Many of Europe’s most famous cities are located on the continents biggest rivers. The longest river is the Volga which flows for 3,700km from its source in the Vladai Hills to where it finishes flowing into the Caspian Sea. The closed basin covers an area of nearly 1,350,000 square kilometers which is the most densely populated area of Russia. The Volga flows through 11 of Russia’s 20 largest cities including the capital Moscow, Dubna and Volgograd. Most of the river freezes over for three months each year, and along its route it is used for irrigation and hydro-electric power, as well as being the home to the country’s largest reservoirs.
The second largest river is the Danube, but economically it is the most important. It flows through 10 countries which is more than any other river in the world. The river’s source is located in the Black Forest in Germany and flows for 2,860 kilometers before entering the Black Sea. The river passes through the capital cities of Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest and Belgrade. As well as being used for its drinking water the river is a major transport for those people wanting to travel across Europe. The opening of the Rhine-Main-Danube canal has the port of Rotterdam connecting all the way across Europe to the Black Sea.
The river has the largest delta in Europe and is protected by it being a UNESCO world Heritage Site. Along its course the river is home to many varieties of fish that have been successfully commercially farmed. The importance of the river is reflected by the work the International Commission for the Protection of the Danube River, which aims to protect the river and its watershed. Although the River Rhine only flows through 6 countries it is a vitally important commercial waterway. Its source is in the Swiss Alps and it flows for 1,300 kilometers before entering the North Sea in the Netherlands.
In its upper regions the river feeds Lake Constance which is so large that it borders Austria, Germany and Switzerland. Along its course the river flows through the cities of Basel, Cologne, Dusseldorf, Bonn, Strasbourg, Utrecht and Rotterdam. Its delta forms much of the land mass of the Netherlands and has been subject to much flood protection in attempt to reclaim more land from the sea. Since Roman Times the river has been used to transport goods across Europe and today its economic importance still remains.
One of the most famous rivers in the world is the River Seine. Flowing through France’s capital city Paris, there are few other rivers that have such a romanticized image that the capital’s major waterway has. The river rises in the north east of the country at Source Seine and flows for 777 kilometers, before entering the English Chanel at Le Havre. Commercially it is important to France as the river is navigable for around 120 kilometers inland by large boats from the main port at Le Havre. However, it is its route through Paris that the river is most famed for.
On either bank the river is overlooked by some of the capital’s most famous structures. The Cathedral of Notre Dame de Paris and the Eiffel Tower are close to the banks, and the whole area is designated as a UNESCO Heritage Site. The river within the city is crossed by 37 different bridges which just adds to the mystique that surrounds the river. The rivers that flow on the European continent may not be as long as others that are found in more vast areas of the world, yet they are just as recognizable. Historic events matched with economic importance, have meant that the rivers often appeal to many tourists that visit their areas.