|• location||Eastern Carpathians, Ukraine|
|• elevation||2,020 m (6,630 ft)|
|Downstream of Novi Sad, Serbia|
|Length||966 km (600 mi)|
|Basin size||156,087 km2 (60,266 sq mi) 154,073.1 km2 (59,488.0 sq mi)|
|• location||Novi Slankamen, Serbia (near mouth)|
|• average||820 m3/s (29,000 cu ft/s) 920.111 m3/s (32,493.4 cu ft/s)|
|• minimum||160 m3/s (5,700 cu ft/s)|
|• maximum||4,500 m3/s (160,000 cu ft/s)|
|• location||Szeged, Hungary (173.6 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 138,857.7 km2 (53,613.3 sq mi)|
|• average||769 m3/s (27,200 cu ft/s) 890.451 m3/s (31,446.0 cu ft/s)|
|• location||Szolnok, Hungary (334.6 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 72,889.4 km2 (28,142.8 sq mi)|
|• average||546 m3/s (19,300 cu ft/s) 578.922 m3/s (20,444.4 cu ft/s)|
|• location||Tokaj, Hungary (543.079 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 49,120.9 km2 (18,965.7 sq mi)|
|• average||465 m3/s (16,400 cu ft/s) 468.77 m3/s (16,554 cu ft/s)|
|• location||Vásárosnamény, Hungary (684.45 km upstream of mouth - Basin size: 30,978.9 km2 (11,961.0 sq mi)|
|• average||340.62 m3/s (12,029 cu ft/s)|
|Progression||Danube→ Black Sea|
|• left||Someș, Körös, Mureș, Bega|
|• right||Bodrog, Sajó, Eger, Zagyva|
The Tisza, Tysa or Tisa, is one of the major 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.
The Tisza begins near Rakhiv in Ukraine, at the confluence of the White Tisa and Black Tisa, which is at coordinates(the former springs in the Chornohora mountains; the latter in the Gorgany range). From there, the Tisza flows west, roughly following Ukraine's borders with Romania and Hungary, then shortly as border between Slovakia and Hungary, later into Hungary, and finally into Serbia. It enters Hungary at Tiszabecs. It traverses Hungary from north to south. A few kilometers south of the Hungarian city of Szeged, it enters Serbia. Finally, it joins the Danube near the village of Stari Slankamen in Vojvodina, Serbia.
The Tisza drains an area of about 156,087 km2 (60,266 sq mi) and has a length of 966 km (600 mi) Its mean annual discharge is seasonally 792 m3/s (28,000 cu ft/s) to 1,050 m3/s (37,000 cu ft/s). It contributes about 13% of the Danube's total runoff.
Attila the Hun is said to have been buried under a diverted section of the river Tisza.
The river was known as the Tisia in antiquity; other ancient names for it included Pathissus (Πάθισσος in Ancient Greek and later Tissus (in Latin)), (Pliny, Naturalis historia , 4.25). It may be referred to as the Theiss in older English references, after the German name for the river, Theiß. It is known as the Tibisco in Italian, and in older French references (as for instance in relation to the naval battles on the Danube between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg Empire in the 17th and 18th centuries) it is often referred to as the Tibisque.
Modern names for the Tisza in the languages of the countries it flows through include:
The length of the Tisza in Hungary used to be 1,419 km (882 mi). It flowed through the Great Hungarian Plain, which is one of the largest flat areas in central Europe. Since plains can cause a river to flow very slowly, the Tisza used to follow a path with many curves and turns, which led to many large floods in the area.
After several small-scale attempts, István Széchenyi organised the "regulation of the Tisza" (Hungarian : a Tisza szabályozása) which started on August 27 1846, and substantially ended in 1880. The new length of the river in Hungary was reduced to 966 km (600 mi) in total, with 589 km (366 mi) of dead channels and 136 km (85 mi) of new riverbed.
In the 1970s, the building of the Tisza Dam at Kisköre started with the purpose of helping to control floods as well as storing water for drought seasons. However, the resulting Lake Tisza became one of the most popular tourist destinations in Hungary since it had similar features to Lake Balaton at drastically cheaper prices and was not crowded.
The Tisza is navigable over much of its course. The river opened up for international navigation only recently; before, Hungary distinguished "national rivers" and "international rivers", indicating whether non-Hungarian vessels were allowed or not. After Hungary joined the European Union, this distinction was lifted and vessels were allowed on the Tisza.
Conditions of navigation differ with the circumstances: when the river is in flood, it is often unnavigable, just as it is at times of extreme drought.
The Tisza has a rich and varied wildlife. Over 200 species of birds reside in the bird reserve of Tiszafüred. The flood plains along the river boast large amounts of diverse plant and animal life. In particular, the yearly "flowering" of the Tisza is considered a local natural wonder. The flowering attracts vast numbers of mayflies which is a well known spectacle.
In September 2020, colonies of magnificent bryozoans were discovered in the river.
In early 2000, there was a sequence of serious pollution incidents originating from accidental industrial discharges in Romania. The first, in January 2000, occurred when there was a release of sludge containing cyanide from a Romanian mine and killed 2000 tons of fish. The second, from a mine pond at Baia Borsa, northern Romania, resulted in the release of 20,000 m3 (710,000 cu ft) of sludge containing zinc, lead and copper occurred in early March 2000. A week later, the third spill occurred at the same mining site at Baia Borsa, staining the river black, possibly including heavy metals.
This series of incidents were described at the time as the most serious environmental disaster to hit central Europe since the Chernobyl disaster. Usage of river water for any purpose was temporarily banned and the Hungarian government pressed the Romanians and the European Union to close all installations that could lead to further pollution.
Examination of river sediments indicates that pollution incidents from mines have occurred for over a century.
The Tisza River is part of the Danube River catchment area. It is the tributary with the largest catchment area (~157,000 km2). It accounts for more than 19% of the Danube river basin. The Tisza water system is shared by five countries: Ukraine (8%), Slovakia (10%), Hungary (29%), Romania (46%) and Serbia (7%).
The Tisza River Basin area and average discharge (period from 1946 to 2006) by country
|Country||Area by country||Discharge by country|
|Tisza River Basin||157,186||100.0||830||26.2||100.0|
The 1800-2500 m high ridge of the Carpathian Mountains create in a semi circle the northern, eastern and southeastern boundary of the Tisza catchment. The western - southwestern reach of the watershed is comparatively low in some places – on its Hungarian and Serbian parts it is almost flat. The area is divided roughly along the centreline by the Carpathians Mountains, east of which lies the 400-600 m high plateau of the Transylvanian Basin, and the plains to the west. The highest summits of the river basin reach 1,948 m in the Low Tatras (Kráľova hoľa), 2061 m in the Chornogora Mountains (Hoverla), 2303 m in the Rodna Mountains (Pietrosul Rodnei) and even higher in the Retezat Mountains of the Southern Carpathians (Peleaga, 2509 m). Areas above elevations higher than 1600 m occupy only 1% of the total; 46% of the territory lies below 200 m. The Tisza River Basin in the Slovak Republic is predominantly hilly area and the highest mountain peak in Kráľova hoľa - in the Low Tatras Mountain Range at 1,948 m. The lowland area lies in the south, forming the northern edge of the Hungarian Lowland. The lowest point in the Slovak Republic is the village of Streda nad Bodrogom in the eastern Slovak lowland (96 m) in the Bodrog River Basin. The Hungarian and Vojvodina (Serbia) part of the Tisza River Basin is a flat area bordered by small ranges of hills and mountains from the north and dominated by the Hungarian lowland.
Important hydrographic stations along the Tisza River (full list)
|Basin size |
|Average discharge |
|Bačko Petrovo Selo||87||72||143,585||891,29|
Average, minimum and maximum discharge of the Tisza River at Tiszabecs (Upper Tisza), Szolnok (Middle Tisza) and Senta (Lower Tisza).
The following rivers are tributaries to the river Tisza:
The Tisza (Tisa) flows through the following countries and cities (ordered from the source to mouth):
Hungary is a landlocked country in East-Central Europe with a land area of 93,030 square km. It measures about 250 km from north to south and 524 km from east to west. It has 2,106 km of boundaries, shared with Austria to the west, Serbia, Croatia and Slovenia to the south and southwest, Romania to the southeast, Ukraine to the northeast, and Slovakia to the north.
Harghita County is a county (județ) in the center of Romania, in eastern Transylvania, with the county seat at Miercurea Ciuc.
Banat is a geographical and historical region that straddles Central and Eastern Europe and which is currently divided among three countries: the eastern part lies in western Romania ; the western part of Banat is in northeastern Serbia ; and a small northern part lies within southeastern Hungary.
Serbia is a small country situated at the crossroads of Central and Southeast Europe, covering the far southern edges of the Pannonian Plain and the central Balkans. It shares borders with Bosnia-Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia, Hungary, North Macedonia, Montenegro, Romania and Albania. Serbia is landlocked, though it is able to access the Adriatic Sea through Montenegro and inland Europe and the Black Sea via the Danube.
The Mureș is a 789-kilometre-long (490 mi) river in Eastern Europe. Its drainage basin covers an area of 30,332 km2 (11,711 sq mi). It originates in the Hășmașu Mare Range in the Eastern Carpathian Mountains, Romania, rising close to the headwaters of the river Olt, and joins the Tisza at Szeged in southeastern Hungary. In Romania, its length is 761 km (473 mi) and its basin size is 27,890 km2 (10,770 sq mi).
Szolnok is the county seat of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county in central Hungary. A city with county rights, it is located on the banks of the Tisza river, in the heart of the Great Hungarian Plain, which has made it an important cultural and economic crossroads for centuries. Szolnok also has one of Hungary’s best waterpolo teams.
The Körös or Criș is a river in eastern Hungary and western Romania. Its length is 128.6 km (79.9 mi) from the confluence of its two source rivers Fehér-Körös and Fekete-Körös to its outflow into the Tisza. Its drainage basin area is 27,537 km2 (10,632 sq mi). It has three source rivers, all of which have their origin in the Apuseni Mountains in Transylvania, Romania: Crișul Alb (Fehér-Körös), Crișul Negru (Fekete-Körös) and Crișul Repede (Sebes-Körös). The confluence of the rivers Fehér-Körös and Fekete-Körös is near the town Gyula. The Körös downstream from Gyula is also called the Kettős-Körös. 37.3 km further downstream, near Gyomaendrőd, the Sebes-Körös joins the Criș/Körös. The section downstream from Gyomaendrőd is also called the Hármas-Körös. The Körös flows into the Tisza River near Csongrád.
The Pannonian Basin, or Carpathian Basin, is a large basin situated in south-east 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.
The Crișul Alb (Romanian), is a river in western Romania, in the historical region of Transylvania, and in south-eastern Hungary.
The Great Hungarian Plain is a plain occupying the majority of the modern territory of Hungary. It is the largest part of the wider Pannonian Plain.. Its territory significantly shrank due to its eastern and southern boundaries being rewritten by the new political borders created after World War I when the Treaty of Trianon was signed in 1920.
The Săsar is a right tributary of the river Lăpuș in Maramureș County, Romania. It discharges into the Lăpuș in Bozânta Mare, southwest of Baia Mare. It is a medium-size river which flows through the cities of Baia Sprie and Baia Mare. Its length is 31 km (19 mi) and its basin size is 306 km2 (118 sq mi).
The Someș is a left tributary of the Tisza in Hungary and Romania. It has a length of 415 km (258 mi), of which 50 km are in Hungary. The Someș is the fifth largest river by length and volume in Romania. The hydrographic basin forms by the confluence at Mica, a commune about 4 km upstream of Dej, of Someșul Mare and Someșul Mic rivers. Someșul Mic originates in the Apuseni Mountains, and Someșul Mare springs from the Rodna Mountains.
Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok is the name of an administrative county in Hungary. It lies in central Hungary and shares borders with the Hungarian counties Pest, Heves, Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén, Hajdú-Bihar, Békés, Csongrád, and Bács-Kiskun. The rivers Tisza and Körös flow through the county. The capital of Jász-Nagykun-Szolnok county is Szolnok. Its area is 5582 km². The county is named after the Ossetians (Jasz) and Cumans (Kun) who settled there, along with Szolnok. The county was part of the Danube–Criș–Mureș–Tisa Euroregion between 1997 and 2004.
The Bega or Begej, is a 244 km long river in Romania and Serbia. It rises in the Poiana Ruscă Mountains in Romania, part of the Carpathian Mountains, and it flows into the Tisa river near Titel, Vojvodina, Serbia. Its drainage basin covers an area of 4,458 km2 (1,721 sq mi), of which 2,362 km2 (912 sq mi) in Romania.
The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, after the Volga in Russia. It flows through much of Central and Southeastern Europe, from the Black Forest into the Black Sea. A large and historically important river, it was once a frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects ten European countries, running through their territories or being a border. 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. Among the many cities on the river are 4 capitals: Vienna, Budapest, Belgrade and Bratislava. Its drainage basin amounts to 817 000 km² and extends into nine more countries.
The hydrology of Hungary, is mostly determined by Hungary's lying in the middle of the Carpathian Basin, half surrounded by the Carpathian Mountains. All parts of the country have some outflow. All surface water gravitates towards its southern center, and from there, is united in the Danube, which flows into the Black Sea. The whole of Hungary lies within the Danube drainage basin.
The 2000 Baia Mare Cyanide spill was a leak of cyanide near Baia Mare, Romania, into the Someș River by the gold mining company Aurul, a joint-venture of the Australian company Esmeralda Exploration and the Romanian government.
The Danube–Criș–Mureș–Tisa Euroregion is a euroregion located in Hungary, Romania and Serbia. It is named after four rivers: Danube, Criș, Mureș and Tisa.