Guess which river originates in Germany, flows through ten European countries and four capitals, and flows into the sea on the territory of Ukraine?
Of course, this is the beautiful blue Danube, the second most important river in Europe – after the Volga – and the most important in terms of the number of people who live on its waters. It is believed that every country and every city has its own Danube, different from other places. Let’s take a walk from the beginning of the river to the Black Sea.
The Danube River originates in the Black Forest Mountains in southwestern Germany. Here, at an altitude of 648 meters, is the “zero kilometer” mark, from which the length of the river is measured. In its upper reaches, the Danube meanders between the picturesque Black Forest hills, constantly changing its direction. The navigable river begins in the city of Ulm, which is famous for its beautiful cathedral, as well as the fact that Albert Einstein was born here. And since the Danube has been used for trade for centuries, the number of large cities along the river is growing. The channel becomes more straight. But in the city of Regenberg, the Danube changes direction and heads southeast to the Austrian border.
In Austria, the Danube is considered a national asset, and quite justifiably so. The waters of the river feed the fertile lands, the system of locks facilitates river cargo shipping. Not to mention how beautiful the Austrian capital Vienna is, which is spread out on both sides of the Danube. Every year, up to seven million tourists come to Vienna, including to walk along the embankment and feed the swans. Viennese composer Johann Strauss wrote the world-famous waltz “On the beautiful blue Danube”, which became the unofficial anthem of Austria.
Slovakia itself is a small country, and the Danube has had little to do with it, but the capital of the country, Bratislava, is located on the river. One of the bridges over the Danube in Bratislava is decorated with a UFO tower with a spectacular platform in the form of a flying saucer. You can climb the tower for six euros. The restaurant at a height of 85 meters offers a wonderful view of the river, Bratislava and the surrounding area.
The Hungarian capital also stands on the Danube. It is the river that divides the two parts of the city, the hilly Buda and the low marshy Pest. Here the river bed divides, forming long narrow islands. One of them hosts the famous Sziget festival, where hundreds of musicians and thousands of their fans gather every year. And the Danube is connected by surface and underground canals with the lakes of Hungary, the waters of the famous Hungarian Lake Balaton flow here.
Serbian Belgrade is the fourth European capital located on the Danube. Here, the Sava River flows into the Danube, and people settled on the hill near their confluence long before our era. Therefore, Belgrade is rich in historical monuments, including the bombed-out building of the former Ministry of Defense, which was damaged during the Balkan war in the 1990s. It is not surprising that half of the income of the Serbian tourism industry is in Belgrade.
The Romanian section of the Danube is the longest – 1,100 km, which is approximately 2/5 of its length. But at the same time, the capital of the country, the city of Bucharest, is not directly on the Danube, but a little higher in the mountains, on one of the small rivers of the Danube basin. And the majestic river encircles the southwestern spurs of the Carpathians in a wide arc, feeding the entire agriculture not only of Romania, but also of neighboring Bulgaria.
Romania is not the most popular country for tourism: there are few that have preserved such a familiar spirit of the Soviet Union, and their language is difficult. But after joining the EU, the infrastructure here is gradually improving, and the tourism industry is developing along with it. After all, the places here are really beautiful, and some disorder even gives them charm.
The last hundred kilometers of the Danube are the natural border between Ukraine and Romania. Here the Danube flows into a wide delta and flows into the Black Sea. In these hot, humid regions are the historical fortresses of Izmail and Kiliya, which, according to some data, is the oldest city of Ukraine, and also the legendary Vylkove, the Ukrainian Venice.
So, no matter which country you admire the Danube in, it will be beautiful in its own way. Try to somehow compare and see for yourself.