Running through or touching the borders of 10 European countries, the Danube River flows from the Black Forest in Germany and runs into the Black Sea. Covering a journey of 1,785 miles, the river is the second longest in Europe after the Volga River in Russia. Approximately 315,000 square miles make up the drainage area, and it continues to expand. Tributaries number about 300 of which 30 are navigable. The delta area is the second largest in the world and is still growing. At least 5,000 species of plants, birds and animals call the wetlands home. Fishing, once a primary industry has declined over the years. However, over 10 million people in Europe get their drinking water from the Danube.
As the river travels through Germany, Austria, Slovakia, Hungary, Serbia, Croatia, Bulgaria, Moldova, Ukraine and Romania, four European capital cities established their location near the water. Small towns and ancient villages from centuries ago located near the water’s edge.
Like other rivers, the Danube was a source of transportation for both man and products. Since early days, moving by water created a simpler way to travel as opposed to land. Like natural landmarks, armies choose a river route to navigate through Europe. However, armies were on the move and continued to their destination. Not so for traders who were known to sell their wares along the river. Here, they populated towns along its banks and sold tools, crafts, thoughts and ideas of other people. Traders brought news from other lands and were a source of information.
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Carolyn Tomlin is a Jackson, Tennessee-based author that has been writing and publishing since 1988. She has authored 19 books and more than 4,000 articles in magazines such as Entrepreneur, Kansas City Star, American Profile, Tennessee Home & Farm, Home Life, Mature Living, ParentLife and many others. You can purchase her full-length works here.