of Linz, which was European Capital of Culture in 2009 with its contemporary art richness, the Melk Abbey, the university city of Krems and the cosmopolitan city of Vienna. Before the Route of Emperors and Kings ends, you pass Bratislava and Budapest, the latter which was seen as the twin town of Vienna during the times of the Austro-Hungarian Empire. Since ancient Roman times, famous emperors and their retinue travelled on and along the Danube and used the river for travel and transportation. While travelling on the mainland was quite exhausting, most people preferred to travel by ship on the Danube. So the Route of Emperors and Kings was the setting for many important historical events, which characterize the Danube up until today.

The route got its name from the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I of Barbarossa and the crusaders as well as from Richard I of England who had been jailed in the Dürnstein Castle, which is situated above the Danube. The most imperial journeys throughout time were those of the Habsburg family. Once crowned in Frankfurt, the emperors ruled from Vienna and also held in Regensburg the Perpetual Diet of Regensburg. Many famous castles, palaces, residences and state-run convents where built by the Habsburger along the river. Nowadays they still remind us of the bold architecture of the "Donaubarock".

Today, people can not only travel by boat on the Danube, but also by train, by bike on the Danube Bike Trail or walk on the "Donausteig" and visit the UNESCO World Heritage cities of Regensburg, Wachau and Vienna. [37]

Important national parks

Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve in Serbia. Gornje Podunavlje.jpg
Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve in Serbia.
Golubac Fortress in Derdap National park, Serbia. Golubaccas.jpg
Golubac Fortress in Đerdap National park, Serbia.

Cultural significance

The 1900 plan to link the Danube and the Adriatic Sea by C. Wagenfuhrer. It would be a realisation of the erroneous notion of the Danube having a bifurcation. Wagenfuhrer 1900 Vienna Adriatic Sea canal.jpg
The 1900 plan to link the Danube and the Adriatic Sea by C. Wagenführer. It would be a realisation of the erroneous notion of the Danube having a bifurcation.
16th-century Danube landscape near Regensburg, by Albrecht Altdorfer - a member of the Danube school. Danube Landscape near Regensburg.JPG
16th-century Danube landscape near Regensburg, by Albrecht Altdorfer - a member of the Danube school.

See also

Related Research Articles

Geography of Romania

With an area of 238,400 square kilometers, Romania is the twelfth-largest country in Europe. Located in Southeastern Europe, bordering on the Black Sea, the country is halfway between the equator and the North Pole and equidistant from the westernmost part of Europe—the Atlantic Coast—and the most easterly—the Ural Mountains. Romania has 3,195 kilometers of border. Republic of Moldova and Ukraine lie to the east, Bulgaria lies to the south, and Serbia and Hungary to the west. In the southeast, 245 kilometers of sea coastline provide an important outlet to the Black Sea and the Atlantic Ocean.

Rhine river in Western Europe

The Rhine is one of the major European rivers, which has its sources in Switzerland and flows in a mostly northerly direction through Germany and The Netherlands, emptying into the North Sea. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.

Tisza river in Europe

The Tisza or Tisa is one of the main rivers of Central and Eastern Europe. Once, it was called "the most Hungarian river" because it flowed entirely within the Kingdom of Hungary. Today, it crosses several national borders.

Donau may refer to:

Geography of Austria

Austria is a small, predominantly mountainous country in Central Europe, approximately between Germany, Italy and Hungary. It has a total area of 83,879 km² (32,385 mi²), about twice the size of Switzerland.

Banat Historical region

The Banat is a geographical and historical region in Central Europe that is currently divided among three countries: the eastern part lies in western Romania ; the western part in northeastern Serbia ; and a small northern part lies within southeastern Hungary.

Rhine–Main–Danube Canal canal in Bavaria, Germany which connects the Main and the Danube rivers across the European Watershed

The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal, in Bavaria, Germany, connects the Main and the Danube rivers across the European Watershed, running from Bamberg via Nuremberg to Kelheim. The canal connects the North Sea and Atlantic Ocean to the Black Sea, providing a navigable artery between the Rhine delta, and the Danube Delta in south-eastern Romania and south-western Ukraine. The present canal was completed in 1992 and is 171 kilometres (106 mi) long.

Iron Gates A gorge on the river Danube between Serbia and Romania

The Iron Gates is a gorge on the river Danube. It forms part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania (north). In the broad sense it encompasses a route of 134 km (83 mi); in the narrow sense it only encompasses the last barrier on this route, just beyond the Romanian city of Orșova, that contains two hydroelectric dams, with two power stations, Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station and Iron Gate II Hydroelectric Power Station.

The Danube is the second longest river in Europe.

Pannonian Basin plain

The Pannonian Basin, or Carpathian Basin, is a large basin in Central Europe. The geomorphological term Pannonian Plain is more widely used for roughly the same region though with a somewhat different sense, with only the lowlands, the plain that remained when the Pliocene Epoch Pannonian Sea dried out.

Asp (fish) species of fish

The asp is a European freshwater fish of the Cyprinid family. It is sometimes considered one of two members of the genus Aspius by some taxonomic authorities. It is protected under Appendix III of the Bern Convention and listed as least concern on the IUCN Red List.

International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River International Organization

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) is an international organisation with its permanent secretariat in Vienna. It was established by the Danube River Protection Convention, signed by the Danube countries in Sofia, Bulgaria, in 1994.

Danube Commission (1948) organization

The Danube Commission is concerned with the maintenance and improvement of navigation conditions of the Danube River, from its source in Germany to its outlets in Romania and Ukraine, leading to the Black Sea. It was established in 1948 by seven countries bordering the river, replacing previous commissions that had also included representatives of non-riparian powers. Its predecessor commissions were among the first attempts at internationalizing the police powers of sovereign states for a common cause.

EV6 The Rivers Route

EuroVelo 6 (EV6), named The Rivers Route, is a EuroVelo long-distance cycling route running along 3,653 km (2,270 mi) some of Europe's major rivers, including much of the Loire, some of the Saône, a short section of the upper Rhine and almost the entire length of Europe’s second longest river, the Danube — from the Atlantic coast of France to the city of Constanța on the Black Sea.

Harbours in Vienna

For a long time, it was not necessary to build a Harbour in Vienna, because the existing natural landing points were sufficient for the level of trade on the Danube. It was only when steamships began to arrive in great numbers that a harbour offering safe berths became essential. Even then however, goods were for the most part loaded and unloaded at an unenclosed river harbour that was established at the end of the 19th century.

2013 European floods May-June floods in central Europe caused by heavy rainfall

Extreme flooding in Central Europe began after several days of heavy rain in late May and early June 2013. Flooding and damages primarily affected south and east German states, western regions of the Czech Republic (Bohemia), and Austria. In addition, Switzerland, Slovakia, Belarus, Poland, Hungary and Serbia (Vojvodina) were affected to a lesser extent. The flood crest progressed down the Elbe and Danube drainage basins and tributaries, leading to high water and flooding along their banks.

The Danubian Limes, or Danube Limes, refers to the Roman military frontier or Limes which lies along the River Danube in the present-day German state of Bavaria, in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Bulgaria and Romania.

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