Since I've been working as a Cruise Manager on European Waterways, but mostly on the Danube River, I decided to create this website, the home of the Danube River on the internet, where I wanted to share all my knowledge and passion about the Danube.
I have rad a lot of books and completed a lot of research in the last couple of years on this subject, but with this website I did not want to provide information what you would be able to find anyway or read on Wikipedia or in any book.
Based on my own experience, cruising with a lot of people up- and downstream the Danube River, I learned that not all background information is essential to get a good and comprehensive picture of this beautiful river.
What I find fascinating is that the Danube River used to be the longest river in Europe before the fall of the Iron Curtain in 1989. Since then, the longest river is Volga, with the length of 3,692 kilometres (2,294 miles).
When you consider the river Breg as the source, the Danube is 2,888 kilometers (1,794 miles) long. When compared to all the rivers, the Danube is only the 40th longest river in the world. Even so, there is no other river which connects so many different countries and vibrant cultures from its source in Donaueschingen to its mouth at the Black Sea.
2. Rivers in general
The sources of rivers are often in highly elevated areas. Rivers flow downhill from their sources to their mouths at the sea.
Closer to the source, the rivers tend to be weak streams that flow underground through these mountainous areas, forming underground karst water systems through which they flow. Over centuries, this creates layers of limestone formations. The vast amounts of underground water that flow through these formations erode the limestone.
Further on, on their way to the mouth the rivers flow through many different types of terrain. Their flow transports sediments through the processes of erosion and deposition.
At the sea the river deposits its sediments and creates a Delta. Fresh water and salt water compound in these deltas, which are some of the most biologically productive areas in the world.
The water volumes can be inconsistent sometimes, resulting in seasonal droughts. This is one of the reasons why the pollution across the area is diffused, along with insufficient waste water treatment, all contributing to the changes in the river structure and morphology. The other is groundwater and soil pollution. Irrigation and waste water treatment contribute to the contamination of sediments and soils, which spread far and fast with the river.
When the regions flood, extremely high concentration of suspended sediments are released from reservoirs causing severe implications for agriculture and forestry in the downstream sections that follow, in which thick layers of sediments get deposited.
Due to this erosion and sedimentation processes cross sections of the river are subjected to major changes and may increase the flood risk. The remaining free flowing sections of the Danube can, thus, be impaired due to a deficiency of inflowing sediments, mainly coarse materials (the aforementioned debris) which tend to get trapped upstream and tend to cause disruptions in navigation and the regulation of ecosystem processes further ahead, if left unattended.