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People love to hear a historic reference behind the existence of any phenomena.
Every river on this planet has some interesting story behind its origin and the nature of the flow. The Elbe River has been significant since ancient times and we are sure you would definitely like to know about these excellent Elbe River facts!
The River Elbe is a major river in the European continent that flows through the Czech Republic and Germany. It originates in the giant mountains in the northern region of the Czech Republic. The River Elbe has its origin in the Krkonose Mountains. The total length of the River Elbe is 679.8 mi (1094 km). The River Elbe has also been an important water contributor in Europe, especially in the largest city of Central Europe. The tunnel built on the banks of this river is historical proof of the vastness and significance that the river has. The high tides of the river and the North Sea are worth noting for geographical records. The Middle Ages in West Germany witnessed the many forms of these rivers and the change in their course over time. The River Elbe first flows through the city of Hamburg and then continues to flow via this Hanseatic city before it then reaches the North Sea.
During the 18th century, Dresden evolved as a major center of the fine arts and was known as 'Florence on the Elbe'. The beautiful architecture of the city was annihilated during World War II but has now been partially rebuilt. Around the time of the Middle Ages, the Elbe River formed the western boundary of the regions inhabited by the northern Slavs. It is fed by a number of small streams, the most important being the White Elbe.
Read on for some interesting facts about the Elbe River, Thuringian Forest, and other important landmarks located along the river. Afterward, also check facts about the River Thames and rivers in Colorado.
Ecology refers to the study of understanding the process of how ecosystems develop and how human interaction may affect the upbringing of these ecosystems. Thus, ecology is a study of the interrelationship between biotic components like animals, plants, organisms, and species with the natural and man-made activities of humans.
When it comes to the Elbe River, the facts related to the ecology and environment are quite interesting. The total volume of the reservoirs constructed on the River Elbe is 148.3 billion cu ft (4.12 billion cu m). According to the data presented under the CORINE Land Cover Project, around 43% of land under the Elbe River Basin is used for agricultural purposes. Forest cover makes up for around 30% of the land out of which 8.7% are deciduous forests and 21.9% are coniferous forests.
The total catchment area of the Elbe River Basin is around 57,247 sq mi (148,268 sq km) making it the 12th largest in the whole of Europe. While the basin of the Elbe River spans four countries, it is mainly present in Germany (65.5%) and the Czech Republic (33.7%).
The Lower Elbe region has a highly balanced temperature profile along with higher precipitation levels when compared to lowland areas, resembling a standard maritime environment. The Elbe floodplain is present just below the confluence with the Havel and from there, the Elbe moves towards the northeast as a result of which, the floodplain widens, normally flanked by low sandy hills. These low sandy hills are generally the salt marshes that have been reclaimed.
Until the Middle Ages, the Elbe formed the western boundary of the region inhabited by the northern Slavs. The colonization of the land to the east of the Elbe and the Baltic Sea started around the 12th century by the Germans.
The Elbe River is known as Elve in English in Germany. It is one of the major rivers in the Central European region. After its origin from the mountains, the Elbe River transverses the Bohemia region, that is the western region of the Czech Republic, and then flows into Germany and finally meets the North Sea.
Seeing the length of the River Elbe, it definitely has long tributaries. A few major tributaries of the River Elbe are the Saale, Mulde, Vltave, Ohre, Havel and Schwarze Elster. The river basin formed due to the Elbe River is also named the Elbe River basin. It comprises the main River Elbe along with its tributaries. The basin has now become a catchment area that is the fourth-largest in the entirety of Europe. The area is 57,246 sq mi (148266.5 sq km).
The Elbe River basin spans four European countries; Germany, Austria, Poland, and the Czech Republic. The largest part of the Elbe River basin lies in Germany, which has around 65%, and the smallest part is in Austria, with a mere 0.6 % of the river basin area. Around 24.4 million of the population inhabits the Elbe River basin. The Polish Czech frontier has a very small portion of the river.
The Northern Elbe has its course through the Elbe Philharmonic Hall. The Elbe Tunnel, also known as the Alter Tunnel, was also built in the middle of the river course. Both of these places are located in Hamburg city and the river passes the hall and then crosses the tunnel in its course. Going further downstream, the Low Elbe has two main branches; Northern Elbe and Kohlbrand.
These branches reunite, going further in the course of River Elbe. After they are reunited, Low Elbe passes through the New Elbe Tunnel. This tunnel is the last road linked to the river. After that, the river joins the North Sea. The Northern Elbe and the Southern Elbe used to reunite at the bay of Muhlenberger, which is located in Hamburg, hence the bay is also considered to be the origin of the Lower Elbe. The Lower Elbe later passes from the Holstein and into the Weser Triangle. Later, the Lower Elbe then flows into the North Sea too. At the mouth of the Lower Elbe River before reaching the North Sea, the Lower Elbe passes through the entrance of the Kiel Canal. The Elbe Lubeck Canal links the Elbe River to the Baltic Sea.
The Elbe River has been divided into two branches; the Inner Elbe and the Outer Elbe. The Outer Elbe is named for the extending continuation of the estuary. It is a wide floodplain area, The estuary then flows through the Wadden Sea which differentiates the Outer Elbe from the Inner Elbe.
The Elbe stream and the Wadden Sea have different depths. Along with distinct depth, the direction of their course and the speed of the water current is also varied for the Outer Elbe and the sea. The water salinity is also lower for the Outer Elbe than that of the sea. Within this area, The River Elbe is now considered a part of the North Sea Waterway. The Outer Elbe is home to three islands of Hamburg namely Neuwerk, Nigehorn, and Scharhorn. They are situated on the 12.4 mi (20 km) stretch of the coastline of the mud flat region of the Outer Elbe.
There was a phase of Vistula glaciation, where a huge amount of water was trapped as ice in the polar caps of ore mountains. The sea level was much lower than what it is today and the North Sea was dry, the River Elbe forwarded only to the western area of Jutland Bank and thus, did not dump all of its waters into the North Sea. Therefore, it was easier to maintain the river ecosystem of the River Elbe.
The Old Elbe Tunnel is also popularly known as the St. Pauli Elbe Tunnel. This tunnel was opened in 1911. It is a much-loved historical site and a beautiful architectural piece that belongs to the history of Hamburg.
The tunnel also celebrated its 100th year anniversary in 2011. The Old Elbe Tunnel is a unique, square-shaped structure with a dome. There are machinery, houses, and four huge lift carriages that help people transport their vehicles and themselves from one place to another. The transportation has taken place at a depth of 78.7 ft (24 m) since the year 1911. You basically travel 1397.6 ft (426 m) under the Elba and after 20 ft (6.1 m), you return to the daylight at the other end of the tunnel at Steinwerder.
So now you won't be surprised to know that the Old Elbe Tunnel was the first river tunnel on the European continent. The tunnel was built out of necessity since the Port of Hamburg was growing and flourishing in its trade. Hence, a frequent and smooth water transportation system was needed in order to move from the northern side of Elbe to the southern Elbe. The tunnel proved to be an excellent transport connection between the two parts of the river.
The tunnel was based on a similar model of the Clyde Tunnel situated in Glasgow. The tunnel was decided as an effective means of transport. The plan of a tunnel was agreed upon because the former railway, viaduct, and traject plans of transport were rejected. The Old Elbe Tunnel was severely damaged during World War II due to the frequent bombing on the southern side of the Elbe River.
The Old Elbe Tunnel is not only a transport medium but also a wonder in the civil engineering history of Germany. The tunnel is now designated as a Historic Landmark of Civil Engineering in Germany on the event of its 100th anniversary. This tunnel has also been a favorite location in Germany to shoot for many film directors and industry people. This tunnel in Germany even helped model train enthusiasts achieve a world record.
This tunnel is also now open for public events and the tunnel can be booked in advance to celebrate a special occasion. People who have crossed the tunnel will surely recommend that you travel to see the tunnel and enjoy a stroll through it. When you pass the tunnel you get a beautiful panorama view of the harbor edge. The Richmer Rickmers and the Michel are located on the southern bank of Elbe.
Gone are the days when rivers were healthy and free from the ill effects of pollution. Even if a river belongs to a secluded natural spot, the river likely still suffers from serious environmental damage due to the degrading air quality.
The River Elbe also suffers the same problems and hence, the International Commission for the Protection of the Elbe River was initiated. It was created as a protection to the River Elbe agreement, which was signed on October 8, 1990, in Magdeburg. The protocol for the protection of the Elbe River was signed by the Federal Republic of Germany and the Czech Republic.
Non Governmental Organizations and the European Economic Community were also signatories of the protocol. The countries of Austria and Poland, and the EU were also made a part of the Commission but they were given an observer status. Other than the River Elbe, there are several International Commissions for the protection of rivers like the Rhine, Danube, and the River Oder.
The important objectives behind forming the commission include availability and access of river water for promoting the revival of drinking water through the river banks. The second important and universal use of river water is by the agricultural sector for irrigation purposes. Another purpose of the commission is to build a healthy ecosystem around the river area and maintain the natural essence of the river so that it becomes a healthy space for the different species that inhabit the water and its banks.
The entire Elbe River, flowing to the North Sea, becomes a burden to the sea since all the waste and pollutants flowing along with the River Elbe also get dumped in the river. So, the final destination of the pollutants is the North Sea and its rich marine ecosystem. Hence, the commission resolves to find a permanent solution to reduce the possible burden and come up with a better alternative. In order to achieve the above objectives, it is necessary to take steps to clean the river and its tributaries from pollutants. Rivers and their tributaries should be free from physical, biological, and chemical pollutants.
Once the protection of rivers is taken care of, they need to be maintained in the same way for decades and this will help raise the ecological value of the River Elbe for Germany and the Czech Republic.
Here at Kidadl, we have carefully created lots of interesting family-friendly facts for everyone to enjoy! If you liked our suggestions for Elbe river facts then why not take a look at rivers in Mississippi, or Puerto Princesa underground river facts?
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