|Native name||Wisła (Polish)|
|Towns/Cities||Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Gdańsk|
|• location||Barania Góra, Silesian Beskids|
|• elevation||1,106 m (3,629 ft)|
| Mikoszewo, Gdańsk Bay, Baltic Sea,|
Przekop channel near Świbno, Poland
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||1,047 km (651 mi)|
|Basin size||193,960 km2 (74,890 sq mi)|
|• location||Gdańsk Bay, Baltic Sea, Mikoszewo|
|• average||1,080 m3/s (38,000 cu ft/s)|
|• left||Nida, Pilica, Bzura, Brda, Wda|
|• right||Dunajec, Wisłoka, San, Wieprz, Narew, Drwęca|
The Vistula ( // ; Polish : Wisła, Polish pronunciation: [ˈvʲiswa] ( listen )) is the longest river in Poland and the 9th-longest river in Europe, at 1,047 kilometres (651 miles) in length. The drainage basin, reaching into three other nations, covers 193,960 km2 (74,890 sq mi), of which 168,868 km2 (65,200 sq mi) is in Poland.
The Vistula rises at Barania Góra in the south of Poland, 1,220 meters (4,000 ft) above sea level in the Silesian Beskids (western part of Carpathian Mountains), where it begins with the Little White Vistula (Biała Wisełka) and the Black Little Vistula (Czarna Wisełka). It flows through Poland's largest cities, including Kraków, Sandomierz, Warsaw, Płock, Włocławek, Toruń, Bydgoszcz, Świecie, Grudziądz, Tczew and Gdańsk. It empties into the Vistula Lagoon (Zalew Wiślany) or directly into the Gdańsk Bay of the Baltic Sea with a delta of six main branches (Leniwka, Przekop, Śmiała Wisła, Martwa Wisła, Nogat and Szkarpawa).
The river is often associated with Polish culture, history and national identity. It is the country's most important waterway and natural symbol, and the term "Vistula Land" (Polish : kraj nad Wisłą) can be synonymous with Poland.
The name Vistula first appears in the written record of Pomponius Mela (3.33) in AD 40. Pliny in AD 77 in his Natural History names the river Vistla (4.81, 4.97, 4.100). The root of the name Vistula, Indo-European *u̯eis-: 'to ooze, flow slowly' (cf. Sanskrit अवेषन् (avēṣan) "they flowed", Old Norse veisa "slime") appears in many European river-names (e.g. Weser, Viesinta). The diminutive endings -ila, -ula, occur in many tongues in the Indo-European family, including Latin (see Caligula, Ursula).
In writing about the river and its peoples, Ptolemy uses Greek spelling: Ouistoula. Other ancient sources spell the name Istula. Ammianus Marcellinus referred to the Bisula (Book 22) in the 380s. In the 6th century Jordanes ( Getica 5 & 17) used Viscla.
The Anglo-Saxon poem Widsith refers to the Wistla.The 12th-century Polish chronicler Wincenty Kadłubek Latinised the river's name as Vandalus, a form presumably influenced by Lithuanian vanduõ 'water'. Jan Długosz (1415-1480) in his Annales seu cronicae incliti regni Poloniae contextually points to the river, stating "of the eastern nations, of the Polish east, from the brightness of the water the White Water...so named" (Alba aqua), perhaps referring to the White Little Vistula (Biała Wisełka).
In the course of history the river has borne similar names in different languages: German : Weichsel, Low German : Wießel, Dutch : Wijsel, Yiddish : ווייסלYiddish pronunciation: [vajsl̩] and Russian : Висла.
The Vistula river rises in the southern Silesian Voivodeship close to the tripoint involving Czechia and Slovakia from two sources: the Czarna ("Black") Wisełka at altitude 1,107 m (3,632 ft) and the Biała ("White") Wisełka at altitude 1,080 m (3,540 ft). Both are on the western slope of Barania Góra in the Silesian Beskids in Poland.
The Vistula can be divided into three parts: upper, from its sources to Sandomierz; center, from Sandomierz to the confluences with the Narew and Bug; and bottom, from the confluence with the Narew to the sea.
The Vistula river basin covers 194,424 square kilometres (75,068 square miles) (in Poland 168,700 square kilometres (65,135 square miles)); its average altitude is 270 metres (886 feet) above sea level. In addition, the majority of its river basin (55%) is 100 to 200 m above sea level; over 3⁄4 of the river basin ranges from 100 to 300 metres (328 to 984 feet) in altitude. The highest point of the river basin is at 2,655 metres (8,711 feet) (Gerlach Peak in the Tatra mountains). One of the features of the river basin of the Vistula is its asymmetry—in great measure resulting from the tilting direction of the Central European Lowland toward the northwest, the direction of the flow of glacial waters, and considerable predisposition of its older base. The asymmetry of the river basin (right-hand to left-hand side) is 73–27%.
The most recent glaciation of the Pleistocene epoch, which ended around 10,000 BC, is called the Vistulian glaciation or Weichselian glaciation in regard to north-central Europe.
|Wisła (Silesian Voivodeship)||river source: Biała Wisełka and Czarna Wisełka|
|Kraków (Cracow)||Sanka, Rudawa, Prądnik, Dłubnia, Wilga (most are canalized streams)|
|Józefów nad Wisłą|
|Solec nad Wisłą|
|Warsaw||Żerań canal (incl. several smaller streams)|
|Czerwińsk nad Wisłą|
|Płock||Słupianka, Rosica, Brzeźnica, Skrwa Lewa, Skrwa Prawa|
|Dobrzyń nad Wisłą|
The river forms a wide delta called the Żuławy Wiślane. The delta currently starts around Biała Góra near Sztum, about 50 km (31 mi) from the mouth, where the river Nogat splits off. The Nogat also starts separately as a river named (on this map ) Alte Nogat (Old Nogat) south of Kwidzyn, but further north it picks up water from a crosslink with the Vistula, and becomes a distributary of the Vistula, flowing away northeast into the Vistula Lagoon (Polish: Zalew Wiślany) with a small delta. The Nogat formed part of the border between East Prussia and interwar Poland. The other channel of the Vistula below this point is sometimes called the Leniwka.
Various causes (rain, snow melt, ice jams) have caused many severe floods of the Vistula down the centuries. Land in the area was sometimes depopulated by severe flooding, and later had to be resettled.
See (Figure 7, on page 812 at History of floods on the River Vistula) for a reconstruction map of the delta area as it was around the year 1300: note much more water in the area, and the west end of the Vistula Lagoon (Frisches Haff) was bigger and nearly continuous with the Drausen See.
As with some aggrading rivers, the lower Vistula has been subject to channel changing.
Near the sea, the Vistula was diverted sideways by coastal sand as a result of longshore drift and split into an east-flowing branch (the Elbing (Elbląg) Vistula, Elbinger Weichsel, Szkarpawa, flows into the Vistula Lagoon, now for flood control closed to the east with a lock) and a west-flowing branch (the Danzig (Gdańsk) Vistula, Przegalinie branch, reached the sea in Danzig). Until the 14th century, the Elbing Vistula was the bigger.
|Malbork||Gdańsk||Motława, Radunia, Potok Oliwski||in the city the river divides into several separate branches that reach the Baltic Sea at different points, the main branch reaches the sea at Westerplatte|
|Elbląg||Elbląg||shortly before reaching Vistula Bay|
List of right and left tributaries with a nearby city, from source to mouth:
|Right tributaries||Left tributaries|
According to flood studies carried out by Professor Zbigniew Pruszak, who is the co-author of the scientific paper Implications of SLRand further studies carried out by scientists attending Poland's Final International ASTRA Conference, and predictions stated by climate scientists at the climate change pre-summit in Copenhagen, it is highly likely most of the Vistula Delta region (which is below sea level ) will be flooded due to the sea level rise caused by climate change by 2100.
The history of the River Vistula and its valley spans over 2 million years. The river is connected to the geological period called the Quaternary, in which distinct cooling of the climate took place. In the last million years, an ice sheet entered the area of Poland eight times, bringing along with it changes of reaches of the river. In warmer periods, when the ice sheet retreated, the Vistula deepened and widened its valley. The river took its present shape within the last 14,000 years, after the complete recession of the Scandinavian ice sheet from the area. At present, along with the Vistula valley, erosion of the banks and collecting of new deposits are still occurring.
As the principal river of Poland, the Vistula is also in the center of Europe. Three principal geographical and geological land masses of the continent meet in its river basin: the lowland Eastern Europe a shield (the area of uplands and low mountains of Western Europe), and the Alpine zone of high mountains to which the Alps and the Carpathians belong. The Vistula begins in the Carpathian mountains. The run and character of the river were shaped by ice sheets flowing down from the Scandinavian peninsula. The last ice sheet entered the area of Poland about 20,000 years ago. During periods of warmer weather, the ancient Vistula, "Pra-Wisła", searched for the shortest way to the sea—thousands of years ago it flowed into the North Sea somewhere at the latitude of contemporary Scotland. The climate of the Vistula valley, its plants, animals, and its very character changed considerably during the process of glacial retreat.
The Vistula is navigable from the Baltic Sea to Bydgoszcz (where the Bydgoszcz Canal joins the river). The Vistula can accommodate modest river vessels of CEMT class II. Farther upstream the river depth lessens. Although a project was undertaken to increase the traffic-carrying capacity of the river upstream of Warsaw by building a number of locks in and around Kraków, this project was not extended further, so that navigability of the Vistula remains limited. The potential of the river would increase considerably if a restoration of the East-West connection via the Narew – Bug – Mukhovets – Pripyat – Dnieper waterways were considered. The shifting economic importance of parts of Europe may make this option more likely.
The Vistula is the northern part of the proposed E40 waterway, continuing eastward into the Bug River, linking the Baltic Sea to the Black Sea.
Large parts of the Vistula Basin were occupied by the Iron Age Lusatian and Przeworsk cultures in the first millennium BC. Genetic analysis indicates that there has been an unbroken genetic continuity[ clarification needed ] of the inhabitants over the last 3,500 years. The Vistula Basin along with the lands of the Rhine, Danube, Elbe, and Oder came to be called Magna Germania by Roman authors of the 1st century AD. This does not imply that the inhabitants were "Germanic peoples" in the modern sense of the term; Tacitus, when describing the Venethi, Peucini and Fenni, wrote that he was not sure if he should call them Germans, since they had settlements and they fought on foot, or rather Sarmatians since they have some similar customs to them. Ptolemy, in the 2nd century AD, would describe the Vistula as the border between Germania and Sarmatia.
The Vistula river used to be connected to the Dnieper River, and thence to the Black Sea via the Augustów Canal, a technological marvel with numerous sluices contributing to its aesthetic appeal. It was the first waterway in Central Europe to provide a direct link between the two major rivers, the Vistula and the Neman. It provided a link with the Black Sea to the south through the Oginski Canal, Dnieper River, Berezina Canal, and Dvina River. The Baltic Sea– Vistula– Dnieper– Black Sea route with its rivers was one of the most ancient trade routes, the Amber Road, on which amber and other items were traded from Northern Europe to Greece, Asia, Egypt, and elsewhere.
The Vistula estuary was settled by Slavs in the 7th and 8th century.Based on archeological and linguistic findings, it has been postulated that these settlers moved northward along the Vistula river. This however contradicts another hypothesis supported by some researchers saying the Veleti moved westward from the Vistula delta.
A number of West Slavic Polish tribes formed small dominions beginning in the 8th century, some of which coalesced later into larger ones. Among the tribes listed in the Bavarian Geographer's 9th-century document was the Vistulans (Wiślanie) in southern Poland. Kraków and Wiślica were their main centers.
Many Polish legends are connected with the Vistula and the beginnings of Polish statehood. One of the most enduring is that about princess Wanda co nie chciała Niemca (who rejected the German).According to the most popular variant, popularized by the 15th-century historian Jan Długosz, Wanda, daughter of King Krak, became queen of the Poles upon her father's death. She refused to marry a German prince Rytigier (Rüdiger), who took offence and invaded Poland, but was repelled. Wanda however committed suicide, drowning in the Vistula river, to ensure he would not invade her country again.
For hundreds of years the river was one of the main trading arteries of Poland, and the castles that line its banks were highly prized possessions. Salt, timber, grain, and building stone were among goods shipped via that route between the 10th and 13th centuries.
In the 14th century the lower Vistula was controlled by the Teutonic Knights Order, invited in 1226 by Konrad I of Masovia to help him fight the pagan Prussians on the border of his lands. In 1308 the Teutonic Knights captured the Gdańsk castle and murdered the population.Since then the event is known as the Gdańsk slaughter. The Order had inherited Gniew from Sambor II, thus gaining a foothold on the left bank of the Vistula. Many granaries and storehouses, built in the 14th century, line the banks of the Vistula. In the 15th century the city of Gdańsk gained great importance in the Baltic area as a centre of merchants and trade and as a port city. At this time the surrounding lands were inhabited by Pomeranians, but Gdańsk soon became a starting point for German settlement of the largely fallow Vistulan country.
Before its peak in 1618, trade increased by a factor of 20 from 1491. This factor is evident when looking at the tonnage of grain traded on the river in the key years of: 1491: 14,000; 1537: 23,000; 1563: 150,000; 1618: 310,000.
In the 16th century most of the grain exported was leaving Poland through Gdańsk, which because of its location at the end of the Vistula and its tributary waterway and of its Baltic seaport trade role became the wealthiest, most highly developed, and by far the largest center of crafts and manufacturing, and the most autonomous of the Polish cities.Other towns were negatively affected by Gdańsk's near-monopoly in foreign trade. During the reign of Stephen Báthory Poland ruled two main Baltic Sea ports: Gdańsk controlling the Vistula river trade and Riga controlling the Western Dvina trade. Both cities were among the largest in the country. Around 70% the exports from Gdańsk were of grain.
Grain was also the largest export commodity of the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth. The volume of traded grain can be considered a good and well-measured proxy for the economic growth of the Commonwealth.
The owner of a folwark usually signed a contract with the merchants of Gdańsk, who controlled 80% of this inland trade, to ship the grain to Gdańsk. Many rivers in the Commonwealth were used for shipping, including the Vistula, which had a relatively well-developed infrastructure, with river ports and granaries. Most river shipping travelled north, with southward transport being less profitable, and barges and rafts often being sold off in Gdańsk for lumber.
In order to arrest recurrent flooding on the lower Vistula, the Prussian government in 1889–95 constructed an artificial channel about 12 kilometres (7 miles) east of Gdańsk (German name: Danzig)—known as the Vistula Cut (German: Weichseldurchstich; Polish: Przekop Wisły)—that acted as a huge sluice, diverting much of the Vistula flow directly into the Baltic. As a result, the historic Vistula channel through Gdańsk lost much of its flow and was known thereafter as the Dead Vistula (German: Tote Weichsel; Polish: Martwa Wisła). German states acquired complete control of the region in 1795–1812 (see: Partitions of Poland), as well as during the World Wars, in 1914–1918 and 1939–1945.
From 1867 to 1917, the Russian tsarist administration called the Kingdom of Poland the Vistula Land after the collapse of the January Uprising (1863–1865).
Almost 75% of the territory of interbellum Poland was drained northward into the Baltic Sea by the Vistula (total area of drainage basin of the Vistula within boundaries of the Second Polish Republic was 180,300 km²), the Niemen (51,600 km²), the Odra (46,700 km²) and the Daugava (10,400 km²).
In 1920 the decisive battle of the Polish–Soviet War Battle of Warsaw (sometimes referred to as the Miracle at the Vistula), was fought as Red Army forces commanded by Mikhail Tukhachevsky approached the Polish capital of Warsaw and nearby Modlin Fortress by the river's mouth.[ citation needed ]
The Polish September campaign included battles over control of the mouth of the Vistula, and of the city of Gdańsk, close to the river delta. During the Invasion of Poland (1939), after the initial battles in Pomerelia, the remains of the Polish Army of Pomerania withdrew to the southern bank of the Vistula.After defending Toruń for several days, the army withdrew further south under pressure of the overall strained strategic situation, and took part in the main battle of Bzura.
The Auschwitz complex of concentration camps was at the confluence of the Vistula and the Soła rivers.Ashes of murdered Auschwitz victims were dumped into the river.
During World War II prisoners of war from the Nazi Stalag XX-B camp were assigned to cut ice blocks from the River Vistula. The ice would then be transported by truck to the local beer houses[ citation needed ].
The 1944 Warsaw Uprising was planned with the expectation that the Soviet forces, who had arrived in the course of their offensive and were waiting on the other side of the Vistula River in full force, would help in the battle for Warsaw.However, the Soviets let down the Poles, stopping their advance at the Vistula and branding the insurgents as criminals in radio broadcasts.
In early 1945, in the Vistula–Oder Offensive, the Red Army crossed the Vistula and drove the German Wehrmacht back past the Oder river in Germany.
Elbląg is a city in northern Poland on the eastern edge of the Żuławy region with 119,317 inhabitants. It is the capital of Elbląg County and has been assigned to the Warmian-Masurian Voivodeship. Previously it was the capital of Elbląg Voivodeship (1975–1998) and a county seat within Gdańsk Voivodeship (1945–1975).
Gdańsk is a city on the Baltic coast of northern Poland. With a population of 470,907, Gdańsk is the capital and largest city of the Pomeranian Voivodeship and the most prominent city in the geographical region of Pomerania. It is Poland's principal seaport and the country's fourth-largest metropolitan area.
Truso was a Medieval Old Prussian town and trading center at the banks of the Nogat delta branch of the Vistula River, close to a bay, where it emptied into the shallow and brackish Vistula Lagoon. This sizeable lagoon is separated from the Gdańsk Bay by the Vistula Spit at the southern Baltic Sea coast. In the 9th century, the merchant Wulfstan of Hedeby travelled to Truso in the service of the English King Alfred the Great and wrote his account of the place at a prominent location of the Amber Road, which attracted merchants from central and southern Europe, who supplied the markets in the Mediterranean and the Middle East with the highly valued commodity.
Prussia is a historical region in Europe on the south-eastern coast of the Baltic Sea, that ranges from the Gulf of Gdańsk in the west to the end of the Curonian Spit in the east and extends inland as far as Masuria. Tacitus's Germania is the oldest known record of an eyewitness account on the territory and its inhabitants. Pliny the Elder had already confirmed that the Romans had navigated into the waters beyond the Cimbric peninsula (Jutland). Suiones, Sitones, Goths and other Germanic people had settled to the east and west of the Vistula River, adjacent to the Aesti, who lived further to the east.
Sobieszewo Island is an island on the Baltic sea, between the Gdańsk Bay and the delta of Vistula river. The island is part of the territory of the city of Gdańsk, Poland.
Gdańsk Bay or the Gulf of Gdańsk is a southeastern bay of the Baltic Sea. It is named after the adjacent port city of Gdańsk in Poland.
The Nogat is a 62 km long delta branch of the Vistula River. Unlike the main river, it does not empty into Gdańsk Bay but rather into the Vistula Lagoon.
Gdańsk is one of the oldest cities in Poland. Founded by the Polish ruler Mieszko I in the 10th century, the city was for a long time part of Piast state either directly or as a fief. In 1308 the city became part of the Monastic State of the Teutonic Knights until 1454. Thereafter it became part of Poland again, although with increasing autonomy. A vital naval city for Polish grain trade it attracted people from all over the European continent. The city was taken over by Prussia during the Second Partition of Poland in 1793 and subsequently lost its importance as a trading port. Briefly becoming a free city during Napoleonic wars, it was again Prussian after Napoleon's defeat, and later became part of the newly created German Empire.
The Martwa Wisła is a river, one of the branches of the Vistula, flowing through the city of Gdańsk in northern Poland.
The Vistula Spit is an aeolian sand spit, or peninsular stretch of land that separates Vistula Lagoon from Gdańsk Bay, in the Baltic Sea, with its tip separated from the mainland by the Strait of Baltiysk. The border between Poland and Kaliningrad Oblast, a semi-exclave of Russia, bisects it, politically dividing the spit in half between the two countries. The westernmost geographical point of Russia is located on the Vistula Spit. The Polish part contains a number of tourist resorts, incorporated administratively as the town of Krynica Morska.
Drużno is a body of water historically considered a lake in northern Poland on the east side of the Vistula delta, near the city of Elbląg. As it is currently not deep enough to qualify as a lake hydrologically and receives some periodic inflow of sea water from the Vistula Lagoon along the Elbląg River, some suggest that it be termed an estuary reservoir. A village of recent origin also called Drużno is situated near the lake.
The Castle of the Teutonic Order in Malbork is a 13th-century Teutonic castle and fortress located near the town of Malbork, Poland. It is the largest castle in the world measured by land area and a UNESCO World Heritage Site.
Vistula Germans are ethnic Germans who had settled in what became known after the 1863 Polish rebellion as the Vistula Territory. This territory, so designated by the ruling Russians of the time, encompassed most of the Vistula River watershed of central Poland up to just east of Toruń (Thorn).
Żuławy Wiślane is the alluvial delta area of Vistula, in the northern part of Poland, in large part reclaimed artificially by means of dykes, pumps, channels and extensive drainage system. Its shape is similar to a reversed triangle formed by branching of Vistula into two separate rivers, Leniwka and Nogat at its height, confined by rivers themselves, and closed by Mierzeja Wiślana at its base. It is a deforested, agricultural plain that covers about 1000 square km.
The Oder is a river in Central Europe. It is Poland's second-longest river in total length and third-longest within its borders after the Vistula and Warta. The Oder rises in the Czech Republic and flows 742 kilometres (461 mi) through western Poland, later forming 187 kilometres (116 mi) of the border between Poland and Germany as part of the Oder–Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoon north of Szczecin and then into three branches that empty into the Bay of Pomerania of the Baltic Sea.
Vistula delta Mennonites were a historic Mennonite community, established in the mid-16th century in the Vistula river delta in Poland. It originated from the Netherlands and present-day northern Germany. The Mennonite community played an important role in the drainage and cultivation of the Vistula delta and the trade relations with the Netherlands. In the late 18th century a significant number of Mennonites emigrated further and formed the nucleus of the Mennonite settlements in Russia, while many remained in the region after the annexation of the region by Prussia in the Partitions of Poland. With the end of World War II and the flight and expulsion of Germans the mennonite settlements in the Vistula delta ceased to exist.
Poland is a country that extends across the North European Plain from the Sudetes and Carpathian Mountains in the south to the sandy beaches of the Baltic Sea in the north. Poland is the fifth-most populous country of the European Union and the ninth-largest country in Europe by area. The territory of Poland covers approximately 312,696 km2 (120,733 sq mi), of which 98.52% is land and 1.48% is water. The Polish coastline was estimated at 770 km (478 mi) in length. Poland's highest point is Mount Rysy, at 2,499 m (8,199 ft).
The Vistula Lagoon is a brackish water lagoon on the Baltic Sea roughly 56 miles (90 km) long, 6 to 15 miles wide, and up to 17 feet (5 m) deep, separated from the Gdańsk Bay by the Vistula Spit. The modern German name, Frisches Haff, is derived from an earlier form, Friesisches Haff.
Pomesanians were one of the Prussian clans. They lived in Pomesania, a historical region in modern northern Poland, located between the Nogat and Vistula Rivers to the west and the Elbląg River to the east. It is located around the modern towns of Elbląg and Malbork. As the westernmost clan, the Pomesanians were the first of the Prussians to be conquered by the Teutonic Knights, a German military crusading order brought to the Chełmno Land to convert the pagans to Christianity. Due to Germanization and assimilation, Pomesanians became extinct some time in the 17th century.
Zantyr is a lost Teutonic Order castle with established commandry and town with cathedral, seat of the bishopric. In early 13th century it was located at present day Pomeranian Voivodeship, in Sztum County, in in the municipality of Sztum, south of the village Uśnice or in the region Biała Góra at the confluence of the rivers Nogat and Vistula. Here, at the southern end of the Vistula delta region, resides the Nogat River Protected Landscape Area. During it brief history Zantyr was contested between Swietopelk II, Duke of Pomerania, State of the Teutonic Order and Bishopric of Pomesania. At the end around year 1280 castle and town were reestablished at new location and became known as Malbork Castle.
Vistula - the most important and the longest river in Poland, and the largest river in the area of the Baltic Sea. The length of Vistula is 1047 km.
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