} The Dnieper is one of the major rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. It is the longest river of Ukraine and Belarus and the fourth-longest river in Europe, after Volga, Danube and Ural. The total length is approximately with a drainage basin of . Historically, the river was an important barrier, dividing Ukraine into right and left banks. Nowadays, the river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations. The Dnieper is an important navigable waterway for the economy of Ukraine and is connected via the Dnieper–Bug Canal to other waterways in Europe. In antiquity, the river was known to the Greeks as the Borysthenes and was part of the Amber Road.

Etymology and name in various languages

The name ''Dnieper'' may be derived either from Sarmatian "the river on the far side" or from Scythian (Dānapr) "deep river". By way of contrast, the name Dniester either derives from "the close river" or from a combination of Scythian ''Dānu'' (river) and ''Ister'', the Thracian name for the Dniester.

Names in local languages

In the languages of the three countries it flows through it has essentially the same name, albeit with different pronunciations: * rus|Днепр|r=Dnepr|p=ˈdʲnʲepr; formerly spelled ; * be|Дняпро|translit=Dnyapro, , or , ; * uk|Дніпро|translit=Dnipro, ; poetic ; formerly , , or older (, ).

Other names

* The late Greek and Roman authors called it – and respectively * Old East Slavic name used at the time of Kievan Rus' was or * The Huns called it ''Var'', * Bulgars – ''Buri-Chai''. * Its former name in the Tatar language is ''Üze'', from Kipchak ''Uzeu''. * The name in crh|Özü, hence Ochakiv (formerly Özü-cale, Dnieper fortress) * In Romanian, it is called "Nipru". The river is mentioned both by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC as ().


The total length of the river is variously given as or , of which are within Russia, are within Belarus, and are within Ukraine. Its basin covers , of which are within Ukraine, are within Belarus. The source of the Dnieper is the sedge bogs (Akseninsky Mokh) of the Valdai Hills in central Russia, at an elevation of . For of its length, it serves as the border between Belarus and Ukraine. Its estuary, or liman, used to be defended by the strong fortress of Ochakiv. The southernmost point in Belarus is on the Dnieper to the south of Kamaryn in Brahin Raion.

Tributaries of the Dnieper

The Dnieper has many tributaries (up to 32,000) with 89 being rivers of 100+ km.Splendid Dnieper. There is no straighter river
Ukrinform. 4 July 2015
The main ones are, from its source to its mouth: * Vyazma (L) * Vop (R) * Khmost (R) * Myareya (L) * Drut (R) * Berezina (R) * Sozh (L) * Prypiat (R) * Teteriv (R) * Irpin (R) * Desna (L) * Stuhna (R) * Trubizh (L) * Ros (R) * Tiasmyn (R) * Supiy (L) * Sula (L) * Psyol (L) * Vorskla (L) * Oril (L) * Samara (L) * Konka (L) * Bilozerka (L) * Bazavluk (R) * Inhulets (R) Many small direct tributaries also exist, such as, in the Kyiv area, the Syrets (right bank) in the north of the city, the historically significant Lybid (right bank) passing west of the centre, and the Borshahivka (right bank) to the south. The water resources of the Dnieper basin compose around 80% out of all Ukraine.


Dnieper Rapids were part of trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, first mentioned in the Kyiv Chronicle. The route was probably established in the late eighth and early ninth centuries and gained significant importance from the tenth until the first third of the eleventh century. On the Dnieper the Varangians had to portage their ships round seven rapids, where they had to be on guard for Pecheneg nomads. Along this middle flow of the Dnieper, there were nine major rapids (although some sources cite a fewer number of them), obstructing almost the whole width of the river, about 30–40 smaller rapids, obstructing only part of the river, and about 60 islands and islets. After the Dnieper hydroelectric station was built in 1932, they were inundated by Dnieper Reservoir.


There are a number of canals connected to the Dnieper: *The Dnieper–Donbas Canal; *The Dnieper–Kryvyi Rih Canal; *The Kakhovka Canal (southeast of the Kherson region); *The Krasnoznamianka Irrigation System in the southwest of the Kherson region; *The North Crimean Canal—will largely solve the water problem of the peninsula, especially in the arid northern and eastern Crimea; *The Inhulets Irrigation System.


The river is part of the quagga mussel's native range. The mussel has been accidentally introduced around the world, where it has become an invasive species.


The city of Kherson is nearest to the Dnieper estuary. It has no large port facilities.


Nowadays the Dnieper River suffers from anthropogenic influence and obtain numerous emissions of pollutants. The Dnieper is close to the Prydniprovsky Chemical Plant radioactive dumps (near Kamianske), and susceptible to leakages of radioactive waste. The river is also close to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station (Chernobyl Exclusion Zone) that is located next to the mouth of the Prypiat River.


Almost of the river is navigational (to the city of Dorogobuzh). The Dnieper is important for the transport and economy of Ukraine: its reservoirs have large ship locks, allowing vessels of up to to access as far as the port of Kyiv and thus create an important transport corridor. The river is used by passenger vessels as well. Inland cruises on the rivers Danube and Dnieper have been a growing market in recent decades. Upstream from Kyiv, the Dnieper receives the water of the Pripyat River. This navigable river connects to the Dnieper-Bug canal, the link with the Bug River. Historically, a connection with the Western European waterways was possible, but a weir without any ship lock near the town of Brest, Belarus, has interrupted this international waterway. Poor political relations between Western Europe and Belarus mean there is little likelihood of reopening this waterway in the near future. River navigation is interrupted each year by freezing in winter, and severe winter storms.

Reservoirs and hydroelectric power

From the mouth of the Prypiat River to the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, there are six sets of dams and hydroelectric stations, which produce 10% of Ukraine's electricity. The first constructed was the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (or DniproHES) near Zaporizhzhia, built between 1927 and 1932 with an output of 558 MW. It was destroyed during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1948 with an output of 750 MW.

Regions and cities


File:Днепр код Кијева.jpg|The Dnieper River in Kyiv, Ukraine File:Dorogobuzh.jpg|The Dnieper River in Dorogobuzh, Russian Empire, before 1917 File:Dnieper River from Kryukivs'kyi bridge in Kremenchuk, Ukraine.jpg|The Dnieper River in Kremenchuk, Ukraine


Major cities, over 100,000 in population, are in bold script. Cities and towns located on the Dnieper are listed in order from the river's source (in Russia) to its mouth (in Ukraine): Arheimar, a capital of the Goths, was located on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar saga.

In the arts


The River Dnieper has been a subject of chapter X of a story by Nikolai Gogol ''A Terrible Vengeance'' (1831, published in 1832 as a part of the ''Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka'' short stories collection). It is considered as a classical example of description of the nature in Russian literature. The river was also described in the works of Taras Shevchenko.

Visual arts

The River Dnieper has been a subject for artists, great and minor, over the centuries. Major artists with works based on the Dnieper are Arkhip Kuindzhi and Ivan Aivazovsky.


The River Dnieper makes an appearance in the 1964 Hungarian drama film ''The Sons of the Stone-Hearted Man'' (based on the novel of the same name by Mór Jókai), where it appears when two characters are leaving Saint Petersburg but get attacked by wolves. In 1983, the concert program "Song of the Dnieper" from the "Victory Salute" series was released, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Kiev from the German fascist invaders. The program includes songs by Soviet composers, Ukrainian folk songs and dances performed by the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Kiev Military District led by A. Pustovalov, P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble, Kyiv Bandurist Capella, the Military Band of the Headquarters of the Kiev Military District led by A. Kuzmenko, singers Anatoliy Mokrenko, Lyudmila Zykina, Anatoliy Solovianenko, Dmytro Hnatyuk, Mykola Hnatyuk. Filming on the battlefield, streets and squares of Kiev. Scriptwriter - Victor Meerovsky. Directed by Victor Cherkasov. Operator - Alexander Platonov.


In 1941, Mark Fradkin wrote "Song of the Dnieper" to the words of Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky.

Image gallery

File:Plersch-Odjazd Katarzyny II z Kaniowa w 1787 roku.jpg|''Catherine II leaving Kaniów in 1787'' by Johann Gottlieb Plersch File:Archip Iwanowitsch Kuindshi 001.jpg|''Dnieper'' by Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1881 File:Archip Iwanowitsch Kuindshi 006.jpg|''Moonlit Night on the Dnieper'' by Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1882 File:Aivazovsky Ice on Dnipro.jpg|''Ice in the Dnieper'' by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1872 StanislawskiJan.DnieprSzafirowy.1904.ws.jpg|''Sapphire Dnieper'' by Jan Stanisławski, 1904

Popular culture

* The river is one of the symbols of the Ukrainian nation and is mentioned in the national anthem of Ukraine. * There are several names that connect the name of the river with Ukraine: Overdnieper Ukraine, Right-bank Ukraine, Left-bank Ukraine, and others. Some of the cities on its banks — Dnipro, Dniprorudne, Kamianka-Dniprovska — are named after the river. * The Zaporozhian Cossacks lived on the lower Dnieper and their name refers to their location "beyond the rapids". * The river is referred to as ''Dnipro'', in the song "Hey, Dnipro, Dnipro". * The folk metal band Turisas have a song called "The Dnieper Rapids" on their 2007 album ''The Varangian Way''. * Leon Bolier featured a track called "Dnipro" in his debut 2-CD album ''Pictures''. The track is said to be inspired by his visit to Kyiv in May 2008. * Roberto Bolaño's novel ''2666'' features the Dnieper as a significant feature of the village of Hans Reiter. * Beat laureate Spencer Hash spent childhood summers observing tide patterns in the Dnieper. It provides the backdrop for most of his 1998 novel ''Embassy''.

See also

* Threat of the Dnieper reservoirs * List of rivers of Russia * List of rivers of Belarus * List of rivers of Ukraine * Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks

References and footnotes

External links

* Volodymyr Kubijovyč, Ivan Teslia
Dnieper River
at th
''Encyclopedia of Ukraine''

Site about Dnieper
objects over the river, photos, facts

* "Комсомольская правда" об угрозах плотины Киевской ГЭС и водохранилищ

* "Аргументы и факты" о реальных угрозах дамбы Киевского водохранилища и ГЭ

* "Известия" о проблематике плотины Киевского водохранилища и ГЭ

* Эксперт УНИАН об угрозах дамбы Киевского водохранилищ

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