the

Danube River

the Danube River is the second longest

river in Europe only the Volga River is

longer the majestic Danube originates in

Germany's Black Forest and flows 1770

miles to the Black Sea on its journey it

passes along side or through Germany and

Austria and eight Eastern European

countries the Danube is one of the most

important commercial waterways in Europe

the lower part of the river is a major

route for freight transport while the

central branch forms the main shipping

route the upper part of the river is an

important source of hydroelectric power

the Danube is linked to other major

rivers by a series of canals the Rhine

main Danube canal links it to the main

and Ryan rivers and other canals link it

to the odor and tisza rivers although

the Danube is important to European

trade it has less commerce than the

Rhine one of the things that affects

commercial use of the Danube is ice in

winter and water levels that vary with

the seasons navigational problems were

made worse during the Kosovo crisis

99 when NATO airstrikes destroyed

bridges across the river in Serbia

obstructing commercial traffic it was

2003 before the debris was completely

cleared some of the hydro electrical

projects undertaken on the Danube have

raised environmental concerns in 1977

Hungary and Czechoslovakia later

succeeded by Slovakia agreed to develop

hydroelectric facilities along the upper

portion of the river these projects went

ahead but there has been a great deal of

concern and argument over the impact

they've had on the environment

another problem occurred in the 1980s

when Romanian efforts to drain land in

the Delta region for agricultural

purposes damaged Europe's largest

wetlands these wetlands are now being

rehabilitated the Danube has been

important in Europe's history under the

Roman Empire the river known as Danube

is formed the Empire's northern border

and served as protection against the

barbarian world in the centuries

following the decline of Rome the plains

of the Danube attracted invading hordes

of Goths Huns Mongols and others the

Danube increased in commercial

importance during the Crusades but

commerce suffered in the 15th and 16th

centuries after the Turks gained control

of its course from the Hungarian plain

to the Black Sea in the 19th century the

Danube economic importance as an

international waterway increased and it

continues to be important to European

commerce today