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The Danube ( ; ) is a
river A river is a natural flowing watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, sea, lake or another river. In some cases, a river flows into the ground and becomes dry at the end of its course without reaching another body of wate ...
that was once a long-standing frontier of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows southeast for , passing through or bordering Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia, Serbia, Romania, Bulgaria, Moldova, and Ukraine before draining into the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. Its
drainage basin A drainage basin is an area of land where all flowing surface water converges to a single point, such as a river mouth, or flows into another body of water, such as a lake or ocean. A basin is separated from adjacent basins by a perimeter ...
extends into nine more countries. The largest cities on the river are
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
,
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
,
Belgrade Belgrade ( , ;, ; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city in Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in So ...
and
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; german: Preßburg/Pressburg ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 475,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 — approxim ...
, all of which are the capitals of their respective countries; the Danube passes through four capital cities, more than any other river in the world. Five more capital cities lie in the Danube's basin:
Bucharest Bucharest ( , ; ro, București ) is the capital and largest city of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Eu ...
,
Sofia Sofia ( ; bg, София, Sofiya, ) is the Capital city, capital and List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, largest city of Bulgaria. It is situated in the Sofia Valley at the foot of the Vitosha mountain in the western parts of the country. ...
,
Zagreb Zagreb ( , , , ) is the capital (political), capital and List of cities and towns in Croatia#List of cities and towns, largest city of Croatia. It is in the Northern Croatia, northwest of the country, along the Sava river, at the southern slop ...
,
Ljubljana Ljubljana (also known by other Ljubljana#Name, historical names) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovenia. It is the country's cultural, educational, economic, political and administrative center. During antiquity, a Roman city ...
and
Sarajevo Sarajevo ( ; cyrl, Сарајево, ; ''see Names of European cities in different languages (Q–T)#S, names in other languages'') is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Bosnia and Herzegovina, with a population of 275,524 in its a ...
. The fourth-largest city in its basin is
Munich Munich ( ; german: München ; bar, Minga ) is the capital and most populous city of the States of Germany, German state of Bavaria. With a population of 1,558,395 inhabitants as of 31 July 2020, it is the List of cities in Germany by popu ...
, the capital of
Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the sec ...
, standing on the
Isar The Isar is a river in Tyrol (state), Tyrol, Austria, and Bavaria, Germany, which is not navigable for watercraft above raft size. Its source is in the Karwendel range of the Alps in Tyrol; it enters Germany near Mittenwald and flows through Ba ...
River. The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe, after the
Volga The Volga (; russian: Во́лга, a=Ru-Волга.ogg, p=ˈvoɫɡə) is the List of rivers of Europe#Rivers of Europe by length, longest river in Europe. Situated in Russia, it flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and into the Cas ...
in Russia. It flows through much of Central and
Southeastern Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe (SEE) is a geographical subregion of Europe, consisting primarily of the Balkans. Sovereign states and territories that are included in the region are Albania, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Bulgaria, Croatia (al ...
, from the
Black Forest The Black Forest (german: Schwarzwald ) is a large forested mountain range in the States of Germany, state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, bounded by the Rhine Valley to the west and south and close to the borders with France and S ...
into the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
. Its longest headstream Breg rises in
Furtwangen im Schwarzwald Furtwangen im Schwarzwald (; Low Alemannic German, Low Alemannic: ''Furtwange im Schwarzwald'') is a small city located in the Black Forest region of southwestern Germany. Together with Villingen-Schwenningen, Furtwangen is part of the district (Ge ...
, while the river carries its name from its source confluence in
Donaueschingen Donaueschingen (; Low Alemannic: ''Eschinge'') is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German sta ...
onwards. Since ancient times, the Danube has been a traditional trade route in Europe. Today, of its total length are navigable. The Danube is linked to the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
via the
Rhine–Main–Danube Canal The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal (German language, German: ''Rhein-Main-Donau-Kanal''; also called Main-Danube Canal, RMD Canal or Europa Canal), is a canal in Bavaria, Germany. Connecting the Main (r ...
, connecting the Danube at
Kelheim Kelheim () is a town and municipality in Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of G ...
with the
Main Main may refer to: Geography * Main River (disambiguation) **Most commonly the Main (river) The Main () is the longest tributary of the Rhine. It rises as the White Main in the Fichtel Mountains of northeastern Bavaria and flows west through ...
at
Bamberg Bamberg (, , ; East Franconian German, East Franconian: ''Bambärch'') is a town in Upper Franconia, Germany, on the river Regnitz close to its confluence with the river Main (river), Main. The town dates back to the 9th century, when its name w ...
. The river is also an important source of
hydropower Hydropower (from el, ὕδωρ, "water"), also known as water power, is the use of falling or fast-running water to Electricity generation, produce electricity or to power machines. This is achieved by energy transformation, converting the Pot ...
and
drinking water Drinking water is water that is used in drinking, drink or food preparation; potable water is water that is safe to be used as drinking water. The amount of drinking water required to maintain good health varies, and depends on physical activity ...
. Many European borders, especially in the Balkans, are also drawn by the Danube's stream. There are more countries along its flow than on any other river (10; the
Nile The Nile, , Bohairic , lg, Kiira , Nobiin language, Nobiin: Áman Dawū is a major north-flowing river in northeastern Africa. It flows into the Mediterranean Sea. The Nile is the longest river in Africa and has historically been considered ...
is second with 9). The Danube river basin is home to fish species such as pike,
zander The zander (''Sander lucioperca''), sander or pikeperch, is a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often ...
,
huchen The huchen (''Hucho hucho'') (, from German), also known as Danube salmon or redfish (german: Rotfisch), is a large species of freshwater fish Freshwater fish are those that spend some or all of their lives in fresh water, such as rivers an ...
,
Wels catfish The wels catfish ( or ; ''Silurus glanis''), also called sheatfish or just wels, is a large species of catfish native to wide areas of central, southern, and eastern Europe, in the basins of the Baltic Sea, Baltic, Black Sea, Black and Caspian S ...
,
burbot The burbot (''Lota lota'') is the only gadiformes, gadiform (cod-like) freshwater fish. It is also known as bubbot, mariah, loche, cusk, freshwater cod, freshwater ling, freshwater cusk, the lawyer, coney-fish, lingcod, and eelpout. The species ...
and
tench The tench or doctor fish (''Tinca tinca'') is a fresh- and brackish-water fish Fish are Aquatic animal, aquatic, craniate, gill-bearing animals that lack Limb (anatomy), limbs with Digit (anatomy), digits. Included in this definition a ...
. It is also home to a large diversity of
carp Carp are various species of oily fish, oily freshwater fish from the family Cyprinidae, a very large group of fish native to Europe and Asia. While carp is consumed in many parts of the world, they are generally considered an invasive species in ...
and
sturgeon Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae. The earliest sturgeon fossils date to the Late Cretaceous, and are descended from other, earlier Acipenseriformes, acipenseriform fish, which date b ...
, as well as
salmon Salmon () is the common name for several list of commercially important fish species, commercially important species of euryhaline ray-finned fish from the family (biology), family Salmonidae, which are native to tributary, tributaries of the ...
and
trout Trout are species of freshwater fish belonging to the genera ''Oncorhynchus'', ''Salmo'' and ''Salvelinus'', all of the subfamily (biology), subfamily Salmoninae of the family Salmonidae. The word ''trout'' is also used as part of the name ...
. A few species of
euryhaline Euryhaline organisms are able to adapt to a wide range of Salinity, salinities. An example of a euryhaline fish is the Poecilia sphenops, molly (''Poecilia sphenops'') which can live in fresh water, brackish water, or Sea water, salt water. The g ...
fish, such as European seabass, mullet, and
eel Eels are ray-finned fish Actinopterygii (; ), members of which are known as ray-finned fishes, is a Class (biology), class of Osteichthyes, bony fish. They comprise over 50% of living vertebrate species. The ray-finned fishes are so called ...
, inhabit the
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
and the lower portion of the river.


Names and etymology


Other names

The river was known to the
ancient Greeks Ancient Greece ( el, Ἑλλάς, Hellás) was a northeastern Mediterranean Sea, Mediterranean civilization, existing from the Greek Dark Ages of the 12th–9th centuries BC to the end of Classical Antiquity, classical antiquity ( AD 600), th ...
as the () a borrowing from a
Daco-Thracian The linguistic classification of the ancient Thracian language The Thracian language () is an extinct and poorly attested language, spoken in ancient times in Southeast Europe Southeast Europe or Southeastern Europe (SEE) is a geographical ...
name meaning 'strong, swift', from a root possibly also encountered in the ancient name of the
Dniester The Dniester, ; rus, Дне́стр, links=1, Dnéstr, ˈdⁿʲestr; ro, Nistru; grc, Τύρᾱς, Tyrās, ; la, Tyrās, la, Danaster, label=none, ) ( ,) is a transboundary river in Eastern Europe. It runs first through Ukraine and ...
( in Latin, in Greek) and akin to
Iranic The Iranian peoples or Iranic peoples are a diverse grouping of Indo-European languages, Indo-European peoples who are identified by their usage of the Iranian languages and other cultural similarities. The Proto-Iranian language, Proto-Iran ...
'swift' and
Sanskrit Sanskrit (; attributively , ; nominalization, nominally , , ) is a classical language belonging to the Indo-Aryan languages, Indo-Aryan branch of the Indo-European languages. It arose in South Asia after its predecessor languages had Trans-cul ...
() 'swift', from the PIE , 'to flow'. In the Middle Ages, the Greek was borrowed into Italian as and into Turkic languages as ; the latter was further borrowed into Romanian as a regionalism (). The Thraco- Phrygian name was , "the bringer of luck". The
Middle Mongolian Middle Mongol or Middle Mongolian, was a Mongolic languages, Mongolic koiné language spoken in the Mongol Empire. Originating from Genghis Khan's home region of Northeastern Mongolia, it diversified into several Mongolic languages after the col ...
name for the Danube was transliterated as ''Tho-na'' in 1829 by Jean-Pierre Abel-Rémusat. The modern languages spoken in the Danube basin all use names related to : german: link=no, Donau (); ro, Dunărea (; via German); ; ; ; cz, Dunaj (); sk, Dunaj (); pl, Dunaj (); hu, Duna (); sl, Donava (); sh-Latn-Cyrl, separator=" / ", Dunav, Дунав (); bg, Дунав, Dunav (); russian: Дунай, Dunaj (); uk, Дунай, Dunaj (); gr, Δούναβης (); it, Danubio (); es, Danubio; (); ; rm, Danubi; sq, Tunë, .


Etymology

''Danube'' is an Old European river name derived from the
Celtic Celtic, Celtics or Keltic may refer to: Language and ethnicity *pertaining to Celts The Celts (, see Names of the Celts#Pronunciation, pronunciation for different usages) or Celtic peoples () are. "CELTS location: Greater Europe time pe ...
' danu' or ' don'Triad 35. Bromwich, ''Trioedd Ynys Prydein'', pp. 280–285. (both Celtic gods), which itself derived from the
Proto-Indo-European Proto-Indo-European (PIE) is the reconstructed common ancestor of the Indo-European language family. Its proposed features have been derived by linguistic reconstruction from documented Indo-European languages. No direct record of Proto-Indo-E ...
. Other European river names from the same root include the Dunaj, Dzvina/
Daugava , be, Заходняя Дзвіна (), liv, Vēna, et, Väina, german: Düna , image = Fluss-lv-Düna.png , image_caption = The drainage basin of the Daugava , source1_location = Valdai Hills, Russia Russia (, , ), or the Russian Fe ...
, Don,
Donets The Seversky Donets () or Siverskyi Donets (), usually simply called the Donets, is a river on the south of the East European Plain. It originates in the Central Russian Upland, north of Belgorod, flows south-east through Ukraine (Kharkiv Oblas ...
,
Dnieper } The Dnieper () or Dnipro (); , ; . is one of the major Transboundary river, transboundary list of rivers of Europe, rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black ...
,
Dniestr The Dniester, ; rus, Дне́стр, links=1, Dnéstr, ˈdⁿʲestr; ro, Nistru; grc, Τύρᾱς, Tyrās, ; la, Tyrās, la, Danaster, label=none, ) ( ,) is a transboundary river in Eastern Europe. It runs first through Ukraine and th ...
,
Dysna The Dysna ( be, Дзісна ''Dzisna''; russian: Дисна ''Disna'') is a river that flows through Lithuania Lithuania (; lt, Lietuva ), officially the Republic of Lithuania ( lt, Lietuvos Respublika, links=no ), is a country in the Ba ...
and Tana/Deatnu. In Rigvedic Sanskrit, ''dānu'' (दनु) means "fluid, dewdrop" and ''dānuja (दनु-ज)'' means "born from ''dānu''" or "born from dew-drops". In
Avestan Avestan (), or historically Zend, or by the speakers as Upastavakaena ( pas.taˈvakˈaeːna is an umbrella term for two Old Iranian languages: Old Avestan (spoken in the 2nd millennium BCE) and Younger Avestan (spoken in the 1st millennium B ...
, the same word means "river". The Finnish word for Danube is , which is most likely derived from the name of the river in German, . Its Sámi name means "Great River". It is possible that in
Scythian The Scythians or Scyths, and sometimes also referred to as the Classical Scythians and the Pontic Scythians, were an Ancient Iranian peoples, ancient Eastern Iranian languages, Eastern * : "In modern scholarship the name 'Sakas' is reserved f ...
as in Avestan was a generic word for "river": ''Dnieper'' and ''Dniestr'', from ''Danapris'' and ''Danastius'', are presumed to continue Scythian "far river" and "near river", respectively.. In Latin, the Danube was variously known as , , or ''Hister''. The Latin name is masculine, as are all its Slavic names, except Slovene (the name of the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...
is also masculine in Latin, most of the Slavic languages, as well as in German). The German (
Early Modern German Early New High German (ENHG) is a term for the period in the history of the German language generally defined, following Wilhelm Scherer, as the period 1350 to 1650. The term is the standard translation of the German (Fnhd., Frnhd.), introduce ...
, ,
Middle High German Middle High German (MHG; german: Mittelhochdeutsch (Mhd.)) is the term for the form of German language, German spoken in the High Middle Ages. It is conventionally dated between 1050 and 1350, developing from Old High German and into Early New Hi ...
) is feminine, as it has been re-interpreted as containing the suffix '' -ouwe'' "wetland".
Romanian Romanian may refer to: *anything of, from, or related to the country and nation of Romania **Romanians, an ethnic group **Romanian language, a Romance language ***Romanian dialects, variants of the Romanian language **Romanian cuisine, traditional ...
differs from other surrounding languages in designating the river with a feminine term, (). This form was not inherited from Latin, although Romanian is a Romance language. To explain the loss of the Latin name, scholars who suppose that Romanian developed near the large river propose that the Romanian name descends from a hypothetical
Thracian The Thracians (; grc, Θρᾷκες ''Thrāikes''; la, Thraci) were an Indo-European languages, Indo-European speaking people who inhabited large parts of Eastern Europe, Eastern and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe in ancient history.. ...
. The Proto-Indo-European root of this presumed name is related to the Iranic word ""/"", while the supposed suffix is encountered in the ancient name of the
Ialomița River Ialomița may refer to: * Ialomița County - a county of Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders ...
, ''Naparis'', and in the unidentified ''Miliare'' river mentioned by
Jordanes Jordanes (), also written as Jordanis or Jornandes, was a 6th-century Eastern Roman bureaucrat widely believed to be of Goths, Gothic descent who became a historian later in life. Late in life he wrote two works, one on Roman history (''Romana ...
in his
Getica ''De origine actibusque Getarum'' (''The Origin and Deeds of the Getae oths'), commonly abbreviated ''Getica'', written in Late Latin Late Latin ( la, Latinitas serior) is the scholarly name for the form of Literary Latin of late antiquity. ...
. Gábor Vékony says that this hypothesis is not plausible, because the Greeks borrowed the ''Istros'' form from the native Thracians. He proposes that the Romanian name is a loanword from a Turkic language (
Cuman The Cumans (or Kumans), also known as Polovtsians or Polovtsy (plural only, from the Russian language, Russian Exonym and endonym, exonym ), were a Turkic people, Turkic nomadic people comprising the western branch of the Cuman–Kipchak confede ...
or
Pecheneg The Pechenegs () or Patzinaks tr, Peçenek(ler), Middle Turkic: , ro, Pecenegi, russian: Печенег(и), uk, Печеніг(и), hu, Besenyő(k), gr, Πατζινάκοι, Πετσενέγοι, Πατζινακίται, ka, პა ...
).


Geography

Classified as an
international waterway The terms international waters or transboundary waters apply where any of the following types of bodies of water (or their drainage basins) transcend international boundaries: oceans, large marine ecosystems, enclosed or semi-enclosed regiona ...
, it originates in the town of
Donaueschingen Donaueschingen (; Low Alemannic: ''Eschinge'') is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German sta ...
, in the
Black Forest The Black Forest (german: Schwarzwald ) is a large forested mountain range in the States of Germany, state of Baden-Württemberg in southwest Germany, bounded by the Rhine Valley to the west and south and close to the borders with France and S ...
of
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
, at the
confluence In geography, a confluence (also: ''conflux'') occurs where two or more flowing bodies of water join to form a single channel. A confluence can occur in several configurations: at the point where a tributary joins a larger river (main stem); o ...
of the rivers Brigach and Breg. The Danube then flows southeast for about , passing through four capital cities (
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
,
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; german: Preßburg/Pressburg ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 475,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 — approxim ...
,
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
, and
Belgrade Belgrade ( , ;, ; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city in Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in So ...
) before emptying into the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
via the
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
in
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, S ...
and
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
. Once a long-standing frontier of the
Roman Empire The Roman Empire ( la, Imperium Romanum ; grc-gre, Βασιλεία τῶν Ῥωμαίων, Basileía tôn Rhōmaíōn) was the post-Roman Republic, Republican period of ancient Rome. As a polity, it included large territorial holdings aro ...
, the river passes through or touches the borders of 10 countries:
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, S ...
(29.0% of basin area),
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
(11.6%),
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Bas ...
(10.2%),
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
(10.0%),
Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of Germany, is a country in Central Europe. It is the second most populous country in Europe after Russia, and the most populous member state of the European Union. Germany is situated between ...
(7.0%),
Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the eastern flank of the Balkans, and is bordered by Romania to the north, Serbia and North Macedon ...
(5.9%),
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
(5.9%),
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = " Lijepa naša domovino"("Our Beautiful Homeland") , image_map = , map_caption = , capi ...
(4.4%),
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
(3.8%), and
Moldova Moldova ( , ; ), officially the Republic of Moldova ( ro, Republica Moldova), is a landlocked country in Eastern Europe. It is bordered by Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe ...
(1.6%). Its
drainage basin A drainage basin is an area of land where all flowing surface water converges to a single point, such as a river mouth, or flows into another body of water, such as a lake or ocean. A basin is separated from adjacent basins by a perimeter ...
extends into nine more (ten if
Kosovo Kosovo ( sq, Kosova or ; sr-Cyrl, Косово ), officially the Republic of Kosovo ( sq, Republika e Kosovës, links=no; sr, Република Косово, Republika Kosovo, links=no), is a international recognition of Kosovo, partiall ...
is included).


Drainage basin

In addition to the bordering countries (see above), the
drainage basin A drainage basin is an area of land where all flowing surface water converges to a single point, such as a river mouth, or flows into another body of water, such as a lake or ocean. A basin is separated from adjacent basins by a perimeter ...
includes parts of nine more countries:
Bosnia and Herzegovina Bosnia and Herzegovina ( sh, / , ), abbreviated BiH () or B&H, sometimes called Bosnia–Herzegovina and Pars pro toto#Geography, often known informally as Bosnia, is a country at the crossroads of Southern Europe, south and southeast Euro ...
(4.6% of the basin area), the
Czech Republic The Czech Republic, or simply Czechia, is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Historically known as Bohemia, it is bordered by Austria to the south, Germany to the west, Poland to the northeast, and Slovakia to the southeast. The Cz ...
(2.9%),
Slovenia Slovenia ( ; sl, Slovenija ), officially the Republic of Slovenia (Slovene: , Abbreviation, abbr.: ''RS''), is a country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Italy to the west, Austria to the north, Hungary to the northeast, Croatia to the s ...
(2.0%),
Montenegro ) , image_map = Europe-Montenegro.svg , map_caption = , image_map2 = , capital = Podgorica , coordinates = , largest_city = capital , official_languages = Mo ...
(0.9%),
Switzerland ). Swiss law does not designate a ''capital'' as such, but the federal parliament and government are in Bern, while other federal institutions, such as the federal courts, are in other cities (Bellinzona, Lausanne, Luzern, Neuchâtel, St. Gall ...
(0.2%),
Italy Italy ( it, Italia ), officially the Italian Republic, ) or the Republic of Italy, is a country in Southern Europe. It is located in the middle of the Mediterranean Sea, and its territory largely coincides with the Italy (geographical region) ...
(<0.15%),
Poland Poland, officially the Republic of Poland, is a country in Central Europe. It is divided into 16 administrative provinces called Voivodeships of Poland, voivodeships, covering an area of . Poland has a population of over 38 million and is ...
(<0.1%),
North Macedonia North Macedonia, ; sq, Maqedonia e Veriut, (Macedonia before February 2019), officially the Republic of North Macedonia,, is a country in Southeast Europe. It gained independence in 1991 as one of the successor states of Socialist Feder ...
(<0.1%) and
Albania Albania ( ; sq, Shqipëri or ), or , also or . officially the Republic of Albania ( sq, Republika e Shqipërisë), is a country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It is located on the Adriatic Sea, Adriatic and Ionian Seas within the ...
(<0.1%). The total drainage basin is in area, and is home to 83 million people. The highest point of the drainage basin is the summit of ''
Piz Bernina Piz Bernina (Romansh language, Romansh, it, Pizzo Bernina, ) is the highest mountain in the Eastern Alps, the highest point of the Bernina Range, and the highest peak in the Rhaetian Alps. It rises and is located south of Pontresina and near t ...
'' at the
Italy–Switzerland border The border between the modern states of Switzerland and Italy extends for , from the French-Swiss-Italian tripoint at Mont Dolent in the west to the Austrian-Swiss-Italian tripoint near Piz Lad in the east. Much of the border runs across the Hi ...
, at . The Danube River Basin is divided into three main parts, separated by "gates" where the river is forced to cut through mountainous sections: * Upper Basin, from the
headwaters The headwaters of a river or stream is the farthest place in that river or stream from its estuary or downstream confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river. It is also known as a river's source. Definition The ...
to the Devín Gate. * Middle Basin, usually called the
Pannonian basin The Pannonian Basin, or Carpathian Basin, is a large Sedimentary basin, basin situated in south-east Central Europe. The Geomorphology, geomorphological term Pannonian Plain is more widely used for roughly the same region though with a somewh ...
or Carpathian Basin, between the Devín Gate and the
Iron Gates The Iron Gates ( ro, Porțile de Fier; sr, / or / ; Hungarian language, Hungarian: ''Vaskapu-szoros'') is a Canyon, gorge on the river Danube. It forms part of the boundary between Serbia (to the south) and Romania (north). In the broad ...
. It includes the Hungarian plains Kisalföld and Alföld. * Lower Basin, from the
Iron Gates The Iron Gates ( ro, Porțile de Fier; sr, / or / ; Hungarian language, Hungarian: ''Vaskapu-szoros'') is a Canyon, gorge on the river Danube. It forms part of the boundary between Serbia (to the south) and Romania (north). In the broad ...
to the
river mouth A river mouth is where a river flows into a larger body of water, such as another river, a lake/ reservoir, a bay/ gulf, a sea, or an ocean. At the river mouth, sediments are often deposited due to the slowing of the current reducing the ca ...
, including the
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
.


Discharge

Mean annual discharge on the hydrological stations (period from 2000 to 2020); 1 - Reni,
Isaccea Isaccea (; tr, İshakçı) is a small town in Tulcea County, in Northern Dobruja, Romania, on the right bank of the Danube, 35 km north-west of Tulcea. According to the 2011 census, it has a population of 4,955. The town has been inhabite ...
; 2 -
Silistra Silistra ( bg, Силистра ; tr, Silistre; ro, Silistra) is a town in List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, Northeastern Bulgaria. The town lies on the southern bank of the lower Danube river, and is also the part of the Romanian Bulgaria ...
; 3 - Pristol; 4 - Batina, Bezdan; 5 - Nagymaros, Szob; 6 -
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; german: Preßburg/Pressburg ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 475,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 — approxim ...
, Wolfsthal; 7 - Untergriesbach Multiannual average, minimum and maximum discharge (water period from 1876 to 2010) Simulated water and suspended sediment results from climate-driven decadal study (with STD through specific decade)


Tributaries

The land drained by the Danube extends into many other countries. Many Danubian tributaries are important rivers in their own right, navigable by barges and other shallow-draught boats. From its source to its outlet into the Black Sea, its main tributaries are (as they enter): File:Donaueschingen Donauzusammenfluss 20080714.jpg, The Danube's source confluence in
Donaueschingen Donaueschingen (; Low Alemannic: ''Eschinge'') is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German sta ...
: the ''Donauzusammenfluss'', the confluence of Breg and Brigach. File:Дунайський біосферний заповідник 2.JPG, 0 km,
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
,
Ukraine Ukraine ( uk, Україна, Ukraïna, ) is a country in Eastern Europe. It is the List of European countries by area, second-largest European country after Russia, which it borders Russia–Ukraine border, to the east and northeast. Ukraine ...
File:Danube Delta ESA23450088.jpeg, Where the Danube Meets the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
(
European Space Agency , owners = , headquarters = Paris, Île-de-France, France , coordinates = , spaceport = Guiana Space Centre , seal = File:ESA emblem seal.png , seal_size = 130px , image = Views in the Main Control Room (1205 ...
Sentinel-2 Sentinel-2 is an Earth observation mission from the Copernicus Programme that systematically acquires optical imagery at high spatial resolution (10 m to 60 m) over land and coastal waters. The mission is currently a constellation with two satel ...
image). File:The Danube Spills into the Black Sea.jpg, The Danube discharges into the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
(the upper body of water in the image).


Cities and towns

The Danube flows through many cities, including four national capitals (shown below in bold), more than any other river in the world. Ordered from the source to the mouth they are: * **
Donaueschingen Donaueschingen (; Low Alemannic: ''Eschinge'') is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German sta ...
in the
State State may refer to: Arts, entertainment, and media Literature * ''State Magazine'', a monthly magazine published by the U.S. Department of State * The State (newspaper), ''The State'' (newspaper), a daily newspaper in Columbia, South Carolina, U ...
of
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German state () in Southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the southern part of Germany's western border with France. With more than 11.07 million inha ...
 – rivers Brigach and Breg join to form the Danube ** Möhringen an der Donau in Baden-Württemberg **
Tuttlingen Tuttlingen (Alemannic German, Alemannic: ''Duttlinga'') is a town in Baden-Württemberg, capital of the Tuttlingen (district), district Tuttlingen. Nendingen, ''Möhringen'' and ''Eßlingen'' are three former municipalities that belong to Tuttling ...
in Baden-Württemberg **
Sigmaringen Sigmaringen (Swabian German, Swabian: ''Semmerenga'') is a town in southern Germany, in the state of Baden-Württemberg. Situated on the upper Danube, it is the capital of the Sigmaringen (district), Sigmaringen district. Sigmaringen is renowne ...
in Baden-Württemberg ** Riedlingen in Baden-Württemberg ** Munderkingen in Baden-Württemberg **
Ehingen Ehingen (Donau) (; Swabian: ''Eegne'') is a town in the Alb-Donau district in Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German state () in Southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, ...
in Baden-Württemberg ** Ulm in Baden-Württemberg **
Neu-Ulm Neu-Ulm (Swabian German, Swabian: ''Nej-Ulm'') is the capital of the Neu-Ulm (district), Neu-Ulm district and a town in Swabia (Bavaria), Swabia, Bavaria. Neighbouring towns include Ulm, Senden, Pfaffenhofen an der Roth, Holzheim bei Neu-Ulm, Holz ...
in Bavaria ** Günzburg in Bavaria **
Dillingen an der Donau Dillingen or Dillingen an der Donau (Dillingen at the Danube) is a Town#Germany, town in Swabia (Bavaria), Swabia, Bavaria, Germany. It is the administrative center of the district of Dillingen (district), Dillingen. Besides the town of Dilling ...
in Bavaria **
Donauwörth Donauwörth () is a town A town is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a minuscul ...
in Bavaria **
Neuburg an der Donau Neuburg an der Donau (Central Bavarian Central Bavarian form a subgroup of Bavarian language, Bavarian dialects in large parts of Austria and the German state of Bavaria along the Danube river, on the northern side of the Eastern Alps. They are ...
in Bavaria **
Ingolstadt Ingolstadt (, Austro-Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian: ) is an Independent city#Germany, independent city on the Danube in Upper Bavaria with 139,553 inhabitants (as of June 30, 2022). Around half a million people live in the metropolitan area ...
in Bavaria **
Kelheim Kelheim () is a town and municipality in Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of G ...
in Bavaria **
Regensburg Regensburg or is a city in eastern Bavaria, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen River, Regen rivers. It is capital of the Upper Palatinate subregion of the state in the south of Germany. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regens ...
in Bavaria **
Straubing Straubing () is an independent city in Lower Bavaria, southern Germany. It is seat of the Districts of Germany, district of Straubing-Bogen. Annually in August the Gäubodenvolksfest, the second largest fair in Bavaria, is held. The city is loca ...
in Bavaria ** Deggendorf in Bavaria **
Passau Passau (; bar, label= Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. Passau' ...
in Bavaria * **
Linz Linz ( , ; cs, Linec) is the capital of Upper Austria and List of cities and towns in Austria, third-largest city in Austria. In the north of the country, it is on the Danube south of the Czech Republic, Czech border. In 2018, the population ...
, capital of
Upper Austria Upper Austria (german: Oberösterreich ; bar, Obaöstareich) is one of the nine states or of Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in t ...
** Krems in
Lower Austria Lower Austria (german: Niederösterreich; Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian: ''Niedaöstareich'', ''Niedaestareich'') is one of the nine states of Austria, located in the northeastern corner of the country. Since 1986, the capital city, capital o ...
**
Tulln Tulln an der Donau () is a historic town in the Austrian state of Lower Austria, the administrative seat of Tulln District. Because of its abundance of parks and gardens, Tulln is often referred to as ''Blumenstadt'' ("City of Flowers"), and "The C ...
in
Lower Austria Lower Austria (german: Niederösterreich; Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian: ''Niedaöstareich'', ''Niedaestareich'') is one of the nine states of Austria, located in the northeastern corner of the country. Since 1986, the capital city, capital o ...
**
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
 – capital of Austria and the most populous city on the Danube, where the Danube floodplain is called the '' Lobau'', though the ''
Innere Stadt The Innere Stadt (; Central Bavarian: ''Innare Stod'') is the 1st municipal district of Vienna () located in the center of the Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern p ...
'' is situated away from the main flow of the Danube (it is bounded by the Donaukanal – 'Danube canal'). * **
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; german: Preßburg/Pressburg ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 475,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 — approxim ...
 – capital of
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
** Komárno ** Štúrovo * **
Mosonmagyaróvár Mosonmagyaróvár (; german: Wieselburg-Ungarisch Altenburg; also known by other #Etymology and names, alternative names) is a town in Győr-Moson-Sopron County in northwestern Hungary. It lies close to both the Austrian and Slovakian borders ...
**
Győr Győr ( , ; german: Raab, links=no; names in other languages) is the main city of northwest Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bord ...
** Komárom **
Esztergom Esztergom ( ; german: Gran; la, Solva or ; sk, Ostrihom, known by Names of European cities in different languages: E–H#E, alternative names) is a city with county rights in northern Hungary, northwest of the capital Budapest. It lies in Kom ...
** Visegrád – This section of the river is also called Danube Bend. ** Vác **
Szentendre Szentendre () is a riverside town in Pest County, Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to t ...
** Göd ** Dunakeszi **
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
 – capital of
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
, the largest city and the largest agglomeration on Danube (about 3,300,000 people). ** Szigetszentmiklós ** Százhalombatta **
Ráckeve Ráckeve (Serbian language, Serbian: Српски Ковин / Srpski Kovin) is a town on Csepel Island in the county of , Hungary. Its residents are Magyars, with minority of Serbs. The Serbian Kovin Monastery, the oldest in Hungary and one of t ...
** Adony ** Dunaújváros ** Dunaföldvár ** Paks **
Kalocsa Kalocsa (; hr, Kaloča or ''Kalača''; sr, Kaloča or Калоча; german: Kollotschau) is a town in Bács-Kiskun county, Hungary. It lies south of Budapest. It is situated in a marshy but highly productive district, near the left bank of the D ...
** Baja ** Mohács * **
Vukovar Vukovar () ( sr-Cyrl, Вуковар, hu, Vukovár, german: Wukowar) is a city in Croatia, in the eastern region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) a ...
**
Ilok Ilok () is the easternmost town in Croatia forming a geographic Salient (geography), salient surrounded by Vojvodina. Located in the Syrmia region, it lies on a hill overlooking the Danube river, which forms the border with the Bačka region of S ...
* **
Apatin Apatin ( sr-cyrl, Апатин, hu, Apatin, hr, Apatin) is a town and municipality located in the West Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina Vojvodina ( sr-Cyrl, Војводина}), officially the Autonomous Province of V ...
** Bačka Palanka ** Čerević **
Futog Futog (, German language, German and hu, Futak) is a suburban settlement of the city of Novi Sad, Serbia, with a population of 18,642 according to the Demographics of Serbia, 2011 census in Serbia. It is situated in southern Bačka, 7 km away fr ...
**
Veternik Veternik ( sr-cyr, Ветерник) is a suburban settlement of the city of Novi Sad, Serbia. Its population numbers 17,454 (2011 census) and most of its inhabitants are ethnic Serbs. Over the years, especially in the 1990s, it grew with size and ...
**
Novi Sad Novi Sad ( sr-Cyrl, Нови Сад, ; hu, Újvidék, ; german: Neusatz; #Name, see below for other names) is the List of cities in Serbia, second largest city in Serbia and the capital of the autonomous province of Vojvodina. It is located in ...
 – regional capital of
Vojvodina Vojvodina ( sr-Cyrl, Војводина}), officially the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, is an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous province that occupies the northernmost part of Serbia. It lies within the Pannonian Basin, bordered ...
**
Sremski Karlovci Sremski Karlovci ( sr-cyrl, Сремски Карловци, ; hu, Karlóca; tr, Karlofça) is a town and municipality located in the South Bačka District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina, Serbia. It is situated on the banks of the Danub ...
**
Zemun Zemun ( sr-cyrl, Земун, ; hu, Zimony) is a Subdivisions of Belgrade, municipality in the city of Belgrade. Zemun was a separate town that was absorbed into Belgrade in 1934. It lies on the right bank of the Danube river, upstream from downto ...
**
Belgrade Belgrade ( , ;, ; names in other languages) is the capital and largest city in Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in So ...
 – capital of
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Bas ...
**
Pančevo Pančevo (Serbian Cyrillic: Панчево, ; german: Pantschowa; hu, Pancsova; ro, Panciova; sk, Pánčevo) is a list of cities in Serbia, city and the administrative center of the South Banat District in the autonomous province of Vojvodina, ...
**
Smederevo Smederevo ( sr-Cyrl, Смедерево, ) is a list of cities in Serbia, city and the administrative center of the Podunavlje District in eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, about downstream of the Serbian capital, ...
**
Kovin Kovin (, hu, Kevevára) is a town and municipality located in the South Banat District of the autonomous province of Vojvodina Vojvodina ( sr-Cyrl, Војводина}), officially the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, is an Autonomous a ...
** Veliko Gradište **
Golubac Golubac ( sr-cyr, Голубац, ; ro, Golubăț) is a village and municipality located in the Braničevo District of eastern Serbia. Situated on the right side of the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing f ...
**
Donji Milanovac Donji Milanovac ( sr-cyrl, Доњи Милановац, ) is a town in eastern Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast ...
**
Kladovo Kladovo ( sr-Cyrl, Кладово, ; ro, Cladova or ) is a town and municipality located in the Bor District of Southern and Eastern Serbia, eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube river. The population of the town is 8,91 ...
* **
Vidin Vidin ( bg, Видин, ; Old Romanian: Diiu) is List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, a port city on the southern bank of the Danube in north-western Bulgaria. It is close to the borders with Romania and Serbia, and is also the administrative c ...
** Lom **
Kozloduy Kozloduy ( ) is a town in northwest Bulgaria, located in Vratsa Province, on the Danube River. The city was liberated from Ottoman Empire, Ottoman rule on 23 November 1877 by the Romanian Army under the command of the Imperial Russian Army. Kozlod ...
**
Oryahovo Oryahovo ( bg, Оряхово ) is a port city in northwestern Bulgaria, part of Vratsa Province. It is located in a hilly area on the right bank of the Danube, just east of the mouth of the river Ogosta, a few more kilometres downstream from ...
** Nikopol ** Belene **
Svishtov Svishtov ( bg, Свищов ) is a town in northern Bulgaria Bulgaria (; bg, България, Bǎlgariya), officially the Republic of Bulgaria,, ) is a country in Southeast Europe. It is situated on the eastern flank of the Balkans, a ...
** Ruse ** Tutrakan **
Silistra Silistra ( bg, Силистра ; tr, Silistre; ro, Silistra) is a town in List of cities and towns in Bulgaria, Northeastern Bulgaria. The town lies on the southern bank of the lower Danube river, and is also the part of the Romanian Bulgaria ...
* ** Moldova Nouă **
Orșova Orșova (; german: Orschowa, hu, Orsova, sr, Оршава/Oršava, bg, Орсово, pl, Orszawa, cs, Oršava, tr, Adakale) is a port city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human ...
** Drobeta-Turnu Severin ** Calafat **
Bechet Bechet is a town in Dolj County Dolj County (; originally meant ''Dol(no)-Jiu River, Jiu'', "lower Jiu", as opposed to ''Gorj'' (''upper Jiu'')) is a county (județ) of Romania on the border with Bulgaria, in Oltenia, with the capital city at ...
** Dăbuleni **
Corabia Corabia () is a small Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, th ...
** Turnu Măgurele **
Zimnicea Zimnicea () is a town in Teleorman County Teleorman County () is a county (județ) of Romania on the border with Bulgaria, in the historical region Muntenia, with its capital city at Alexandria, Romania, Alexandria. The name ''Teleorman'' is o ...
**
Giurgiu Giurgiu (; bg, Гюргево) is a city in southern Romania. The seat of Giurgiu County, it lies in the historical region of Muntenia. It is situated amongst mud-flats and marshes on the left bank of the Danube facing the Bulgarian city ...
** Oltenița ** Călărași ** Fetești ** Cernavodă ** Hârșova **
Brăila Brăila (, also , ) is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County. The Sud-Est (development region), ''Sud-Est'' Regional Development Agency is located in Brăila. According to the 2011 Romanian ...
 – limit of the maritime sector of the Danube **
Galați Galați (, , ; also known by other alternative names) is the capital city of Galați County in the historical region of Western Moldavia Moldavia ( ro, Moldova), also called Western Moldavia or Romanian Moldavia, is the historic and geograph ...
 – largest port on the Danube **
Isaccea Isaccea (; tr, İshakçı) is a small town in Tulcea County, in Northern Dobruja, Romania, on the right bank of the Danube, 35 km north-west of Tulcea. According to the 2011 census, it has a population of 4,955. The town has been inhabite ...
**
Tulcea Tulcea (; also known by other #Names, alternative names) is a city in Northern Dobruja, Romania. It is the administrative center of Tulcea County, and had a population of 73,707 . One village, Tudor Vladimirescu, is administered by the city. Na ...
**
Sulina Sulina () is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Northern Dobruja, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania. History During the mid-Byzantine Empire, Byzantine period, Sulina was a smal ...
 – last city through which it flows * ** Giurgiulești * ** Reni **
Izmail Izmail (, , Romanization of Russian, translit. ''Izmail,'' formerly Тучков ("Tuchkov"); ro, Ismail or ''Smil''; pl, Izmaił, bg, Исмаил) is a List of cities in Ukraine, city and List of hromadas of Ukraine, municipality on the Da ...
**
Kiliya Kiliia or Kilia ( uk, Кілія́, translit=Kiliia, ; ro, Chilia Nouă) is a town in Izmail Raion, Odesa Oblast Odesa Oblast ( uk, Оде́ська о́бласть, translit=Odeska oblast), also referred to as Odeshchyna ( uk, Оде́щи ...
**
Vylkove Vylkove ( uk, Ви́лкове, ; russian: link=no, Вилково; ro, Vâlcov) is a small city located in the Ukrainian part of the Danube Delta, at utmost southwest of Ukraine, on the border with Romania. Administratively it is part of Izmai ...


Islands

* Ada Kaleh Island *Ostrovul Mare, Gogoșu * Balta Ialomiței * Belene Island * Csepel Island *
Donauinsel The Donauinsel (Danube Island) is a long, narrow artificial island An artificial island is an island that has been constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. Artificial islands may vary in size from small islets reclaimed s ...
* Great Brăila Island *
Great War Island Great War Island ( sr, Велико ратно острво, Veliko ratno ostrvo) is a river island in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers. Though uninhabited, the island is part of the Belgrade Ci ...
* Island of Mohács * Kozloduy Island *
Margaret Island Margaret Island ( hu, Margitsziget ; german: Margareteninsel; tr, Kızadası) is a long island, wide, ( in area) in the middle of the Danube in central Budapest, Hungary. The island is mostly covered by landscape parks, and is a popular recrea ...
* Ostrovo (Kostolac) * Ostrovul Ciocănești * Ostrovul Mare, Islaz *Ribarsko Ostrvo,
Novi Sad Novi Sad ( sr-Cyrl, Нови Сад, ; hu, Újvidék, ; german: Neusatz; #Name, see below for other names) is the List of cities in Serbia, second largest city in Serbia and the capital of the autonomous province of Vojvodina. It is located in ...
* Island of Šarengrad * Szigetköz * Island of Szentendre * Vardim Island * Island of Vukovar *
Žitný ostrov Žitný ostrov (Rye Island), also called Veľký Žitný ostrov (Great Rye Island), (german: Große Schüttinsel or Great Schütt Island, hu, Csallóköz) to differentiate it from Malý Žitný ostrov (Small Rye Island) (german: Kleine Schüttin ...


Sectioning

*Upper Section: From spring to Devín Gate, at the border of Austria and Slovakia. Danube remains a characteristic mountain river until
Passau Passau (; bar, label= Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. Passau' ...
, with average bottom gradient 0.0012% (12 ppm), from Passau to Devín Gate the gradient lessens to 0.0006% (6 ppm). *Middle Section: From Devín Gate to Iron Gate, at the border of Serbia and Romania. The riverbed widens and the average bottom gradient becomes only 0.00006% (0.6 ppm). *Lower Section: From Iron Gate to
Sulina Sulina () is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Northern Dobruja, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania. History During the mid-Byzantine Empire, Byzantine period, Sulina was a smal ...
, with average gradient as little as 0.00003% (0.3 ppm).


Modern navigation

The Danube is navigable by ocean ships from the Black Sea to
Brăila Brăila (, also , ) is a city in Muntenia, eastern Romania, a port on the Danube and the capital of Brăila County. The Sud-Est (development region), ''Sud-Est'' Regional Development Agency is located in Brăila. According to the 2011 Romanian ...
in Romania (the maritime river sector), and further on by river ships to
Kelheim Kelheim () is a town and municipality in Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of G ...
, Bavaria, Germany; smaller craft can navigate further upstream to Ulm,
Württemberg Württemberg ( ; ) is a historical German territory roughly corresponding to the cultural and linguistic region of Swabia. The main town of the region is Stuttgart. Together with Baden and Hohenzollern, two other historical territories, Wü ...
, Germany. About 60 of its tributaries are also navigable. Since the completion of the German
Rhine–Main–Danube Canal The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal (German language, German: ''Rhein-Main-Donau-Kanal''; also called Main-Danube Canal, RMD Canal or Europa Canal), is a canal in Bavaria, Germany. Connecting the Main (r ...
in 1992, the river has been part of a trans-European waterway from
Rotterdam Rotterdam ( , , , lit. ''The Dam on the River Rotte'') is the second largest city A city is a human settlement of notable size.Goodall, B. (1987) ''The Penguin Dictionary of Human Geography''. London: Penguin.Kuper, A. and Kuper, J., ed ...
on the
North Sea The North Sea lies between Great Britain, Norway, Denmark, Germany, the Netherlands and Belgium. An epeiric sea, epeiric sea on the European continental shelf, it connects to the Atlantic Ocean through the English Channel in the south and the ...
to
Sulina Sulina () is a town and free port in Tulcea County, Northern Dobruja, Romania, at the mouth of the Sulina branch of the Danube. It is the easternmost point of Romania. History During the mid-Byzantine Empire, Byzantine period, Sulina was a smal ...
on the Black Sea, a distance of . In 1994 the Danube was declared one of ten Pan-European transport corridors, routes in Central and Eastern Europe that required major investment over the following ten to fifteen years. The amount of goods transported on the Danube increased to about 100 million tons in 1987. In 1999, transport on the river was made difficult by the NATO bombing of three bridges in Serbia during the
Kosovo War The Kosovo War was an armed conflict in Kosovo that started 28 February 1998 and lasted until 11 June 1999. It was fought by the forces of the Federal Republic of Yugoslavia (i.e. Serbia and Montenegro), which controlled Kosovo before the wa ...
. Clearance of the resulting debris was completed in 2002, and a temporary
pontoon bridge A pontoon bridge (or ponton bridge), also known as a floating bridge, uses floats or shallow- draft boats to support a continuous deck for pedestrian and vehicle travel. The buoyancy Buoyancy (), or upthrust, is an upward force exerted b ...
that hampered navigation was removed in 2005. At the Iron Gate, the Danube flows through a
gorge A canyon (from ; archaic British English British English (BrE, en-GB, or BE) is, according to Oxford Dictionaries, " English as used in Great Britain, as distinct from that used elsewhere". More narrowly, it can refer specifically to the ...
that forms part of the boundary between Serbia and Romania; it contains the
Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station The Iron Gate I Hydroelectric Power Station ( ro, Porțile de Fier I, sr, Ђердап I/Đerdap I) is the largest dam on the Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects ...
dam, followed at about downstream (outside the gorge) by the Iron Gate II Hydroelectric Power Station. On 13 April 2006, a record peak discharge at Iron Gate Dam reached . There are three artificial waterways built on the Danube: the Danube-Tisa-Danube Canal (DTD) in the
Banat Banat (, ; hu, Bánság; sr, Банат, 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 Romania ( ...
and
Bačka Bačka ( sr-cyrl, Бачка, ) or Bácska () is a geographical and historical area within the Pannonian Plain bordered by the river Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and ...
regions (
Vojvodina Vojvodina ( sr-Cyrl, Војводина}), officially the Autonomous Province of Vojvodina, is an Autonomous administrative division, autonomous province that occupies the northernmost part of Serbia. It lies within the Pannonian Basin, bordered ...
, northern province of Serbia); the Danube-Black Sea Canal, between Cernavodă and
Constanța Constanța (, ; ; rup, Custantsa; bg, Кюстенджа, Kyustendzha, or bg, Констанца, Konstantsa, label=none; el, Κωνστάντζα, Kōnstántza, or el, Κωνστάντια, Kōnstántia, label=none; tr, Köstence), histo ...
(Romania) finished in 1984, shortens the distance to the Black Sea by ; the
Rhine–Main–Danube Canal The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal (German language, German: ''Rhein-Main-Donau-Kanal''; also called Main-Danube Canal, RMD Canal or Europa Canal), is a canal in Bavaria, Germany. Connecting the Main (r ...
is about , finished in 1992, linking the North Sea to the Black Sea. A Danube-Aegean canal has been proposed.


Piracy

In 2010–12, shipping companies, especially from Ukraine, claimed that their vessels suffered from "regular pirate attacks" on the Serbian and the Romanian stretches of the Danube. However, the transgressions may not be considered acts of piracy, as defined according to the
United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea The United Nations Convention on the Law of the Sea (UNCLOS), also called the Law of the Sea Convention or the Law of the Sea Treaty, is an Treaty, international agreement that establishes a legal framework for all marine and maritime activities. ...
, but rather instances of "river robbery". On the other hand, media reports say the crews on transport ships often steal and sell their own cargo and then blame the plundering on "pirates", and the alleged attacks are not piracy but small-time
contraband Contraband (from Medieval French ''contrebande'' "smuggling") refers to any item that, relating to its nature, is illegal to be possessed or sold. It is used for goods that by their nature are considered too dangerous or offensive in the eyes o ...
theft along the river.


Danube Delta

The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, translit=Del'ta Dunayu) is the largest
river delta A river delta is a landform shaped like a triangle, created by deposition (geology), deposition of sediment that is carried by a river and enters slower-moving or stagnant water. This occurs where a river enters an ocean, sea, estuary, lake, res ...
in the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Romania (Tulcea county), while its northern part, on the left bank of the Chilia arm, is situated in Ukraine (Odessa Oblast). The approximate surface is , of which are in Romania. If one includes the lagoons of Razim-Sinoe ( of which water surface), which are located south of the delta proper, but are related to it geologically and ecologically (their combined territory is part of the World Heritage Site), the total area of the Danube Delta reaches . The Danube Delta is also the best-preserved river delta in Europe, a
UNESCO World Heritage Site A World Heritage Site is a landmark or area with legal protection by an international convention administered by the UNESCO, United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). World Heritage Sites are designated by UNES ...
(since 1991) and a
Ramsar Site A Ramsar site is a wetland site designated to be of international importance under the Ramsar Convention,8 ha (O) *** Permanent 8 ha (P) *** Seasonal Intermittent < 8 ha(Ts) ** Marshes on inorganic soils: *** Permanent (herb dominated) (Tp) *** P ...
. Its lakes and marshes support 45 freshwater fish species. Its wetlands support vast flocks of migratory birds of over 300 species, including the endangered
pygmy cormorant The pygmy cormorant (''Microcarbo pygmaeus'') is a member of the Phalacrocoracidae (cormorant) family of seabirds. It breeds in south-eastern Europe and south-western Palearctic, Asia. It is partially bird migration, migratory, with northern po ...
(''Phalacrocorax pygmaeus''). These are threatened by rival canalization and drainage schemes such as the Bystroye Canal.


2022 heat wave

In 2022, there was a major
heat wave A heat wave, or heatwave, is a period of excessively hot weather, which may be accompanied by high humidity, especially in oceanic climate countries. While definitions vary, a heat wave is usually measured relative to the usual climate in the ...
in Europe. As a result, there was less water flowing in the rivers. As the water level decreased, a number of ship wrecks from
World War II World War II or the Second World War, often abbreviated as WWII or WW2, was a world war that lasted from 1939 to 1945. It involved the World War II by country, vast majority of the world's countries—including all of the great power ...
emerged in the Danube River. Many of the ships were from
Nazi Germany Nazi Germany (lit. "National Socialist State"), ' (lit. "Nazi State") for short; also ' (lit. "National Socialist Germany") (officially known as the German Reich from 1933 until 1943, and the Greater German Reich from 1943 to 1945) was ...
's
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
Fleet and had been destroyed to stop them from falling into enemy hands.


International cooperation


Ecology and environment

The International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River (ICPDR) is an organization that consists of 14 member states (Germany, Austria, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Slovenia, Hungary, Croatia, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Serbia, Bulgaria, Romania, Moldova, Montenegro, and Ukraine) and the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
. The commission, established in 1998, deals with the whole Danube river basin, which includes tributaries and groundwater resources. Its goal is to implement the Danube River Protection Convention by promoting and coordinating sustainable and equitable water management, including conservation, improvement, and rational use of waters and the implementation of the EU
Water Framework Directive The Water Framework Directive 2000/60/EC is an EU directive which commits European Union member states to achieve good qualitative and quantitative status of all Body of water, water bodies (including marine ecosystem, marine waters up to one na ...
and the Danube Strategy.


Navigation

The Danube Commission is concerned with the maintenance and improvement of the river's navigation conditions. It was established in 1948 by seven countries bordering the river. Members include representatives from Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Slovakia, Romania, Russia, Ukraine, and Serbia; it meets regularly twice a year. It also convenes groups of experts to consider items provided for in the commission's working plans. The commission dates to the Paris Conferences of 1856 and 1921, which established for the first time an international regime to safeguard free navigation on the Danube. Today the Commission include riparian and non-riparian states.


Geology

Although the
headwater The headwaters of a river or stream is the farthest place in that river or stream from its estuary or downstream confluence with another river, as measured along the course of the river. It is also known as a river's source. Definition The ...
s of the Danube are relatively small today, geologically, the Danube is much older than the
Rhine The Rhine ; french: Rhin ; nl, Rijn ; wa, Rén ; li, Rien; rm, label=Sursilvan, Rein, rm, label=Sutsilvan and Surmiran, Ragn, rm, label=Rumantsch Grischun, Vallader and Puter, Rain; it, Reno ; gsw, Rhi(n), including in Alsatian dialect, Al ...
, with which its catchment area competes in today's southern Germany. This has a few interesting geological complications. Since the Rhine is the only river rising in the
Alps The Alps () ; german: Alpen ; it, Alpi ; rm, Alps ; sl, Alpe . are the highest and most extensive mountain range system that lies entirely in Europe, stretching approximately across seven Alpine countries (from west to east): France, Swi ...
mountains which flows north towards the North Sea, an invisible line beginning at Piz Lunghin divides large parts of southern Germany, which is sometimes referred to as the European Watershed. Before the last
ice age An ice age is a long period of reduction in the temperature of Earth's surface and atmosphere, resulting in the presence or expansion of continental and polar ice sheets and alpine glaciers. Earth's climate alternates between ice ages and Green ...
in the
Pleistocene The Pleistocene ( , often referred to as the '' Ice age'') is the geological epoch that lasted from about 2,580,000 to 11,700 years ago, spanning the Earth's most recent period of repeated glaciations. Before a change was finally confirmed ...
, the Rhine started at the southwestern tip of the Black Forest, while the waters from the Alps that today feed the Rhine were carried east by the so-called ''Urdonau'' (original Danube). Parts of this ancient river's bed, which was much larger than today's Danube, can still be seen in (now waterless) canyons in today's landscape of the
Swabian Alb The Swabian Jura (german: Schwäbische Alb , more rarely ), sometimes also named Swabian Alps in English, is a mountain range in Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German s ...
. After the Upper Rhine valley had been eroded, most waters from the Alps changed their direction and began feeding the Rhine. Today's upper Danube is but a meek reflection of the ancient one. Since the Swabian Alb is largely shaped of porous
limestone Limestone (calcium carbonate ) is a type of carbonate rock, carbonate sedimentary rock which is the main source of the material Lime_(material), lime. It is composed mostly of the minerals calcite and aragonite, which are different Polymorphis ...
, and since the Rhine's level is much lower than the Danube's, today subsurface rivers carry much water from the Danube to the Rhine. On many days in the summer, when the Danube carries little water, it completely oozes away noisily into these underground channels at two locations in the Swabian Alb, which are referred to as the Donauversickerung ( Danube Sink). Most of this water resurfaces only south at the Aachtopf, Germany's wellspring with the highest flow, an average of , north of
Lake Constance Lake Constance (german: Bodensee, ) refers to three Body of water, bodies of water on the Rhine at the northern foot of the Alps: Upper Lake Constance (''Obersee''), Lower Lake Constance (''Untersee''), and a connecting stretch of the Rhine, ca ...
—thus feeding the Rhine. The European Water Divide applies only for those waters that pass beyond this point, and only during the days of the year when the Danube carries enough water to survive the sinkholes in the Donauversickerung. Since such large volumes of underground water erode much of the surrounding limestone, it is estimated that the Danube upper course will one day disappear entirely in favor of the Rhine, an event called stream capturing. The hydrological parameters of Danube are regularly monitored in Croatia at Batina,
Dalj Dalj ( sr-Cyrl, Даљ, hu, Dálya, german: Dallia, la, Teutoburgium) is a village on the Danube in eastern Croatia, near the confluence of the Drava and Danube, on the border with Serbia. It is located on the D519 (Croatia), D519 road, south of ...
,
Vukovar Vukovar () ( sr-Cyrl, Вуковар, hu, Vukovár, german: Wukowar) is a city in Croatia, in the eastern region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) a ...
and
Ilok Ilok () is the easternmost town in Croatia forming a geographic Salient (geography), salient surrounded by Vojvodina. Located in the Syrmia region, it lies on a hill overlooking the Danube river, which forms the border with the Bačka region of S ...
.


History

The Danube basin was the site of some of the earliest human cultures. The Danubian Neolithic cultures include the
Linear Pottery culture The Linear Pottery culture (LBK) is a major Horizon (archaeology), archaeological horizon of the European Neolithic period, flourishing . Derived from the German language, German :de:Linearbandkeramische Kultur, ''Linearbandkeramik'', it is ...
s of the mid-Danube basin. Many sites of the sixth-to-third millennium BCE
Vinča culture The Vinča culture (), also known as Turdaș culture or Turdaș–Vinča culture, is a Neolithic The Neolithic period, or New Stone Age, is an Old World archaeological period and the final division of the Stone Age. It saw the Neolithi ...
, (Vinča, Serbia) are sited along the Danube. The third millennium BCE Vučedol culture (from the Vučedol site near
Vukovar Vukovar () ( sr-Cyrl, Вуковар, hu, Vukovár, german: Wukowar) is a city in Croatia, in the eastern region In geography Geography (from Ancient Greek, Greek: , ''geographia''. Combination of Greek words ‘Geo’ (The Earth) a ...
,
Croatia , image_flag = Flag of Croatia.svg , image_coat = Coat of arms of Croatia.svg , anthem = " Lijepa naša domovino"("Our Beautiful Homeland") , image_map = , map_caption = , capi ...
) is famous for its ceramics.
Darius the Great Darius I ( peo, wiktionary:𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁, 𐎭𐎠𐎼𐎹𐎺𐎢𐏁 ; grc-gre, Δαρεῖος ; – 486 BCE), commonly known as Darius the Great, was a List of monarchs of Persia, Persian ruler who served as the third King o ...
, king of Persia, crossed the river in the late 6th century BCE to invade European Scythia and to subdue the
Scythians The Scythians or Scyths, and sometimes also referred to as the Classical Scythians and the Pontic Scythians, were an ancient Eastern * : "In modern scholarship the name 'Sakas' is reserved for the ancient tribes of northern and eastern Cent ...
.
Alexander the Great Alexander III of Macedon ( grc, wikt:Ἀλέξανδρος, Ἀλέξανδρος, Alexandros; 20/21 July 356 BC – 10/11 June 323 BC), commonly known as Alexander the Great, was a king of the Ancient Greece, ancient Greek kingdom of Maced ...
defeated the Triballian king
Syrmus Syrmus or Syrmos (also ''Syrmios'', Ancient Greek Ancient Greek includes the forms of the Greek language used in ancient Greece and the classical antiquity, ancient world from around 1500 BC to 300 BC. It is often roughly divided into the ...
and the northern barbarian Thracian and Illyrian tribes by advancing from Macedonia as far as the Danube in 336 BCE. Under the Romans, the Danube formed the border of the Empire with the tribes to the north almost from its source to its mouth. At the same time, it was a route for the transport of troops and the supply of settlements downstream. From 37 CE to the reign of the Emperor
Valentinian I Valentinian I ( la, Valentinianus; 32117 November 375), sometimes called Valentinian the Great, was Roman emperor from 364 to 375. Upon becoming emperor, he made his brother Valens Valens ( grc-gre, Ουάλης, Ouálēs; 328 – 9 Augus ...
(364–375) the
Danubian Limes The Danubian Limes (german: Donaulimes), or Danube Limes, refers to the Roman military frontier or ''Limes (Roman Empire), limes'' which lies along the River Danube in the present-day German state of Bavaria, in Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Croatia ...
was the northeastern border of the Empire, with occasional interruptions such as the fall of the Danubian Limes in 259. The crossing of the Danube into
Dacia Dacia (, ; ) was the land inhabited by the Dacians, its core in Transylvania, stretching to the Danube in the south, the Black Sea in the east, and the Tisza in the west. The Carpathian Mountains were located in the middle of Dacia. It thus ...
was achieved by the ''Imperium Romanum'', first in two battles in 102 and then in 106 after the construction of a bridge in 101 near the garrison town of Drobeta at the Iron Gate. This victory over Dacia under
Decebalus Decebalus (), sometimes referred to as Diurpaneus, was the last Dacians, Dacian king. He is famous for fighting three wars, with varying success, against the Roman Empire under two emperors. After raiding south across the Danube, he defeated a Rom ...
enabled the Province of
Dacia Dacia (, ; ) was the land inhabited by the Dacians, its core in Transylvania, stretching to the Danube in the south, the Black Sea in the east, and the Tisza in the west. The Carpathian Mountains were located in the middle of Dacia. It thus ...
to be created, but in 271 it was lost again. Avars used the river as their southeastern border in the 6th century. File:Trajan's Bridge Across the Danube, Modern Reconstruction.jpg, The oldest bridge across the Danube, constructed by
Apollodorus of Damascus Apollodorus of Damascus ( grc, Ἀπολλόδωρος ὁ Δαμασκηνός) was a Nabataean architect and engineer from Damascus, Syria (Roman province), Roman Syria, who flourished during the 2nd century AD. As an engineer he authored sever ...
between 103 and 105 CE, directed by
Trajan Trajan ( ; la, Caesar Nerva Traianus; 18 September 539/11 August 117) was Roman emperor from 98 to 117. Officially declared ''optimus princeps'' ("best ruler") by the Roman Senate, senate, Trajan is remembered as a successful soldier-emper ...
, modern
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Bas ...
and
Romania Romania ( ; ro, România ) is a country located at the crossroads of Central Europe, Central, Eastern Europe, Eastern, and Southeast Europe, Southeastern Europe. It borders Bulgaria to the south, Ukraine to the north, Hungary to the west, S ...
. File:Mária Valéria´s bridge.jpg, At
Esztergom Esztergom ( ; german: Gran; la, Solva or ; sk, Ostrihom, known by Names of European cities in different languages: E–H#E, alternative names) is a city with county rights in northern Hungary, northwest of the capital Budapest. It lies in Kom ...
and Štúrovo, the Danube separates
Hungary Hungary ( hu, Magyarország ) is a landlocked country in Central Europe. Spanning of the Pannonian Basin, Carpathian Basin, it is bordered by Slovakia to the north, Ukraine to the northeast, Romania to the east and southeast, Serbia to the ...
from
Slovakia Slovakia (; sk, Slovensko ), officially the Slovak Republic ( sk, Slovenská republika, links=no ), is a landlocked country in Central Europe. It is bordered by Poland to the north, Ukraine to the east, Hungary to the south, Austria to the s ...
. File:Vena 06.jpg, The Danube in
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
File:Danube at belene.jpg, The Danube between Belene and Belene Island, Bulgaria File:Frozen Danube Reichsbrücke.JPG, A look upstream from the
Donauinsel The Donauinsel (Danube Island) is a long, narrow artificial island An artificial island is an island that has been constructed by people rather than formed by natural means. Artificial islands may vary in size from small islets reclaimed s ...
in Vienna,
Austria The Republic of Austria, commonly just Austria, , bar, Östareich is a country in the southern part of Central Europe, lying in the Eastern Alps. It is a federation of nine States of Austria, states, one of which is the capital, Vienna, ...
during an unusually cold winter (February 2006). A frozen Danube usually occurs just once or twice in a lifetime. File:Bratislavaminorflood.jpg,
Bratislava Bratislava (, also ; ; german: Preßburg/Pressburg ; hu, Pozsony) is the Capital city, capital and largest city of Slovakia. Officially, the population of the city is about 475,000; however, it is estimated to be more than 660,000 — approxim ...
does not usually suffer major floods, but the Danube sometimes overflows its right bank.


Ancient cultural perspectives of the lower Danube

Part of the rivers Danubius or Istros was also known as (together with the Black Sea) the ''Okeanos'' in ancient times, being called the ''Okeanos Potamos'' (Okeanos River). The lower Danube was also called the ''Keras Okeanoio'' (Gulf or Horn of Okeanos) in the ''Argonautica'' by Apollonius Rhodos (Argon. IV. 282). At the end of the ''Okeanos Potamos'', is the holy island of Alba (Leuke, Pytho Nisi, Isle of Snakes), sacred to the Pelasgian (and later, Greek) Apollo, greeting the sun rising in the east. Hecateus Abderitas refers to Apollo's island from the region of the Hyperboreans, in the Okeanos. It was on Leuke, in one version of his legend, that the hero Achilles was buried (to this day, one of the mouths of the Danube is called Chilia). Old Romanian folk songs recount a white monastery on a white island with nine priests.''Dacia Preistorica''
, Nicolae Densusianu (1913).


Rivalry along the Danube

Between the late 14th and late 19th centuries, the
Ottoman Empire The Ottoman Empire, * ; is an archaic version. The definite article forms and were synonymous * and el, Оθωμανική Αυτοκρατορία, Othōmanikē Avtokratoria, label=none * info page on book at Martin Luther University) ...
competed first with the
Kingdom of Serbia The Kingdom of Serbia ( sr-cyr, Краљевина Србија, Kraljevina Srbija) was a country located in the Balkans which was created when the ruler of the Principality of Serbia, Milan I of Serbia, Milan I, was proclaimed king in 1882. Sin ...
,
Second Bulgarian Empire The Second Bulgarian Empire (; ) was a medieval Bulgarians, Bulgarian state that existed between 1185 and 1396. A successor to the First Bulgarian Empire, it reached the peak of its power under Tsars Kaloyan of Bulgaria, Kaloyan and Ivan Asen II ...
,
Kingdom of Hungary The Kingdom of Hungary was a monarchy in Central Europe that existed for nearly a millennium, from the Middle Ages into the 20th century. The Principality of Hungary emerged as a Christian kingdom upon the Coronation of the Hungarian monarch, c ...
, Principality of Wallachia,
Principality of Moldavia Moldavia ( ro, Moldova, or , literally "The Country of Moldavia"; in Romanian Cyrillic alphabet, Romanian Cyrillic: or ; chu, Землѧ Молдавскаѧ; el, Ἡγεμονία τῆς Μολδαβίας) is a historical region and for ...
and later with the Austrian Habsburgs,
Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth The Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, formally known as the Kingdom of Poland and the Grand Duchy of Lithuania, and, after 1791, as the Commonwealth of Poland, was a bi-confederal state, sometimes called a federation, of Crown of the Kingdom of ...
, and
Russian Empire The Russian Empire was an empire and the final period of the List of Russian monarchs, Russian monarchy from 1721 to 1917, ruling across large parts of Eurasia. It succeeded the Tsardom of Russia following the Treaty of Nystad, which ended th ...
for controlling the Danube (''Tuna'' in Turkish), which became the northern border of the Ottoman Empire for centuries. Many of the
Ottoman–Hungarian Wars The Ottoman–Hungarian Wars were a series of battles between the Ottoman Empire and the medieval Kingdom of Hungary in the Middle Ages, Kingdom of Hungary. Following the Byzantium under the Palaiologoi, Byzantine Civil War, the Ottoman Fall of ...
(1366–1526) and
Ottoman–Habsburg wars The Ottoman–Habsburg wars were fought from the 16th through the 18th centuries between the Ottoman Empire and the Habsburg monarchy, which was at times supported by the Kingdom of Hungary, Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth, and Habsburg Spai ...
(1526–1791) were fought along the river. The most important wars of the Ottoman Empire along the Danube include the
Battle of Nicopolis The Battle of Nicopolis took place on 25 September 1396 and resulted in the rout of an allied crusader army of Kingdom of Hungary, Hungarian, Croatia in personal union with Hungary, Croatian, Second Bulgarian Empire, Bulgarian, Wallachian, Fra ...
(1396), the
Siege of Belgrade (1456) The siege of Belgrade, Battle of Belgrade or siege of Nándorfehérvár ( hu, Nándorfehérvár ostroma or , "Triumph of Nándorfehérvár"; sr-Cyr, Опсада Београда, Opsada Beograda) was a military blockade of Belgrade that o ...
, the Battle of Mohács (1526), the first Turkish Siege of Vienna (1529), the Siege of Esztergom (1543), the Long War (1591–1606), the
Battle of Vienna The Battle of Vienna; pl, odsiecz wiedeńska, lit=Relief of Vienna or ''bitwa pod Wiedniem''; ota, Beç Ḳalʿası Muḥāṣarası, lit=siege of Vienna#Etymology, Beç; tr, İkinci Viyana Kuşatması, lit=second siege of Vienna took place ...
(1683), the
Great Turkish War The Great Turkish War (german: Großer Türkenkrieg), also called the Wars of the Holy League ( tr, Kutsal İttifak Savaşları), was a series of conflicts between the Ottoman Empire and the Holy League (1684), Holy League consisting of the Holy ...
(1683–1699), the
Crimean War The Crimean War, , was fought from October 1853 to February 1856 between Russian Empire, Russia and an ultimately victorious alliance of the Ottoman Empire, Second French Empire, France, the United Kingdom of Great Britain and Ireland, Uni ...
(1853–1856) and the
Russo-Turkish War (1877–1878) The Russo-Turkish War of 1877–1878 ( tr, 93 Harbi, lit=War of ’93, named for the year 1293 in the Islamic calendar; russian: Русско-турецкая война, Russko-turetskaya voyna, "Russian–Turkish war") was a conflict between th ...
.


Second World War

During the 2011 renovation of the Margaret Bridge,
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
, human remains were discovered. The mostly Jewish remains were victims of the
far-right Far-right politics, also referred to as the extreme right or right-wing extremism, are political beliefs and actions further to the right of the left–right political spectrum than the standard political right, particularly in terms of being ...
Arrow Cross Party, who briefly governed Hungary from 1944.


Economics


Drinking water

Along its course, the Danube is a source of drinking water for about 20 million people. In
Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German state () in Southwest Germany, east of the Rhine, which forms the southern part of Germany's western border with France. With more than 11.07 million inha ...
, Germany, almost 30 percent (as of 2004) of the water for the area between
Stuttgart Stuttgart (; Swabian German, Swabian: ; ) is the capital city, capital and List of cities in Baden-Württemberg by population, largest city of the States of Germany, German state of Baden-Württemberg. It is located on the Neckar river in a fe ...
,
Bad Mergentheim Bad Mergentheim (; Mergentheim until 1926; East Franconian German, East Franconian: ''Märchedol'') is a town in the Main-Tauber-Kreis district in the Germany, German state of Baden-Württemberg. It has a population of around 23,000. An officially ...
,
Aalen Aalen () is a former Free Imperial City located in the eastern part of the German state of Baden-Württemberg, about east of Stuttgart and north of Ulm. It is the seat of the Ostalbkreis district and is its largest town. It is also the large ...
and Alb-Donau (district) comes from purified water of the Danube. Other cities such as Ulm and
Passau Passau (; bar, label= Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. Passau' ...
also use some water from the Danube. In Austria and Hungary, most water is drawn from ground and spring sources, and only in rare cases is water from the Danube used. Most states also find it too difficult to clean the water because of extensive pollution; only parts of Romania where the water is cleaner still obtain drinking water from the Danube on a regular basis.


Navigation and transport

In the 19th century, the Danube was an important waterway but was, as ''The Times'' of London put it, "annually swept by ice that will lift a large ship out of the water or cut her in two as if she were a carrot." Today, as "Corridor VII" of the
European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of Member state of the European Union, member states that are located primarily in Europe, Europe. The union has a total area of ...
, the Danube is an important transport route. Since the opening of the
Rhine–Main–Danube Canal The Rhine–Main–Danube Canal (German language, German: ''Rhein-Main-Donau-Kanal''; also called Main-Danube Canal, RMD Canal or Europa Canal), is a canal in Bavaria, Germany. Connecting the Main (r ...
, the river connects the
Port of Rotterdam The Port of Rotterdam is the largest seaport in Europe, and the world's largest seaport outside of East Asia, located in and near the city of Rotterdam, in the province of South Holland in the Netherlands. From 1962 until 2004, it was the List o ...
and the industrial centers of Western Europe with the
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
and, also, through the Danube – Black Sea Canal, with the
Port of Constanța The Port of Constanța is located in Constanța, Romania, on the western coast of the Black Sea, from the Bosphorus Strait and from the Sulina Branch, through which the Danube, Danube river flows into the sea. It covers , of which is land and t ...
. The waterway is designed for large-scale inland vessels () but it can carry much larger vessels on most of its course. The Danube has been partly canalized in Germany (5 locks) and Austria (10 locks). Proposals to build a number of new locks to improve navigation have not progressed, due in part to environmental concerns. Downstream from the Freudenau locks in Vienna, canalization of the Danube was limited to the Gabčíkovo dam and locks near Bratislava and the two double Iron Gate locks in the border stretch of the Danube between Serbia and Romania. These locks have larger dimensions. Downstream of the Iron Gate, the river is free flowing all the way to the Black Sea, a distance of more than . The Danube connects with the Rhine–Main–Danube Canal at
Kelheim Kelheim () is a town and municipality in Bavaria Bavaria ( ; ), officially the Free State of Bavaria (german: Freistaat Bayern, link=no ), is a state in the south-east of Germany Germany,, officially the Federal Republic of G ...
, with the Donaukanal in Vienna, and with the Danube–Black Sea Canal at Cernavodă. Apart from a couple of secondary navigable branches, the only major navigable rivers linked to the Danube are the ,
Sava The Sava (; , ; sr-cyr, Сава, hu, Száva) is a river in Central Europe, Central and Southeast Europe, a right-bank and the longest tributary of the Danube. It flows through Slovenia, Croatia and along its border with Bosnia and Herzegovina ...
and
Tisa The Tisza, Tysa or Tisa, is one of the major rivers of Central Europe, 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 border ...
. In Serbia, a canal network also connects to the river; the network, known as the
Danube–Tisa–Danube Canal Danube The Danube ( ; ) is a river that was once a long-standing frontier of the Roman Empire and today connects 10 European countries, running through their territories or being a border. Originating in Germany, the Danube flows sout ...
s, links sections downstream. In the Austrian and German sections of the Danube, a type of flat-bottomed boat called a Zille was developed for use along the river. Zillen are still used today for fishing, ferrying, and other transport of goods and people in this area.


Fishing

The importance of fishing on the Danube, which was critical in the
Middle Ages In the history of Europe, the Middle Ages or medieval period lasted approximately from the late 5th to the late 15th centuries, similar to the Post-classical, post-classical period of World history (field), global history. It began with t ...
, has declined dramatically. Some fishermen are still active at certain points on the river, and the
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
still has an important industry. However, some of the river's resources have been managed in an environmentally unsustainable manner in the past, leading to damage by pollution, alterations to the channel, and major infrastructure development, including large hydropower dams. The
sturgeon Sturgeon is the common name for the 27 species of fish belonging to the family Acipenseridae. The earliest sturgeon fossils date to the Late Cretaceous, and are descended from other, earlier Acipenseriformes, acipenseriform fish, which date b ...
stocks associated with the Danube River basin have, over the centuries, formed the basis of a large and significant commercial fishery, renowned throughout the world. The construction of the dams, besides overfishing and river pollution, has a significant role in sturgeon population decline because it creates a barrier for fish migratory species that usually spawn in the upper parts of the river. The spawning areas of migratory fishes species has been dramatically reduced by the construction of hydropower and navigation systems at Iron Gates I (1974) and Iron Gates II (1984) The initial design of these dams has not included any fish passage facility. The possibility of building a man-made fish pass enabling migration for fish species including the sturgeon, is currently under review by projects such as We Pass. The Upper Danube
ecoregion An ecoregion (ecological region) or ecozone (ecological zone) is an ecology, ecologically and geographically defined area that is smaller than a bioregion, which in turn is smaller than a biogeographic realm. Ecoregions cover relatively large a ...
alone has about 60 fish species and the Lower Danube–
Dniester The Dniester, ; rus, Дне́стр, links=1, Dnéstr, ˈdⁿʲestr; ro, Nistru; grc, Τύρᾱς, Tyrās, ; la, Tyrās, la, Danaster, label=none, ) ( ,) is a transboundary river in Eastern Europe. It runs first through Ukraine and ...
ecoregion has about twice as many.Hales, J. (2013).
Upper Danube
'. Freshwater Ecoregions of the World. Retrieved 25 February 2013.
Among these are an exceptionally high diversity of sturgeon, a total of six species ( beluga, Russian sturgeon, bastard sturgeon, sterlet, starry sturgeon and European sea sturgeon), but these are all threatened and have largely–or entirely in the case of the European sea sturgeon–disappeared from the river. The
huchen The huchen (''Hucho hucho'') (, from German), also known as Danube salmon or redfish (german: Rotfisch), is a large species of freshwater fish Freshwater fish are those that spend some or all of their lives in fresh water, such as rivers an ...
, one of the largest species of salmon, is
endemic Endemism is the state of a species In biology, a species is the basic unit of Taxonomy (biology), classification and a taxonomic rank of an organism, as well as a unit of biodiversity. A species is often defined as the largest group of or ...
to the Danube basin, but has been introduced elsewhere by humans.


Tourism

Important tourist and natural spots along the Danube include the
Wachau The Wachau () is an Austrian valley with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems an der Donau, Krems that also ...
Valley, the Nationalpark Donau-Auen in Austria, Gemenc in Hungary, the Naturpark Obere Donau in Germany, Kopački rit in Croatia, Iron Gate in Serbia and Romania, the
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
in Romania, and the Srebarna Nature Reserve in Bulgaria. Also, leisure and travel cruises on the river are of significance. Besides the often frequented route between Vienna and Budapest, some ships even go from Passau in Germany to the Danube Delta and back. During the peak season, more than 70 cruise liners are in use on the river, while the traffic-free upper parts can only be discovered with canoes or boats. The Danube region is not only culturally and historically of importance, but also due to its fascinating landmarks and sights important for the regional tourism industry. With its well established infrastructure regarding cycling, hiking, and travel possibilities, the region along the Danube attracts every year an international clientele. In Austria alone, there are more than 14 million overnight stays and about 6.5 million arrivals per year. The Danube Banks in
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
are a part of Unesco World Heritage sites, they can be viewed from a number of sightseeing cruises offered in the city. The Danube Bend is also a popular tourist destination.


Danube Bike Trail

The Danube Bike Trail (also called Danube Cycle Path or the ''Donauradweg'') is a bicycle trail along the river. Especially the parts through Germany and Austria are very popular, which makes it one of the 10 most popular bike trails in Germany. The Danube Bike Trail starts at the origin of the Danube and ends where the river flows into the Black Sea. It is divided into four sections: #
Donaueschingen Donaueschingen (; Low Alemannic: ''Eschinge'') is a German town in the Black Forest in the southwest of the federal state of Baden-Württemberg Baden-Württemberg (; ), commonly shortened to BW or BaWü, is a states of Germany, German sta ...
Passau Passau (; bar, label= Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. Passau' ...
() #
Passau Passau (; bar, label= Central Bavarian, Båssa) is a city in Lower Bavaria, Germany, also known as the Dreiflüssestadt ("City of Three Rivers") as the river Danube is joined by the Inn from the south and the Ilz from the north. Passau' ...
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
() #
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
() #
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
Black Sea The Black Sea is a marginal sea, marginal Mediterranean sea (oceanography), mediterranean sea of the Atlantic Ocean lying between Europe and Asia, east of the Balkans, south of the East European Plain, west of the Caucasus, and north of An ...
()


Sultans Trail

The Sultans Trail is a hiking trail that runs along the river between
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
and
Smederevo Smederevo ( sr-Cyrl, Смедерево, ) is a list of cities in Serbia, city and the administrative center of the Podunavlje District in eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, about downstream of the Serbian capital, ...
in Serbia. From there the Sultans Trail leaves the Danube, terminating in
Istanbul Istanbul ( , ; tr, İstanbul ), formerly known as Constantinople ( grc-gre, Κωνσταντινούπολις; la, Constantinopolis), is the List of largest cities and towns in Turkey, largest city in Turkey, serving as the country's economic, ...
. Sections along the river are as follows. #
Vienna Vienna ( ; german: Wien ; bar, Wean, label=Bavarian language, Austro-Bavarian ) is the Capital city, capital, largest city, and one of States of Austria, nine states of Austria. Vienna is Austria's List of cities and towns in Austria, most populou ...
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
() #
Budapest Budapest (, ; ) is the capital and most populous city of Hungary. It is the ninth-largest city in the European Union The European Union (EU) is a supranational union, supranational political union, political and economic union of ...
Smederevo Smederevo ( sr-Cyrl, Смедерево, ) is a list of cities in Serbia, city and the administrative center of the Podunavlje District in eastern Serbia. It is situated on the right bank of the Danube, about downstream of the Serbian capital, ...
()


Donausteig

In 2010, the Donausteig, a hiking trail from Passau to Grein, was opened. It is long and it is divided into 23 stages. The route passes through five Bavarian and 40 Austrian communities. An impressive landscape and beautiful viewpoints, which are along the river, are the highlights of the ''Donausteig''.


The Route of Emperors and Kings

The Route of Emperors and Kings is an international touristic route leading from
Regensburg Regensburg or is a city in eastern Bavaria, at the confluence of the Danube, Naab and Regen River, Regen rivers. It is capital of the Upper Palatinate subregion of the state in the south of Germany. With more than 150,000 inhabitants, Regens ...
to Budapest, calling in Passau, Linz and Vienna. The international consortium ''ARGE Die Donau-Straße der Kaiser und Könige'', comprising ten tourism organisations, shipping companies, and cities, strives for the conservation and touristic development of the Danube region. In medieval Regensburg, with its maintained old town, stone bridge and
cathedral A cathedral is a church (building), church that contains the ''cathedra'' () of a bishop, thus serving as the central church of a diocese, Annual conferences within Methodism, conference, or episcopate. Churches with the function of "cathedral ...
, the Route of Emperors and Kings begins. It continues to Engelhartszell, with the only Trappist monastery in Austria. Further highlight-stops along the Danube, include the "Schlögener Schlinge", the city of Linz, which was European Capital of Culture in 2009 with its contemporary art richness, the
Melk Abbey Melk Abbey (german: Stift Melk) is a Benedictine Order, Benedictine abbey above the town of Melk, Lower Austria, Austria, on a rocky outcrop overlooking the Danube river, adjoining the Wachau valley. The abbey contains the tomb of Coloman of Stocke ...
, the university city of Krems and the cosmopolitan city of Vienna. Before the Route of Emperors and Kings ends, you pass Bratislava and Budapest, the latter of which was seen as the twin town of Vienna during the times of the
Austro-Hungarian Empire Austria-Hungary, often referred to as the Austro-Hungarian Empire,, the Dual Monarchy, or Austria, was a constitutional monarchy and great power in Central Europe between 1867 and 1918. It was formed with the Austro-Hungarian Compromise ...
. Since ancient Roman times, famous emperors and their retinue traveled on and along the Danube and used the river for travel and transportation. While traveling on the mainland was quite exhausting, most people preferred to travel by ship on the Danube. So the Route of Emperors and Kings was the setting for many important historical events, which characterize the Danube up until today. The route got its name from the Holy Roman Emperor Frederick I of Barbarossa and the
crusaders The Crusades were a series of religious wars initiated, supported, and sometimes directed by the Latin Church in the medieval period. The best known of these Crusades are those to the Holy Land in the period between 1095 and 1291 that were in ...
as well as from
Richard I of England Richard I (8 September 1157 – 6 April 1199) was King of England from 1189 until his death in 1199. He also ruled as Duke of Normandy, Duke of Aquitaine, Aquitaine and Duchy of Gascony, Gascony, Lord of Cyprus, and Count of Poitiers, Co ...
who had been jailed in the Dürnstein Castle, which is situated above the Danube. The most imperial journeys throughout time were those of the Habsburg family. Once crowned in
Frankfurt Frankfurt, officially Frankfurt am Main (; Hessian dialects, Hessian: , "Franks, Frank ford (crossing), ford on the Main (river), Main"), is the most populous city in the States of Germany, German state of Hesse. Its 791,000 inhabitants as o ...
, the emperors ruled from Vienna and also held in Regensburg the
Perpetual Diet of Regensburg The Perpetual Diet of Regensburg or the Eternal Diet of Regensburg, (german: Immerwährender Reichstag) also commonly called in English the perpetual Diet of Ratisbon,Jean Berenger, C.A. Simpson, ''The Habsburg Empire 1700-1918'' (2014), p. 134 fr ...
. Many famous castles, palaces, residences, and state-run convents were built by the Habsburger along the river. Nowadays they still remind us of the bold architecture of the "Donaubarock". Today, people can not only travel by boat on the Danube but also by train, by bike on the Danube Bike Trail or walk on the "Donausteig" and visit the UNESCO World Heritage cities of Regensburg,
Wachau The Wachau () is an Austrian valley with a picturesque landscape formed by the Danube river. It is one of the most prominent tourist destinations of Lower Austria, located midway between the towns of Melk and Krems an der Donau, Krems that also ...
and Vienna.


Important national parks

* Naturpark Obere Donau (Germany) * Donauauen zwischen Neuburg und Ingolstadt (Germany)
map
* Nature protection area Donauleiten (Germany) * Nationalpark Donau Auen (Austria)
map
* Chránená krajinná oblasť Dunajské luhy (Slovakia)
map
* Danube-Ipoly National Park (Hungary)
map
* Danube-Drava National Park (Hungary)
map
* Naturalpark Kopački Rit (Croatia)
map
* Gornje Podunavlje Nature Reserve (Serbia)
map
*
Fruška Gora Fruška gora ( sr-Cyrl, Фрушка гора; hu, Tarcal-hegység) is a mountain A mountain is an elevated portion of the Earth's crust, generally with steep sides that show significant exposed bedrock. Although definitions vary, a mounta ...
National Park (Serbia) * Koviljsko-petrovaradinski rit Nature Reserve (Serbia) *
Great War Island Great War Island ( sr, Велико ратно острво, Veliko ratno ostrvo) is a river island in Belgrade, capital of Serbia. It is located at the confluence of Sava and Danube rivers. Though uninhabited, the island is part of the Belgrade Ci ...
Nature Reserve (Serbia) * Đerdap National park (Serbia) * Iron Gates Natural Park (Romania) * Persina Nature Park (Bulgaria)
map
* Kalimok-Brushlen Protected Site (Bulgaria)
map
* Srebarna Nature Reserve (Bulgaria)
map
* Măcin Mountains Natural Park (Romania) * Balta Mică a Brăilei Natural Park (Romania) *
Danube Delta The Danube Delta ( ro, Delta Dunării, ; uk, Дельта Дунаю, Deľta Dunaju, ) is the second largest river delta in Europe, after the Volga Delta, and is the best preserved on the continent. The greater part of the Danube Delta lies in Ro ...
Biosphere Reserve (Romania)
map
* Danube Biosphere Reserve in Ukraine File:Gornje Podunavlje.jpg, Gornje Podunavlje Special Nature Reserve in
Serbia Serbia (, ; Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), officially the Republic of Serbia (Serbian language, Serbian: , , ), is a landlocked country in Southeast Europe, Southeastern and Central Europe, situated at the crossroads of the Pannonian Bas ...
File:Golubaccas.jpg, Golubac Fortress in Đerdap National park, Serbia


In popular culture

* The Danube is mentioned in the title of a famous
waltz The waltz ( ), meaning "to roll or revolve") is a ballroom dance, ballroom and folk dance, normally in triple (3/4 time, time), performed primarily in closed position. History There are many references to a sliding or gliding dance that w ...
by Austrian composer
Johann Strauss Johann Baptist Strauss II (25 October 1825 – 3 June 1899), also known as Johann Strauss Jr., the Younger or the Son (german: links=no, Sohn), was an List of Austrian composers, Austrian composer of light music, particularly dance music and ...
, '' The Blue Danube Waltz'' (''On the Beautiful Blue Danube''). This piece is well known across the world and is also used widely as a
lullaby A lullaby (), or cradle song, is a soothing song or piece of music that is usually played for (or sung to) children (for adults see music and sleep). The purposes of lullabies vary. In some societies they are used to pass down cultural knowledg ...
. '' The Waves of the Danube'' ( ro, Valurile Dunării) is a waltz by the Romanian composer Iosif Ivanovici (1845–1902); as the Anniversary Song, it has been performed by many vocalists, such as
Al Jolson Al Jolson (born Eizer Yoelson; June 9, 1886 – October 23, 1950) was a Lithuanian-American Jewish Jews ( he, יְהוּדִים, , ) or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and nation A nation is a community of people forme ...
,
Rosemary Clooney Rosemary Clooney (May 23, 1928 – June 29, 2002) was an American singer and actress. She came to prominence in the early 1950s with the song "Come On-a My House", which was followed by other pop numbers such as "Botch-a-Me (Ba-Ba-Baciami Piccin ...
,
Vera Lynn Dame Vera Margaret Lynn (; 20 March 191718 June 2020) was an English singer and entertainer whose musical recordings and performances were very popular during World War II. She is Honorific nicknames in popular music, honorifically known as ...
, Tom Jones, and countless others. Anniversary_Waltz,_though_that_is_actually_a_different_song_and_melody..html" ;"title="Waves of the Danube">Anniversary Waltz, though that is actually a different song and melody.">Waves of the Danube">Anniversary Waltz, though that is actually a different song and melody.
Joe Zawinul Josef Erich Zawinul ( '; 7 July 1932 – 11 September 2007) was an Austrian jazz and jazz fusion keyboardist and composer. First coming to prominence with saxophonist Cannonball Adderley, Zawinul went on to play with Miles Davis and to bec ...
wrote a
symphony A symphony is an extended musical composition in Western classical music, most often for orchestra An orchestra (; ) is a large Musical ensemble, instrumental ensemble typical of classical music, which combines instruments from different ...
about the Danube called '' Stories of the Danube''. It was performed for the first time at the 1993
Bruckner Josef Anton Bruckner (; 4 September 182411 October 1896) was an Austrian composer, organist, and music theorist best known for his symphonies, masses, Te Deum The "Te Deum" (, ; from its incipit, , ) is a Latin Christian hymn traditiona ...
festival, at
Linz Linz ( , ; cs, Linec) is the capital of Upper Austria and List of cities and towns in Austria, third-largest city in Austria. In the north of the country, it is on the Danube south of the Czech Republic, Czech border. In 2018, the population ...
. * The Danube figures prominently in the Bulgarian National Anthem, as a symbolic representation of the country's natural beauty. In Lithuanian folklore songs, the appearance of Danube (Dunojus, Dunojėlis) is more common than the appearance of the longest Lithuanian river
Neman The Neman, Nioman, Nemunas or MemelTo bankside nations of the present: Lithuanian: be, Нёман, , ; russian: Неман, ''Neman''; past: ger, Memel (where touching Prussia only, otherwise Nieman); lv, Nemuna; et, Neemen; pl, Niemen; ...
. * The German tradition of landscape painting, the Danube school, was developed in the Danube valley in the 16th century. * One of
Claudio Magris Claudio Magris (born 10 April 1939) is an Italian scholar, translator and writer. He was a Italian Senate, senator for Friuli-Venezia Giulia from 1994 to 1996. Life Magris graduated from the University of Turin, where he studied German studies, ...
's masterpieces is called ''Danube'' (). The book, published in 1986, is a large cultural-historical essay, in which Magris travels the Danube from the first sources to the delta, tracing the rich European ethnic and cultural heritage, literary and ideological past and present along the way. *
Jules Verne Jules Gabriel Verne (;'' Longman Pronunciation Dictionary''. ; 8 February 1828 – 24 March 1905) was a French novelist, poet, and playwright. His collaboration with the publisher Pierre-Jules Hetzel led to the creation of the '' Voyages ex ...
's '' The Danube Pilot'' (1908) (''Le Pilote du Danube'') depicts the adventures of fisherman Serge Ladko as he travels down the river. * In the ''
Star Trek ''Star Trek'' is an American science fiction media franchise created by Gene Roddenberry, which began with the Star Trek: The Original Series, eponymous 1960s television series and quickly became a worldwide Popular culture, pop-culture Cul ...
'' universe, the ''Danube''-class runabout is a type of
starship A starship, starcraft, or interstellar spacecraft is a theoretical spacecraft designed for interstellar travel, traveling between planetary systems. The term is mostly found in science fiction. Reference to a "star-ship" appears as early as 188 ...
used by the
Federation A federation (also known as a federal state) is a political entity characterized by a union of partially self-governing provinces, states, or other regions under a central federal government (federalism). In a federation, the self-govern ...
Starfleet Starfleet is a fictional organization in the ''Star Trek'' media franchise. Within this fictional universe, Starfleet is a uniformed space force maintained by the United Federation of Planets ("the Federation") as the principal means for conduc ...
, most notably in the '' Deep Space Nine'' series. * Miklós Jancsó's film the ''
Blue Danube Waltz "The Blue Danube" is the common English title of "An der schönen blauen Donau", Opus number, Op. 314 (German for "By the Beautiful Blue Danube"), a waltz (music), waltz by the List of Austrian composers, Austrian composer Johann Strauss II ...
'' (1992) *
Algernon Blackwood Algernon Henry Blackwood, CBE (14 March 1869 – 10 December 1951) was an English broadcasting narrator, journalist, novelist and short story writer, and among the most prolific ghost story A ghost story is any piece of fiction, or drama, ...
's short story " The Willows" mostly takes place on the river.


See also

* Danube Monarchy *
Danubian Principalities The Danubian Principalities ( ro, Principatele Dunărene, sr, Дунавске кнежевине, translit=Dunavske kneževine) was a conventional name given to the Principality, Principalities of Moldavia and Wallachia, which emerged in the ...
*
List of cities and towns on Danube river This is a list of the largest cities A city is a human settlement In geography, statistics and archaeology, a settlement, locality or populated place is a community in which people live. The complexity of a settlement can range from a ...
*
2006 European floods From February to April 2006 many rivers across Europe, especially the Elbe The Elbe (; cs, Labe ; nds, Ilv or ''Elv''; Upper and dsb, Łobjo) is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern ...
* '' Between the Woods and the Water'', a travel book telling of a Danubian journey in 1934 * '' The Ister'', 2004 film * Executive Agency for Exploration and Maintenance of the Danube River * List of crossings of the Danube * Steamboats on the Danube * Black Sea drainage basin


References


External links

*
Danube watershed map and information from the World Resources Institute

Danube Panorama Project

сайт о Дунае

Danube and the sport of rowing

Danube image pool on Flickr

Danube Tourist Commission

danubemap.eu – The Tourist Map of the Danubearchive

International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River

Bridges of Budapest over the Danube river

Description of the Danube estuary in June 1877, ''The Times'' of LondonOld maps of the Danube
Eran Laor Cartographic Collection, The
National Library of Israel The National Library of Israel (NLI; he, הספרייה הלאומית, translit=HaSifria HaLeumit; ar, المكتبة الوطنية في إسرائيل), formerly Jewish National and University Library (JNUL; he, בית הספרים הלא ...
{{Authority control * International rivers of Europe Geography of Bács-Kiskun County Geography of Central Europe Geography of Eastern Europe Geography of Southeastern Europe Geography of Vojvodina Rivers of Austria Rivers of Bavaria Rivers of Bulgaria Rivers of Croatia Rivers of Germany Rivers of Hungary Rivers of Moldova Rivers of Romania Rivers of Serbia Rivers of Slovakia Rivers of Ukraine Rivers of Odesa Oblast Rivers of Baden-Württemberg Rivers of Upper Austria Rivers of Lower Austria Rivers of Vienna Bačka Banat Syrmia Border rivers Bulgaria–Romania border Croatia–Serbia border Hungary–Slovakia border Romania–Ukraine border Romania–Serbia border Federal waterways in Germany Articles containing video clips