The Wonders of the Danube River


Danube River

The Danube River is one of the oldest in Europe with a length of 2,860 miles (or 4,760 km). It is possible to travel along the Danube River by boat. Trips vary between 6-10 days depending on your route.

There are over 80 ports along the Danube River where you can dock. Since the river is used for both transport and recreation, at busy times you might have to wait. This old river is well maintained with good navigable conditions along its entire length.

The Danube’s catchment area has a population of approximately 160 million people. The tributaries of the Danube River are the Inn, Mur, Rába, Mura, Drava, Tisza and the Sava. Since 2009, there is a UNESCO world heritage site along the Danube River that runs from its source right down to the delta.

History of the Danube River

A small boat in a body of water surrounded by trees

The word ‘Danube’ comes from Latin and means “the way of the Danes”. It was first mentioned by this name in AD 160 by the Roman historian Tacitus. It is believed that Celtic tribes named it after their goddess, Danu. For centuries, various groups including Romans, Celts, Goths, Huns, Avars, Slavs, and Bulgars have all occupied the area.

The Romans first used the Danube River as a defense against invading tribes. They created a military road that ran along both banks of the river to enable them to launch attacks easily. Their empire later included the lands alongside the Danube River.

The Danube River is said to have been inhabited since about 600,000 BCE. However, evidence also suggests that people were living along the valley much earlier than this estimated time, around 800,000 BCE.

Early civilizations and settlements were established around the Danube River Valley due to it linking central Europe with the Mediterranean Sea.

The Danube River has played a significant role in history, including trade and commerce through ancient times up until more recent events such as World War I and II. It has also been subject to several major floods, which is what prompted various civilizations to construct dams and dikes.

With an average flow rate of 4.6 million cubic feet, it has plenty of water to supply cities along its banks and other countries that border it with fresh water.

List of the Countries that Border the Danube River

A large body of water with a city in the background

Austria, Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Moldova, Serbia, Slovakia, and Ukraine all share a border with the Danube River. Some states are also considered to be bordering due to their proximity or geographical features that connect them to the river. These include:

Austria – Vienna

Serbia – Belgrade

Slovakia – Bratislava

Ukraine – Kyiv

Moldova – Chisinau

Croatia, Romania, and Slovenia have parts of the Danube River flowing through their territories. In addition, Austria also borders two major lakes that were formed by the river. These are Lake Neusiedl and Lake Fertő.

The River’s Numerous Names

The Danube River has been known by many names over the centuries, as it is a major trading route that extends far into Europe. You can expect to hear various names of the river depending on where you are in Europe.

Some places refer to the Danube River using its Latin name ‘Danuvius’. A few other common alternative names of the river include:

German – Donau, Slovenian – Dunaj, Slovakian – Dunaj, Serbian – Dunav or Дунав (Danube), Romanian – Dunărea, Hungarian – Duna, and Bulgarian – Дунав /Dunav/.

Music and Art in the Danube River

There has always been a close connection between music and rivers. Musical instruments were often made using river materials such as wood, reeds, and the like. As a result, many pieces of music have been inspired by rivers and waterfalls. The Danube River is no exception to this rule; it has influenced countless musicians & composers throughout history.

The Danube River inspired Johann Strauss, Jr. to write one of his most famous pieces in 1867 called ‘On the Beautiful Blue Danube’. It was later featured in the movie 2001, A Space Odyssey in a famous scene where astronauts flew by in zero gravity. Also, it has been played several times at weddings all over the world.

The Danube River also inspired the paintings of German artist Gustav Klimt. His most popular painting ‘The Kiss’ was born in his imagination after he heard a story about two lovers who fell into the river and drowned while embracing each other.

The Beatles included the tune ‘Come Together’ on their album Abbey Road in 1969, which contained lyrics that were inspired by this famous piece of art.

Tourist Information Sites

If you are thinking about traveling along the Danube River, here are some useful tourism sites to get you started:

Austria – Tourism Austria: The official page of the Austrian National Tourist Board.

Germany – German National Tourist Board: This is an English version of Germany’s national tourist association.

Hungary – Hungary Tourism: The official tourism site for Hungary.

Romania – Romania Tourism: A comprehensive list of sites, accommodation, and activities you can do in Romania as a tourist or traveler.

Serbia – Serbia Travel Guide: A great site to find all the attractions available across Serbia as well as the best deals you can get while traveling in Serbia.

Slovakia – Slovak Tourist Board: The official website for tourism to Slovakia.

Slovenia – Slovenia Tourism: This is the official site that provides info about Slovenia’s major attractions, accommodations, and tours.

The United States of America – USA Tourism: The official travel and tourism website for the United States.

What can you expect from the Danube River?

The Danube River is a well-recognized river of historical significance. It has been featured in novels, poems, and songs dedicated to its beauty and power.

There are many exciting places you can visit along the river. A lot of castles, fortresses, and ruins are scattered throughout the landscape where battles were fought centuries ago. There are also many museums, art galleries, and memorial sites you can visit. Many of the cities along the Danube River are very old with significant historical importance.

The Danube River is a cheap way to travel between destinations, either by boat, train, or bus. There are also many places where you can hire bicycles and scooters to use when needed.

The places most visited by tourists are the capital cities of each country. These include Vienna in Austria, Bratislava in Slovakia, Budapest in Hungary, Belgrade in Serbia, and Zagreb in Croatia.

The Danube River Fun facts

Here are some more interesting facts about the Danube River. The information below can be used as trivia while you are traveling along this historic route!

The Legendary Origins of the River

According to Austrian folklore, the Danube was created by the ancient forest goddess Jarovit. She lived in a cave on Mount Wurmbrand, which is located near Vienna. This resulted in an abundant supply of fish and other forms of life due to heavy rainfall and snowmelt from nearby mountains.

The River’s Longest and Largest Tributary

The longest tributary of the Danube River is the Tisza, which flows for over 1,000 miles. The largest river in terms of water volume is the Prut with an average annual flow of 672 cubic meters per second.

A Great Place to Sail

The lower section of the Danube River forms part of the Iron Gate, which is one of the largest and most spectacular canyons in Europe. It was formed over millions of years by erosion.

The River’s Role in the European Economy

For centuries, this river has been used as a major trade route between Eastern and Central Europe. As a result, it helped to create the culture of Central Europe. It also allowed many empires to grow and gain power in the area, including Greece, Rome, Germany, and most recently Russia.

The World’s Longest Palindromic Poem

There is an interesting palindromic poem found along part of this river. It starts with “Sator arepo tenet opera rotas” which translates to ‘the creator arepo holds the wheels with effort’.

An End to the River’s Name Changes

Once Austria-Hungary was dissolved after World War I ended there were no more name changes. However, during World War II the Nazis once again changed the name of this river to ‘The Danube of the Greater German Empire’.

A Very Long Way Down

Located in Slovakia, the Dunajské Stredohori Mountains have one of the largest canyons in Europe. It is over 1,000 feet deep with vertical walls that tower up to 600 feet high!

An Interesting Lighthouse Tale

There are two lighthouses that you can visit on this river. The first is the Leibnitz lighthouse, which was built by a man who was blind! The second is the Pula lighthouse, which features a rotating light.

The Danube is one of Europe’s most important rivers and an integral part of many countries’ cultures and history. Whether you plan to take a trip down the Danube or another river in Europe for that matter, do not forget that it can be a wonderful experience!

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