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Drava or Drave
Drau, Dráva
Osijek jutro promenada Srpanj-2010.tif
The Drava in Osijek, Croatia
Map of Drava River
Physical characteristics
SourceNorth of the Neunerkogel over the Toblacher Feld
  location Toblach, South Tyrol, Italy
  coordinates 46°43′9″N12°15′16″E / 46.71917°N 12.25444°E / 46.71917; 12.25444
  elevation1,450 m (4,760 ft)
Mouth Danube near Osijek
45°32′38″N18°55′31″E / 45.54389°N 18.92528°E / 45.54389; 18.92528 Coordinates: 45°32′38″N18°55′31″E / 45.54389°N 18.92528°E / 45.54389; 18.92528
Length710 [1]  km (440 mi)
Basin size40,154 [1]  km2 (15,504 sq mi)
  average670 m3/s (24,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features
Progression DanubeBlack Sea

The Drava or Drave [2] (German : Drau [ˈdʁaʊ] ; Slovene : Drava [ˈdɾàːʋa] ; Croatian : Drava [drǎːʋa] ; Hungarian : Dráva [ˈdraːvɒ] ; Italian : Drava [ˈdraːva] ) is a river in southern Central Europe. With a length of 710 kilometres (440 mi), [1] 724 kilometres (450 mi) including the Sextner Bach source, it is the fifth or sixth longest tributary of the Danube, after the Tisza, Sava, Prut, Mureș and perhaps Siret. Its source is near the market town of Innichen (San Candido), in the Puster Valley of South Tyrol, Italy. The river flows eastwards through East Tirol and Carinthia in Austria into the Styria region of Slovenia. It then turns southeast, passing through Croatia and, after merging with its main tributary Mur, forms most of the border between Croatia and Hungary, before it joins the Danube near Osijek.



In ancient times the river was known as Dravus or Draus in Latin, and in Greek as Δράος [3] [4] and Δράβος. Medieval attestations of the name include Dravis (c. AD 670), Drauva (in 799), Drauus (in 811), Trauum (in 1091), and Trah (in 1136). The name is pre-Roman and pre-Celtic, but probably of Indo-European origin, from the root *dreu̯- 'flow' (cf. Sanskrit : द्रवतिdravati 'flow'). [5] The river gives its name to the dravite species of tourmaline. [6]


The Drava (along with one of its tributaries, the Slizza) and the Spöl are the only two rivers originating in Italy that belong to the Danube drainage basin. Its main left tributaries (from the north) are the Isel  [ de ] (contributes 39 m³/s), the Möll (25 m³/s), the Lieser  [ de ] (22 m³/s), the Gurk (30 m³/s) and the Lavant (12 m³/s) in Austria, and the Mur (166 m³/s) near Legrad at the Croatian–Hungarian border. Its main right tributaries (from the south) are the Gail (45 m³/s) in Austria, the Meža (12 m³/s) and Dravinja (11 m³/s) in Slovenia, and the Bednja (? m³/s) in Croatia.

CountryLength (km)Catchment area (km²)Mean flow (m³/s)
Italy10.6354 (0.9%)4
Austria254.722,162 (55.2%)280
Slovenia117.74,662 (11.6%)292
Croatia166.46,822 (17.0%)544
Hungary06,154 (15.3%)544
Total709.840,154 (100%)544

Mean discharge is for the last station in the country mentioned in the source. [1]


Drava sources, Innichen Drauquellen.jpg
Drava sources, Innichen

The Drava sources are located at the drainage divide between the market town of Innichen and neighbouring Toblach (Dobbiaco) in the west, where the Rienz River rises, a tributary of the Adige (Etsch). At Innichen itself the 16+ km Sextner Bach  [ de ], [7] originating near the Sextener Rotwand, joins the ~2 km long source creek. The river than flows eastwards and after 8 kilometres crosses into East Tyrol in Austria. At Lienz it flows into the Isel  [ de ], sourced from the glaciers of the Venediger and Glockner Groups. The Isel (average discharge 39 m³/s) is almost three times larger than the Drava (14 m³/s) where they meet and, starting from the source of its tributary Schwarzach  [ de ] under the Rötspitze, the Isel (ca. 64 km) is also longer than the combined Drava and Sextner Bach (ca. 60 km) to that point. [8] [1]

The river then flows east into Carinthia at Oberdrauburg. The river separates the Kreuzeck range of the High Tauern in the north and the Gailtal Alps in the south, passes the Sachsenburg narrows and the site of the ancient city of Teurnia, before it reaches the town of Spittal an der Drau. Downstream of Villach, it runs along the northern slopes of the Karawanks to Ferlach and Lavamünd.

The Drava passes into Slovenia at Gorče near Dravograd, from where it runs for 142 kilometres (88 mi) [9] via Vuzenica, Muta, Ruše, and Maribor to Ptuj and the border with Croatia at Ormož. The river then passes Varaždin, Belišće and Osijek in Croatia, and Barcs in Hungary. It is navigable for about 90 kilometres (56 mi) from Čađavica in Croatia to its mouth.

The hydrological parameters of Drava are regularly monitored in Croatia at Botovo, Terezino Polje, Donji Miholjac and Osijek. [10]

Hydroelectric power plants

Currently, there are 22 hydroelectric power plants on the Drava. The power plants are listed beginning at the headwaters:

DamNameplate capacity (MW)Annual generation (Mio. kwh)
Amlach power station [11] 60219
Paternion [12] 2495
Kellerberg [12] 2596
Villach [12] 25100
Rosegg-St. Jakob [12] 80338
Feistritz-Ludmannsdorf [12] 88354
Ferlach-Maria Rain [12] 75318
Annabrücke [12] 90390
Edling [12] 87407
Schwabeck [12] 79378
Lavamünd [12] 28156
Dravograd [13] 26.2142
Vuzenica [13] 55.6247
Vuhred [13] 72.3297
Ožbalt [13] 73.2305
Fala [13] 58260
Mariborski Otok [13] 60270
Zlatoličje [13] 126577
Formin [13] 116548
Varaždin 86476
Čakovec 75.9400
Dubrava 84

The Drava River is one of the most exploited rivers in the world in terms of hydropower, with almost 100% of its water potential energy being exploited. [14] [15] As the region of the river is a place of exceptional biodiversity, this raises several ecological concerns, together with other forms of exploitation such as use of river deposits. [16] [17]

Related Research Articles

Geography of Austria Overview of the 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.

Inn (river) River in Germany

The Inn is a river in Switzerland, Austria and Bavaria. It is a right tributary of the Danube and is 518 kilometres (322 mi) long. The highest point of its drainage basin is the summit of Piz Bernina, at 4,049 metres (13,284 ft). The Engadine, the valley of the En, is the only Swiss valley whose waters end up in the Black Sea.

Mur (river) River in Central Europe

The Mur or Mura is a river in Central Europe rising in the Hohe Tauern national park of the Central Eastern Alps in Austria with its source being 1,898 m (6,227 ft) above sea level. It is a tributary of the Drava and subsequently the Danube.

Dravograd Place in Carinthia, Slovenia

Dravograd is a small town in northern Slovenia, close to the border with Austria. It is the seat of the Municipality of Dravograd. It lies on the Drava River at the confluence with the Meža and the Mislinja. It is part of the traditional Slovenian provinces of Carinthia and the larger Carinthia Statistical Region.

Črneče Place in Carinthia, Slovenia

Črneče is a village on the right bank of the Drava River in the Municipality of Dravograd in the Carinthia region in northern Slovenia.


The Meža (Slovene) or Mieß (German) is a river in the Austrian state of Carinthia and in Slovenia, a right tributary of the Drava. It is 43 kilometers (27 mi) long, of which 42 kilometers (26 mi) are in Slovenia. Its catchment area is 551.7 square kilometers (213.0 sq mi), of which 543 square kilometers (210 sq mi) in Slovenia.

Sava River in Central Europe

The Sava is a river in Central and Southeast Europe, a right tributary of the Danube. It flows through Slovenia, Croatia and along its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina, and finally through Serbia, feeding into the Danube in its capital, Belgrade. The Sava forms the main northern limit of the Balkan Peninsula, and the southern edge of the Pannonian Plain.


The Dravinja is the largest tributary of the Drava River in Slovenia. It is 73 kilometres (45 mi) long. Its source is on the Pohorje Massif southwest of Mount Rogla about 1,150 m above sea level. The river passes Zreče, the town of Slovenske Konjice, the ruins of the fort at Zbelovo, Poljčane, Makole, Štatenberg Castle, Majšperk, and Videm pri Ptuju, where it merges with the Drava. Its main tributary is the river Polskava.

Styria (Slovenia) Traditional region in Slovenia

Styria, also Slovenian Styria or Lower Styria, is a traditional region in northeastern Slovenia, comprising the southern third of the former Duchy of Styria. The population of Styria in its historical boundaries amounts to around 705,000 inhabitants, or 34.5% of the population of Slovenia. The largest city is Maribor.

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.

Gail (river)

Gail is the name of a river in southern Austria, the largest right tributary of the Drava.

Puster Valley District in Italy

The Puster Valley is one of the largest longitudinal valleys in the Alps that runs in an east-west direction between Lienz in East Tyrol, Austria and Mühlbach near Brixen in South Tyrol, Italy. The South Tyrolean municipalities of the Puster Valley constitute the Puster Valley district.

Reißeck Place in Carinthia, Austria

Reißeck is a municipality in the district of Spittal an der Drau in Carinthia, Austria.

Lavant (river)

The Lavant is a river in the Austrian state of Carinthia, a left tributary of the Drava. It lends its name to the Lavanttal valley as well as to the Lavanttal Alps.

Sava Bohinjka

The Sava Bohinjka is a headwater of the Sava River in northwestern Slovenia. At 41 kilometres (25 mi) in length, it is the shorter of the two headwaters that become the Sava River in Radovljica, the other being the 45 km (28 mi)-long Sava Dolinka.


The Ledava is a river of Styria, Austria and of Goričko, Prekmurje, northeastern Slovenia.

Pesnica (river)

The Pesnica is a river in Styria, southeastern Austria and in Styria, northeastern Slovenia.


The Möll is a river in northwestern Carinthia in Austria, a left tributary of the Drava.

Amlach power station Run-of-the-river hydroelectricity in Austria

Amlach power station is a diversionary-run-of-the-river hydroelectricity power generating station on the Drava river in Austria. The power station is operated by Tiroler Wasserkraft (TIWAG) on river water flowing between Tassenbach, Strassen, Tyrol and Amlach, near Lienz.


  1. 1 2 3 4 5 Joint Drava River Corridor Analysis Report, 27 November 2014
  2. Utrata Fachwörterbuch: Geographie - Englisch-Deutsch/Deutsch-Englisch by Jürgen Utrata (2014). Retrieved 10 Apr 2014.
  3. Roesler, R. (1873). "Einiges über das Thrakische". Zeitschrift für die österreichischen Gymnasien. Vienna: Carl Gerold's Sohn. 24: 111.
  4. Melich, J. (1932). "Über slavische Flußnamen fremden Ursprungs. Milan von Rešetar zum 70. Geburtstag gewidmet". Zeitschrift für Slavische Philologie. 9 (1/2): 97. Retrieved December 7, 2020.
  5. Snoj, Marko (2009). Etimološki slovar slovenskih zemljepisnih imen. Ljubljana: Modrijan. p. 124.
  6. Deer, William Alexander; Howie, Robert Andrew; Zussman, Jack (1997). Rock-Forming Minerals: Volume 1B, Disilicates and Ring Silicates. London: The Geological Society. p. 559.
  7. Sextner Bach at the South Tyrol agency for the environment website
  8. Hydrographisches Jahrbuch Österreichs 2008, S. OG322
  9. Rivers, longer than 25 km, and their catchment areas, Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia
  10. "Daily hydrological report". State Hydrometeorological Bureau of the Republic of Croatia . Retrieved 2010-09-09.
  11. "Kraftwerk Amlach" (in German). Tiroler Wasserkraft . Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  12. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 10 "Die Drau" (in German). Verbund . Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  13. 1 2 3 4 5 6 7 8 "Power plants". Dravske elektrarne Maribor . Retrieved 2016-08-25.
  14. "HSE - Did you know?". HSE. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  15. "International Symposium "Drava River Vision"". LIFE Projekt Lebensader Obere Drau. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  16. "The Drava River – a flowing controversy". International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River. Archived from the original on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.
  17. "Is the Drava River Basin management sustainable and well on the way?" (PDF). International Symposium "Drava River Vision". Austrian Federal Ministry for Agriculture, Forestry, Environment and Water Management; Government of Carinthia, Department of Water Management. September 2008. Archived from the original (PDF) on 2017-08-07. Retrieved 2017-08-07.


  • DrauDrava - old river and new sounds
  • Condition of Drava in various locations in Slovenia:
  • Črneče - graphs, in the following order, of water level, flow and temperature data for the past 30 days (taken in Črneče by ARSO)
  • Ptuj - graphs, in the following order, of water level, flow and temperature data for the past 30 days (taken in Ptuj by ARSO)
  • Borl - graphs, in the following order, of water level, flow and temperature data for the past 30 days (taken in Borl by ARSO)