THE DANUBE flow IS the longest river in western Europe, gone beyond in Europe together a entirety only through the VOLGA in RUSSIA. Fourteen nations are drained by its watershed, spanning over 312,000 square mi (800,000 square km): GERMANY, AUSTRIA (and tiny parts of eastern SWITZERLAND), the CZECH REPUBLIC, SLOVAKIA, HUNGARY (and a tiny corner that southwest UKRAINE), SLOVENIA, CROATIA, BOSNIA and also HERZEGOVINA, SERBIA and also MONTENEGRO, BULGARIA, ROMANIA, and also MOLDOVA. The river travels 1,760 mi (2,850 km) from its source in Germany's Black woodland to its big delta top top the black color SEA, passing through several of the many beautiful and also historic urban in Europe, consisting of Vienna, Budapest, and also Belgrade. The most well known stretch the the river, between Vienna and Budapest, has actually been immortalized plenty of times in paintings, poetry, and music, especially Johann Strauss, Jr.'s “An der schonen, blauen Donau” (“On the Beautiful, Blue Danube”).

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The Greeks called the Danube the “Ister,” the “Greatest of Rivers,” and also for numerous centuries it to be the border between the polite Greco-Roman world and the german barbarians come the north. Numerous centuries later, it formed the center, not the boundary, that the multiethnic Habsburg Empire, focused on Vienna and also Budapest, which was torn personal by the peace settlements after human being War I and also by the steel Curtain that the post-World war II era. Over there remains, however, some desire come reunite much of the region into a Danubian economic confederation, mirroring the truth that although language and culture divide Austrians, Hungarians, Serbs, Bulgarians and also Romanians, the river unites them v commerce and industry.

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The Danube starts in southwestern Germany, where it is dubbed the Donau. Two little rivers, the Brege and the Brigach, come together at Donaueschingen, a city in the black color Forest. That is springs lie only a few meters native streams that flow westward right into the Rhine watershed, thus finishing up in the phibìc Sea rather than the black color Sea, practically 1,000 miles (3,000 km) apart. In fact, porous rocks in this area result in lot of the water that the upper Danube in reality seeping with the rocks to sign up with the Rhine watershed, which has actually a reduced elevation.


The river is too small for navigating as it winds v the Swabian Alps, passing castles and also monasteries, and also the old German cities of Ulm and also Regensburg, once the capital of the holy Roman Empire. In ~ Passau, on the border with Austria, the Danube is joined by its an initial large tributary, the Inn. This to be historically the western terminus of commercial river traffic, especially for grain comes to main Europe indigenous the plains of Hungary, but additionally for coal and also iron ore from as much away as Russia.

In top Austria, the Danube passes some of the most renowned baroque buildings in Europe, especially Melk, the Versailles the monasteries, perched top top a hill over the flow valley. Ultimately the river broadens into the famously smooth (and generally muddy brown, no blue) Danube together it overcome by the funding cities the Vienna, Bratislava, and Budapest before turning south to overcome the vast Hungarian Plain. This plain, the breadbasket of central Europe, was additionally the site of plenty of important battles, indigenous the defeat and also forced settling of the Hungarian civilization by Emperor rose oil I in 955, to the destruction of the native Hungarian kingdom through the Turks in ~ Mohacs in 1526, and also the loss of Turkish forces after the siege that Vienna in 1683, ultimately halting their progress toward main Europe.

South the this plain, the flow again beginning mountainous regions, guarded through the fortress city of Belgrade. In these middle reaches, the flow (called Duna in Hungarian and also Dunav in Serbian) receives its biggest tributaries, the Tisza, i m sorry drains the east Hungarian Plain, the historic an ar of Transylvania (northwestern Romania), and southwestern Ukraine; and also the Drava and Sava, i m sorry receive many of the waters the Slovenia, Croatia and Bosnia and also Herzegovina.

IRON GATES

In Serbia, the river's course meanders as it cut passages with the confluence that the easternmost ALPS and also the Carpathian Mountains. In ~ its narrowest, the river passes through the iron Gates, the site of one of Europe's largest hydroelectric projects, the Djerdap, which offers almost half of the power consumed by Serbia and Romania. The other major hydroelectric task on the Danube is the Gabcikovo dam, in Slovakia. This dam, built in 1992, produced a large 11-mi (24 km) reservoir, with major ecological consequences downstream in Hungary. Originally a partner in the project, Hungary withdrew through the autumn of communism, causing severe tensions with the Slovak government. Other fabricated projects along the river's course incorporate the Rhein-Main-Donau Kanal, constructed in 1992, which links the phibìc Sea to the black color Sea, though it is still mainly underused.


The reduced course that the Danube forms the border in between Bulgaria and Romania, v a vast drainage container between the Carpathian and also Balkan hill ranges come the north and south. The river ends in a substantial DELTA in Romania, the largest in Europe, with an area the 1,700 square mi (4,345 square km). Component of the delta additionally lies in the Ukraine. Flow at the mouth of the Danube averages 229,450 cubic ft (6,500 cubic m) every second, however has been recorded at 10 times this volume during high flooding. Some 122 million lots of sediment is discharged every year, developing one that the many extensive and fertile wetlands ~ above Earth. Most of this is now defended by the Danube Delta Biosphere Reserve, 1.7 million acre (679,222 hectares) the marshes and lakes, claimed a UNESCO human being Heritage website in 1991.

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The Romanian city the Galati, whereby the last significant Danubian tributary, the Prut, beginning the container from Moldova come the north, is the river's chief port for oceangoing vessels, although that is 90 mi (145 km) native the black color Sea. Pearls traverse the biggest of the three key Danube networks (the Sfintu Gheorghe) to get in the black Sea, and also thus come the Mediterranean. It is estimated that 100 million loads of cargo room transported every year on the Danube as a whole, basic the financial importance that this waterway to lot of central and eastern Europe.