Elbe
Overview
 
Not to be confused with the similarly-pronounced Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

.

The Elbe ' onMouseout='HidePop("51680")' href="/topics/Low_German">Low German
Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...

: de Ilv) is one of the major river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

.
Unanswered Questions
Encyclopedia
Not to be confused with the similarly-pronounced Elba
Elba
Elba is a Mediterranean island in Tuscany, Italy, from the coastal town of Piombino. The largest island of the Tuscan Archipelago, Elba is also part of the National Park of the Tuscan Archipelago and the third largest island in Italy after Sicily and Sardinia...

.

The Elbe ' onMouseout='HidePop("51680")' href="/topics/Low_German">Low German
Low German
Low German or Low Saxon is an Ingvaeonic West Germanic language spoken mainly in northern Germany and the eastern part of the Netherlands...

: de Ilv) is one of the major river
River
A river is a natural watercourse, usually freshwater, flowing towards an ocean, a lake, a sea, or another river. In a few cases, a river simply flows into the ground or dries up completely before reaching another body of water. Small rivers may also be called by several other names, including...

s of Central Europe
Central Europe
Central Europe or alternatively Middle Europe is a region of the European continent lying between the variously defined areas of Eastern and Western Europe...

. It rises in the Krkonoše Mountains of the northwestern Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

 before traversing much of Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

 (Czech Republic
Czech Republic
The Czech Republic is a landlocked country in Central Europe. The country is bordered by Poland to the northeast, Slovakia to the east, Austria to the south, and Germany to the west and northwest....

), then Germany
Germany
Germany , officially the Federal Republic of Germany , is a federal parliamentary republic in Europe. The country consists of 16 states while the capital and largest city is Berlin. Germany covers an area of 357,021 km2 and has a largely temperate seasonal climate...

 and flowing into the North Sea
North Sea
In the southwest, beyond the Straits of Dover, the North Sea becomes the English Channel connecting to the Atlantic Ocean. In the east, it connects to the Baltic Sea via the Skagerrak and Kattegat, narrow straits that separate Denmark from Norway and Sweden respectively...

 at Cuxhaven, 110 km northwest of Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. Its total length is 1094 kilometres (680 mi).

The Elbe's major tributaries include the Vltava
Vltava
The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic, running north from its source in Šumava through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, and Prague, merging with the Elbe at Mělník...

, Saale
Saale
The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale and Thuringian Saale , is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.-Course:The Saale...

, Havel
Havel
The Havel is a river in north-eastern Germany, flowing through the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt. It is a right tributary of the Elbe river and in length...

, Mulde
Mulde
The Mulde is a river in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Elbe and 124 km in length.The river is formed by the confluence, near Colditz, of the Zwickauer Mulde and the Freiberger Mulde , both rising from the Ore Mountains...

, Schwarze Elster
Schwarze Elster
The Black Elster or Schwarze Elster is a 179 km long river in eastern Germany, in the states Saxony, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, right tributary of the Elbe. Its source is in the Upper Lusatia region, near Elstra....

, and Ohre
Ohre
The Ohře is a 316 km long river in Germany and the Czech Republic , left tributary of the Elbe. The basin area of the river has a size of 6,255 km², of which 5,614 km² are in the Czech Republic and 641 km² in Germany...

 rivers.

The Elbe River basin, comprising the Elbe and its tributaries, has a catchment area of 148268 square kilometres (57,246.6 sq mi), the fourth largest in Europe. The basin spans four countries, with its largest parts in Germany (65.5%) and the Czech Republic (33.7%). Much smaller parts lie in Austria
Austria
Austria , officially the Republic of Austria , is a landlocked country of roughly 8.4 million people in Central Europe. It is bordered by the Czech Republic and Germany to the north, Slovakia and Hungary to the east, Slovenia and Italy to the south, and Switzerland and Liechtenstein to the...

 (0.6%) and Poland
Poland
Poland , officially the Republic of Poland , is a country in Central Europe bordered by Germany to the west; the Czech Republic and Slovakia to the south; Ukraine, Belarus and Lithuania to the east; and the Baltic Sea and Kaliningrad Oblast, a Russian exclave, to the north...

 (0.2%). The basin is inhabited by 24.5 million people.

In the Czech Republic

The Elbe rises at an elevation of about 1400 metres (4,593 ft) in the Krkonoše
Karkonosze
Krkonoše is a mountain range located in the north of the Czech Republic and the south-west of Poland, part of the Sudetes mountain system . The Czech-Polish border, which divides the historic regions of Bohemia and Silesia, runs along the main ridge...

 (also known as Giant Mountains or in German as Riesengebirge) on the northwest borders of the Czech Republic. Of the numerous small streams whose waters compose the infant river, the most important is the Bílé Labe, or White Elbe. After plunging down the 60 metres (197 ft) of the Labský vodopád, or Elbe Falls, the latter stream unites with the steeply torrential Malé Labe, and thereafter the united stream of the Elbe pursues a southerly course, emerging from the mountain glens at and continuing on to Pardubice
Pardubice
Pardubice is the capital city of the Pardubice Region and lies on the river Elbe, 65 miles east of Prague. Pardubice has an antique centre square and old town, with many restaurants that stay open until late in the evening. There is an old Tower and a recently renovated Castle...

, where it turns sharply to the west. At Kolín
Kolín
Kolín is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic some east from Prague, lying on the Elbe river.-History:Kolín was founded by king Přemysl Otakar II in the 13th century, first mentioned in 1261. Later on, 1437, a castle was founded here...

 some 43 kilometres (27 mi) further on, it bends gradually towards the north-west.

At the village of Káraný
Káraný
Káraný is a village in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has around 450 inhabitants.The village was founded in 1777. Since 1914 Káraný has supplied Prague with drinking water.-External links:*...

, a little above Brandýs nad Labem it picks up the Jizera
Jizera River
The Jizera is a river that begins on the border between Poland and the Czech Republic and ends in Central Bohemia. Like some other names in Bohemia, the name Jizera is of Celtic origin, as the Celts lived in the area during Roman times .-Geography:It develops from the confluence of the Great Jizera...

.

At Mělník
Melnik
-Places:Bulgaria* Melnik, Bulgaria, a town in Bulgaria* Shiroka Melnishka Losa, a Bulgarian wine grape also known as MelnikCzech Republic* Mělník, a townUnited States* Melnik, Wisconsin, an unincorporated community...

 its stream is more than doubled in volume by the Vltava
Vltava
The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic, running north from its source in Šumava through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, and Prague, merging with the Elbe at Mělník...

, or Moldau, a river which winds northwards through Bohemia
Bohemia
Bohemia is a historical region in central Europe, occupying the western two-thirds of the traditional Czech Lands. It is located in the contemporary Czech Republic with its capital in Prague...

. Although upstream from the confluence
Confluence
Confluence, in geography, describes the meeting of two or more bodies of water.Confluence may also refer to:* Confluence , a property of term rewriting systems...

 Vltava is longer (434 kilometres (269.7 mi) against 294 kilometres (182.7 mi)), has larger discharge and larger drainage basin
Drainage basin
A drainage basin is an extent or an area of land where surface water from rain and melting snow or ice converges to a single point, usually the exit of the basin, where the waters join another waterbody, such as a river, lake, reservoir, estuary, wetland, sea, or ocean...

, due to historical reasons (at the confluence
Confluence
Confluence, in geography, describes the meeting of two or more bodies of water.Confluence may also refer to:* Confluence , a property of term rewriting systems...

 the Vltava
Vltava
The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic, running north from its source in Šumava through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, and Prague, merging with the Elbe at Mělník...

 meets the Elbe at almost a right angle, so it appears as a tributary) the river continues as Elbe.

Some distance lower down, at Litoměřice
Litomerice
Litoměřice is a town at the junction of the rivers Elbe and Ohře in the north part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km northwest of Prague....

, the waters of the Elbe are tinted by the reddish Ohře
Ohre
The Ohře is a 316 km long river in Germany and the Czech Republic , left tributary of the Elbe. The basin area of the river has a size of 6,255 km², of which 5,614 km² are in the Czech Republic and 641 km² in Germany...

 (Eger). Thus augmented, and swollen into a stream 140 metres (459 ft) wide, the Elbe carves a path through the basaltic mass of the České Středohoří
Ceské Stredohorí
České středohoří or Central Bohemian Uplands is a mountain range located in northern Bohemia, Czech Republic. The range is about 80 km long, spanning from Česká Lípa to Bílina and from Litoměřice to Děčín , intersected by the river Elbe.The name středohoří can be roughly translated into English...

, churning its way through a deep, narrow rocky gorge.

In Germany

Shortly after crossing the Czech-German frontier, and passing through the sandstone defiles of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains
Elbe Sandstone Mountains
The Elbe Sandstone Mountains, also called the Elbe sandstone highlands is a mountain range straddling the border between the state of Saxony in southeastern Germany and the North Bohemian region of the Czech Republic, with about three-quarters of the area lying on the German side...

, the stream assumes a north-westerly direction, which on the whole it preserves right to the North Sea.

The river rolls through Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 and finally, beyond Meißen, enters on its long journey across the North German Plain
North German plain
The North German Plain or Northern Lowland is one of the major geographical regions of Germany. It is the German part of the North European Plain...

 passing along the former border of East Germany, touching Torgau
Torgau
Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.Outside Germany, the town is most well known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union...

, Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

, Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

, Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

, Wittenberge
Wittenberge
Wittenberge is a town of twenty thousand people on the lower Elbe in the district of Prignitz , Brandenburg, Germany.-History:...

, and Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 on the way, and taking on the waters of the Mulde
Mulde
The Mulde is a river in Saxony and Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is a left tributary of the Elbe and 124 km in length.The river is formed by the confluence, near Colditz, of the Zwickauer Mulde and the Freiberger Mulde , both rising from the Ore Mountains...

 and Saale
Saale
The Saale, also known as the Saxon Saale and Thuringian Saale , is a river in Germany and a left-bank tributary of the Elbe. It is not to be confused with the smaller Franconian Saale, a right-bank tributary of the Main, or the Saale in Lower Saxony, a tributary of the Leine.-Course:The Saale...

 from the west, and those of the Schwarze Elster
Schwarze Elster
The Black Elster or Schwarze Elster is a 179 km long river in eastern Germany, in the states Saxony, Brandenburg and Saxony-Anhalt, right tributary of the Elbe. Its source is in the Upper Lusatia region, near Elstra....

, Havel
Havel
The Havel is a river in north-eastern Germany, flowing through the German states of Mecklenburg-Vorpommern, Brandenburg, Berlin and Saxony-Anhalt. It is a right tributary of the Elbe river and in length...

 and Elde
Elde
The Elde is a river in northern Germany , a right tributary of the Löcknitz. Its total length is 220 km. The Elde originates near Altenhof, south of Malchow. It first flows southeast towards the southern end of Lake Müritz, which it enters at Vipperow. It flows out of the Müritz at its...

 from the east. In its northern section both banks of the Elbe are characterised by flat, very fertile marshlands (Elbe Marshes
Elbe marshes
The Elbe marshes are an extensive region of marsh or polderland along the lower and middle reaches of the River Elbe in northern Germany. It is also referred to as the Lower Elbe Marsch by Dickinson and is region D24 in the BfN's list of the natural regions of Germany...

), former flood plains of the Elbe now diked.

At Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

  there is a viaduct , the Magdeburg Water Bridge
Magdeburg Water Bridge
The Magdeburg Water Bridge is a navigable aqueduct in Germany, opened in October 2003. It connects the Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittellandkanal, crossing over the Elbe River...

, that carries a canal and its shipping traffic, over the Elbe and its banks, allowing shipping traffic to pass under it unhindered.
Soon the Elbe reaches Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

. Within the city-state the Elbe has a number of branch streams, such as Dove Elbe, Gose Elbe, Köhlbrand, Northern Elbe (Norderelbe), Reiherstieg, Southern Elbe (Süderelbe). Some of which have been disconnected for vessels from the main stream by dikes. In 1390 the Gose Elbe (literally in shallow Elbe) was separated from the main stream by a dike connecting the two then-islands of Kirchwerder and Neuengamme
Neuengamme
The Neuengamme concentration camp, a Nazi concentration camp, was established in 1938 by the SS near the village of Neuengamme in Bergedorf district within the City of Hamburg, Germany. It was in operation from 1938 to 1945. By the end of the war, more than half of its estimated 106,000 prisoners...

. The Dove Elbe (literally in deaf Elbe) was diked off in 1437/38 at Gammer Ort. These hydraulic engineering
Hydraulic engineering
This article is about civil engineering. For the mechanical engineering discipline see Hydraulic machineryHydraulic engineering as a sub-discipline of civil engineering is concerned with the flow and conveyance of fluids, principally water and sewage. One feature of these systems is the extensive...

 works were carried out to protect marshlands from inundation, and to improve the water supply of the Port of Hamburg. After the heavy inundation by the North Sea flood of 1962
North Sea flood of 1962
The North Sea flood of 1962 was a natural disaster affecting mainly the coastal regions of Germany and in particular the city of Hamburg in the night from 16 February to 17 February 1962...

 the western section of the Southern Elbe was separated, becoming the Old Southern Elbe, while the waters of the eastern Southern Elbe now merge into the Köhlbrand, which is bridged by the Köhlbrandbrücke
Köhlbrandbrücke
The Köhlbrand Bridge is a cable-stayed bridge in Hamburg, Germany, which connects the harbour area on the island of Wilhelmsburg between the Norderelbe and Süderelbe branches of the Elbe river with motorway 7 . It bridges the Süderelbe, here called Köhlbrand, before it unites with the Norderelbe...

, the last bridge over the Elbe before the North Sea.

The Northern Elbe passes the Elbe Philharmonic Hall
Elbe Philharmonic Hall
The Elbphilharmonie Hamburg is a concert hall under construction in the HafenCity quarter of Hamburg, Germany. The concert hall is designed by Herzog & de Meuron on top of an old warehouse...

 and is then crossed under by the old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel), both in Hamburg's city centre. A bit more downstream the Northern Elbe and the Köhlbrand reunite to form the Lower Elbe stream south of Altona
Altona, Hamburg
Altona is the westernmost urban borough of the German city state of Hamburg, on the right bank of the Elbe river. From 1640 to 1864 Altona was under the administration of the Danish monarchy. Altona was an independent city until 1937...

-Altstadt, a locality of Hamburg. Right at its beginning the Lower Elbe is passed under by the New Elbe Tunnel (Neuer Elbtunnel), the last structural road link crossing the river before the North Sea. Leaving the city-state the Lower Elbe then passes between Holstein
Holstein
Holstein is the region between the rivers Elbe and Eider. It is part of Schleswig-Holstein, the northernmost state of Germany....

 and the Elbe-Weser Triangle
Elbe-Weser Triangle
The region between Bremen , Hamburg and Cuxhaven forms the Elbe-Weser Triangle in northern Germany. It is also colloquially referred to as the Nasses Dreieck or "Wet Triangle"...

 with Stade
Stade
Stade is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany and part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region . It is the seat of the district named after it...

 until it flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. Near its mouth it passes the entrance to the Kiel Canal
Kiel Canal
The Kiel Canal , known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal until 1948, is a long canal in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.The canal links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. An average of is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula....

 at Brunsbüttel
Brunsbüttel
Brunsbüttel is a town in the district of Dithmarschen, in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany that lies on the mouth of the Elbe river, near the North Sea. It is the location of the western entrance to the Kiel Canal, the eastern entrance being located at Kiel-Holtenau...

 before it debouches into the North Sea.

Towns and cities on the Elbe

Key
Town Population
Hradec Králové
Hradec Králové
Hradec Králové is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Hradec Králové Region of Bohemia. The city's economy is based on food-processing technology, photochemical, and electronics manufacture. Traditional industries include musical instrument manufacturing – the best known being PETROF pianos...

 
94,255
Pardubice
Pardubice
Pardubice is the capital city of the Pardubice Region and lies on the river Elbe, 65 miles east of Prague. Pardubice has an antique centre square and old town, with many restaurants that stay open until late in the evening. There is an old Tower and a recently renovated Castle...

 
88,559
Kolín
Kolín
Kolín is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic some east from Prague, lying on the Elbe river.-History:Kolín was founded by king Přemysl Otakar II in the 13th century, first mentioned in 1261. Later on, 1437, a castle was founded here...

 
30,823
Káraný
Káraný
Káraný is a village in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic. It has around 450 inhabitants.The village was founded in 1777. Since 1914 Káraný has supplied Prague with drinking water.-External links:*...

 
450
Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav
Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav
Brandýs nad Labem-Stará Boleslav is a town in the Central Bohemian Region of the Czech Republic on the banks of the Elbe River, in the heart of an agricultural region about 25 km northeast of Prague. The town is part of the Prague metropolitan area. Brandýs nad Labem dates its origin to the...

 
16,314
Mělník
Melnik
-Places:Bulgaria* Melnik, Bulgaria, a town in Bulgaria* Shiroka Melnishka Losa, a Bulgarian wine grape also known as MelnikCzech Republic* Mělník, a townUnited States* Melnik, Wisconsin, an unincorporated community...

 
19,077
Litoměřice
Litomerice
Litoměřice is a town at the junction of the rivers Elbe and Ohře in the north part of the Czech Republic, approximately 64 km northwest of Prague....

 
25,517
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem
Ústí nad Labem is a city of the Czech Republic, in the Ústí nad Labem Region. The city is the 7th-most populous in the country.Ústí is situated in a mountainous district at the confluence of the Bílina and the Elbe Rivers, and, besides being an active river port, is an important railway junction...

 
120,373
Dresden
Dresden
Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

 
517,052
Meißen  27,693
Torgau
Torgau
Torgau is a town on the banks of the Elbe in northwestern Saxony, Germany. It is the capital of the district Nordsachsen.Outside Germany, the town is most well known as the place where during the Second World War, United States Army forces coming from the west met with forces of the Soviet Union...

 
19,894
Wittenberg
Wittenberg
Wittenberg, officially Lutherstadt Wittenberg, is a city in Germany in the Bundesland Saxony-Anhalt, on the river Elbe. It has a population of about 50,000....

 
49,914
Dessau
Dessau
Dessau is a town in Germany on the junction of the rivers Mulde and Elbe, in the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 July 2007, it is part of the merged town Dessau-Roßlau. Population of Dessau proper: 77,973 .-Geography:...

 
77,394
Magdeburg
Magdeburg
Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

 
230,456
Wittenberge
Wittenberge
Wittenberge is a town of twenty thousand people on the lower Elbe in the district of Prignitz , Brandenburg, Germany.-History:...

 
18,710
Hamburg
Hamburg
-History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

 
1,769,117
Stade
Stade
Stade is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany and part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region . It is the seat of the district named after it...

 
46,080
Cuxhaven  50,846

Navigation

The Elbe has been navigable by commercial vessels since 1842, and provides important trade links as far inland as Prague
Prague
Prague is the capital and largest city of the Czech Republic. Situated in the north-west of the country on the Vltava river, the city is home to about 1.3 million people, while its metropolitan area is estimated to have a population of over 2.3 million...

. The river is linked by canal
Canal
Canals are man-made channels for water. There are two types of canal:#Waterways: navigable transportation canals used for carrying ships and boats shipping goods and conveying people, further subdivided into two kinds:...

s (Elbe-Seitenkanal
Elbe-Seitenkanal
The Elbe Lateral Canal, or the Elbe-Seitenkanal in German, is a long canal in Lower Saxony, Germany. It runs from the Elbe near Lauenburg/Elbe to the Mittelland Canal near Gifhorn. It forms an important transport connection between southern and northern Germany, and it provides a bypass of a...

, Elbe-Havel Canal
Elbe-Havel Canal
The Elbe–Havel Canal is a 56-kilometre-long waterway in Germany. It links Magdeburg, on the River Elbe, with Brandenburg on the River Havel.Since 2003, the Elbe-Havel Canal has been connected to the Mittelland Canal by the unique Magdeburg Water Bridge, which crosses above the River Elbe. The...

, Mittellandkanal) to the industrial areas of Germany and to Berlin
Berlin
Berlin is the capital city of Germany and is one of the 16 states of Germany. With a population of 3.45 million people, Berlin is Germany's largest city. It is the second most populous city proper and the seventh most populous urban area in the European Union...

. The Elbe-Lübeck Canal
Elbe-Lübeck Canal
The Elbe-Lübeck Canal is an artificial waterway in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It connects the Elbe and Trave rivers, hence constituting an accessway from the Elbe to the Baltic Sea. It is long; the northern terminus is Lübeck, the southern terminus is the town of Lauenburg...

 links the Elbe to the Baltic Sea
Baltic Sea
The Baltic Sea is a brackish mediterranean sea located in Northern Europe, from 53°N to 66°N latitude and from 20°E to 26°E longitude. It is bounded by the Scandinavian Peninsula, the mainland of Europe, and the Danish islands. It drains into the Kattegat by way of the Øresund, the Great Belt and...

, as does the Kiel Canal
Kiel Canal
The Kiel Canal , known as the Kaiser-Wilhelm-Kanal until 1948, is a long canal in the German state of Schleswig-Holstein.The canal links the North Sea at Brunsbüttel to the Baltic Sea at Kiel-Holtenau. An average of is saved by using the Kiel Canal instead of going around the Jutland Peninsula....

, whose western entrance is near the mouth of the Elbe. The Elbe-Weser Shipping Channel connects the Elbe with the Weser.

By the Treaty of Versailles the navigation on the Elbe became subject to the International Commission of the Elbe, seated in Dresden. The statute of the Commission was signed in Dresden on February 22, 1922. Following articles 363 and 364 of the Treaty of Versailles, Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia
Czechoslovakia or Czecho-Slovakia was a sovereign state in Central Europe which existed from October 1918, when it declared its independence from the Austro-Hungarian Empire, until 1992...

 was entitled to lease its own harbour bassin, Moldauhafen
Moldauhafen
Moldauhafen is a lot in the port of Hamburg, Germany, which has been leased since 1929 pursuant to the Treaty of Versailles to Czechoslovakia. In 1993, the Czech Republic succeeded to the rights of Czechoslovakia, and the lease is set to run until 2028.The lot of about is not an exclave, since it...

 in Hamburg. The contract of lease with Germany, and supervised by the United Kingdom
United Kingdom
The United Kingdom of Great Britain and Northern IrelandIn the United Kingdom and Dependencies, other languages have been officially recognised as legitimate autochthonous languages under the European Charter for Regional or Minority Languages...

, was signed on February 14, 1929 and will end in 2028. Since 1993 the Czech Republic holds the former Czechoslovak legal position.

Before Germany was reunited, waterway transport in Western Germany was hindered by the fact that inland navigation
Inland navigation
Inland navigation is transport with ships via inland water between inland ports or quays and wharfs.-See also:* Code Européen des Voies de la Navigation Intérieure -External links:...

 to Hamburg had to pass through the German Democratic Republic. The Elbe-Seitenkanal (Elbe Lateral Canal) was built between the West German section of the Mittellandkanal and the Lower Elbe to restore this connection. When the two nations were reunited, works were begun to improve and restore the original links: the Magdeburg Water Bridge
Magdeburg Water Bridge
The Magdeburg Water Bridge is a navigable aqueduct in Germany, opened in October 2003. It connects the Elbe-Havel Canal to the Mittellandkanal, crossing over the Elbe River...

 now allows large barges to cross the Elbe without having to enter the river. The often low water levels of the Elbe do not hinder navigation to Berlin any longer.

Islands

Outer Elbe (estuary)

  • Medemsand
  • Neuwerk
    Neuwerk
    Neuwerk is a Wadden Sea island on the German North Sea coast and a homonymous quarter of the city of Hamburg, Germany, in the borough Hamburg-Mitte...

     – an exclave of Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    's borough of Mitte (centre)
    Hamburg-Mitte
    Hamburg-Mitte located in the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg, Germany is one of the seven boroughs of Hamburg, covering mostly the urban center of the city of Hamburg. The quarters Hamburg-Altstadt and Neustadt are the historical origin of Hamburg...

  • Nigehörn – an exclave Hamburg's borough of Mitte
  • Scharhörn – an exclave Hamburg's borough of Mitte

Lower Elbe

  • Rhinplatte – west of Glückstadt
    Glückstadt
    Glückstadt is a town in the Steinburg district of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located on the right bank of the Lower Elbe at the confluence of the small Rhin river, about northwest of Altona...

  • Schwarztonnensand - east of Drochtersen
    Drochtersen
    Drochtersen is a municipality in the district Stade, in Lower Saxony . It is located 45 km north west of Hamburg.It belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish...

  • Pagensand - west of Seestermühe
    Seestermühe
    Seestermühe is a municipality in the district of Pinneberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany....

  • Bishorst - west of Wedel
    Wedel
    Wedel is a town in the district of Pinneberg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, approximately south of Elmshorn, and mile, west of Hamburg.-Foundation and Middle Ages:...

  • Lühesand
    Lühesand
    Lühesand is a small island 1.24 kilometres square in the river Elbe, 8 kilometres east of Stade in Lower Saxony, Germany. The island can only reached by ferry and contains a large camping site, on which many continuous campers stay. The southern carrying pylons of Elbe Crossing 1 and Elbe Crossing...

     - east of Stade
    Stade
    Stade is a city in Lower Saxony, Germany and part of the Hamburg Metropolitan Region . It is the seat of the district named after it...

  • Hanskalbsand - south of Schulau
  • Hahnöfersand - north of Jork
    Jork
    Jork is a small town on the left bank of the Elbe, near Hamburg .Jork belongs to the district of Stade, in Lower Saxony. The town is the capital of the Altes Land, one of the biggest fruit growing areas in Europe, and Jork is home to a Fruit Research Center.-History:Jork was mentioned for the first...

  • Neßsand - south of Tinsdal
  • Schweinesand - south of Blankenese (Hamburg)
    Blankenese
    Blankenese is a former independent town, now a suburban quarter in the borough Altona in the western part of Hamburg . It is located on right bank of the Elbe river...


Between Northern and Southern Elbe (Norderelbe/Süderelbe)

  • Finkenwerder
    Finkenwerder
    Finkenwerder is a quarter of Hamburg, Germany in the borough Hamburg-Mitte. It is the location of a plant of Airbus and its airport...

     – in Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

    's borough of Mitte (centre)
    Hamburg-Mitte
    Hamburg-Mitte located in the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg, Germany is one of the seven boroughs of Hamburg, covering mostly the urban center of the city of Hamburg. The quarters Hamburg-Altstadt and Neustadt are the historical origin of Hamburg...

  • Kaltehofe (also "Kalte Hofe") – in Hamburg's borough of Mitte
  • Wilhelmsburg, including the islands Veddel
    Veddel
    Veddel is a quarter in the Hamburg-Mitte borough of the Free and Hanseatic city of Hamburg on the homonymous island in the Elbe river, in northern Germany. In 2006, the population was 4,944.-Demographics:...

    , Georgswerder, Kleiner Grasbrook
    Kleiner Grasbrook
    Kleiner Grasbrook is a quarter of Hamburg, Germany within the borough of Hamburg-Mitte. It is situated on the homonymous island between the Northern and Southern branches of the Elbe river , together with the other quarters of Steinwerder, Veddel and Wilhelmsburg...

    , Steinwerder, Peute and several more – in Hamburg's borough of Mitte

Upper reaches

  • Gauernitzer Elbinsel – east of Gauernitz in the Dresden Basin
    Dresden Basin
    The Dresden Basin is a roughly 45 km long and 10 km wide area of the Elbe Valley between the towns of Pirna and Meißen. The city of Dresden lies in the Dresden Basin.- Geography :...

     between Dresden
    Dresden
    Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

     and Meißen
  • Pillnitzer Elbinsel – in Dresden's southern quarter of Pillnitz
    Pillnitz
    Pillnitz is a city quarter in the east of Dresden, Germany. The quarter is situated in the east of Dresden. It can be reached by bus, ship, walking along the river or by bicycle...

     in the Dresden Basin
    Dresden Basin
    The Dresden Basin is a roughly 45 km long and 10 km wide area of the Elbe Valley between the towns of Pirna and Meißen. The city of Dresden lies in the Dresden Basin.- Geography :...


Ferries

The Elbe is crossed by many ferries, both passenger and car carrying. In downstream order, these include:
  • Dolní Žleb Ferry
    Dolní Žleb Ferry
    The Dolní Žleb Ferry is a cable ferry across the Elbe river at Dolní Žleb in the Děčín District in the Ústí nad Labem Region of the Czech Republic....

    , at Dolní Žleb in the Děčín District
    Decín District
    Děčín District is one of seven districts located within the Ústí nad Labem Region in the Czech Republic...

  • Rathen Ferry
    Rathen Ferry
    The Rathen Ferry is a passenger cable ferry across the Elbe river at Rathen in Saxony, Germany. It connects Niederrathen, on the east bank, to Oberrathen, on the west bank. Kurort Rathen railway station, on the Dresden S-Bahn, is about from the Oberrathen ferry terminal...

    , at Rathen
    Rathen
    Rathen is a village in the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, in Saxony, Germany, about 35 km southeast of Dresden on the Elbe River. Rathen has between 400 and 500 inhabitants....

  • Pillnitz Kleinzschachwitz Ferry
    Pillnitz Kleinzschachwitz Ferry
    The Pillnitz Kleinzschachwitz Ferry, also known as the Schlossfähre, is a ferry across the Elbe river in Germany. It crosses between the districts of Pillnitz and Kleinzschachwitz in the city of Dresden, close to the former's collection of palaces that give the ferry its alternate name...

    , in the eastern suburbs of Dresden
    Dresden
    Dresden is the capital city of the Free State of Saxony in Germany. It is situated in a valley on the River Elbe, near the Czech border. The Dresden conurbation is part of the Saxon Triangle metropolitan area....

  • Laubegast Niederpoyritz Ferry
    Laubegast Niederpoyritz Ferry
    The Laubegast Niederpoyritz Ferry is a passenger ferry across the Elbe river in Germany. It crosses between the districts of Laubegast and Niederpoyritz in the city of Dresden....

    , in Dresden
  • Johannstadt Neustadt Ferry
    Johannstadt Neustadt Ferry
    The Johannstadt Neustadt Ferry is a passenger ferry across the Elbe river in Germany. It crosses between the districts of Johannstadt and Neustadt in the city of Dresden....

    , in Dresden
  • Belgern Ottersitz Ferry, between Belgern
    Belgern
    Belgern is a town in the district Nordsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany. It is located on the left bank of the Elbe, 12 km southeast of Torgau and 55 km east of Leipzig....

     and Ottersitz
  • Dommitzsch Prettin Ferry, between Dommitzsch
    Dommitzsch
    Dommitzsch is a town in the district Nordsachsen, in the Free State of Saxony, Germany and is Saxony's northmost city. It lies on the left bank of the Elbe, 12 km northwest of Torgau and 31 km southeast of Wittenberg....

     and Prettin
    Prettin
    Prettin is a town and a former municipality in Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt. Since 1 January 2011, it is part of the town Annaburg. It was part of the former administrative community of Annaburg-Prettin....

  • Mauken Pretzsch Ferry, between Mauken and Pretzsch
    Pretzsch
    Pretzsch may refer to:* Pretzsch, Burgenlandkreis, a community in the Burgenlandkreis in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany* Pretzsch, Wittenberg, a community in the Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany...

  • Wartenburg Elster Ferry, between Wartenburg
    Wartenburg (Elbe)
    Wartenburg is a village and a former municipality in Wittenberg district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Kemberg.- History :Wartenburg had its first documentary mention in 1176 under the name Wardenberch...

     and Elster
    Elster (Elbe)
    Elster is a village and a former municipality in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany located in Wittenberg district. Since 1 January 2011, it is part of the town Zahna-Elster...

  • Wörlitz Coswig Ferry
    Coswig Ferry
    The Coswig Ferry, also known as the Wörlitz Coswig Ferry, is a cable ferry across the Elbe river between Coswig and Wörlitz in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The ferry is owned by the municipality of Coswig....

    , between Wörlitz
    Wörlitz
    ' is a town and a former municipality in the district of Wittenberg, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2011, it is part of the town Oranienbaum-Wörlitz. It is situated on the left bank of the Elbe, east of Dessau...

     and Coswig
    Coswig, Anhalt
    Coswig is a town in the district of Wittenberg of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, approx. 12 km west of Wittenberg, and 15 km east of Dessau.- History :...

  • Steutz Aken Ferry, between Steutz
    Steutz
    Steutz is a village and a former municipality in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Zerbst....

     and Aken
    Aken (Elbe)
    Aken is a town in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The town is located at the left bank of the Elbe river.- Geography :...

  • Tochheim Ferry, between Tochheim and Alt Tochheim near Breitenhagen
    Breitenhagen
    Breitenhagen is a village and a former municipality in the district Salzlandkreis, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Barby....

  • Ronney Barby Ferry
    Barby Ferry
    The Barby Ferry, also known as the Ronney Barby Ferry, is a cable ferry across the Elbe river between Barby and Walternienburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany....

    , between Barby
    Barby, Germany
    Barby is a town in the Salzlandkreis district, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the left bank of the Elbe river, near the confluence with the Saale, approx. southeast of Magdeburg...

     and Walternienburg
    Walternienburg
    Walternienburg is a village and a former municipality in the district of Anhalt-Bitterfeld, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 1 January 2010, it is part of the town Zerbst.The Barby Ferry, a cable ferry across the Elbe, links Walternienburg with Barby....

  • Westerhüsen Ferry
    Westerhüsen Ferry
    The Westerhüsen Ferry is a cable ferry across the Elbe river in the city of Magdeburg in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. The ferry links the districts of Westerhüsen, on the left bank, and Randau- Calenberge opposite....

    , at Westerhüsen near Magdeburg
    Magdeburg
    Magdeburg , is the largest city and the capital city of the Bundesland of Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Magdeburg is situated on the Elbe River and was one of the most important medieval cities of Europe....

  • Schartau Rogätz Ferry
    Rogätz Ferry
    The Rogätz Ferry, also known as the Schartau Rogätz Ferry, is a ferry across the Elbe river between Schartau and Rogätz in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.- References :...

    , between Schartau and Rogätz
    Rogätz
    Rogätz is a municipality in the Börde district in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is located on the right bank of the Elbe river, and is linked to Schartau by the Rogätz Ferry....

  • Ferchland Grieben Ferry
    Ferchland Grieben Ferry
    The Ferchland Grieben Ferry is a cable ferry across the Elbe river between Ferchland and Grieben in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany.- References :...

    , between Ferchland and Grieben
    Grieben
    thumb|left|Post mill in GriebenGrieben is a village and a former municipality in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. Since 31 May 2010, it is part of the town Tangerhütte....

  • Sandau Büttnershof Ferry
    Sandau Ferry
    The Sandau Ferry, also known as the Sandau Büttnershof Ferry, is a cable ferry across the Elbe river between Sandau and Büttnershof in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany....

    , between Sandau
    Sandau
    Sandau is a town in the district of Stendal, in Sachsen-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the right bank of the Elbe, approx. 5 km south of Havelberg. It is part of the Verbandsgemeinde Elbe-Havel-Land....

     and Büttnershof
  • Räbel Havelberg Ferry, between Räbel
    Rabel
    Rabel is a municipality in the district of Schleswig-Flensburg, in Schleswig-Holstein, Germany....

     and Havelberg
    Havelberg
    Havelberg is a town in the district of Stendal, in Saxony-Anhalt, Germany. It is situated on the Havel, and part of the town is built on an island in the centre of the river. The two parts were incorporated as a town in 1875...

  • Lenzen Pevestorf Ferry, between Lenzen
    Lenzen
    Lenzen is a small town in the district of Prignitz, in Brandenburg, Germany. It is part of the Amt Lenzen-Elbtalaue.-Overview:Lenzen is situated near the Elbe, approx. 20 km northwest of Wittenberge. It was the scene of an early victory by the Germans over the Wends in 929...

     and Pevestorf
  • Darchau Ferry
    Darchau Ferry
    The Darchau Ferry is a ferry across the Elbe river in Germany. It crosses between Darchau and Neu Darchau, both in the state of Lower Saxony, and is about south-east of the city of Hamburg.. The ferry boat currently in operation is the Tanja .- General information :The ferry itself was built in...

    , between Darchau and Neu Darchau
    Neu Darchau
    Neu Darchau is a municipality in the district Lüchow-Dannenberg, in Lower Saxony, Germany....

  • Bleckede Ferry, between Bleckede
    Bleckede
    Bleckede is a town in the district of Lüneburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated mostly on the left bank of the Elbe, approx. 20 km east of Lüneburg.Bleckede is located on the German Framework Road.-History:...

     and Neu Bleckede
  • Zollenspieker Ferry
    Zollenspieker Ferry
    The Zollenspieker Ferry is a ferry across the Elbe river in Germany. It crosses between Zollenspieker, a part of the quarter Kirchwerder of the Bergedorf borough of the city-state of Hamburg, and Hoopte, part of the town Winsen , in the state of Lower Saxony, and is about south-east of Hamburg...

    , between Kirchwerder and Winsen (Luhe)
    Winsen (Luhe)
    Winsen is the capital of the district of Harburg, in Lower Saxony, Germany. It is situated on the small river Luhe, near its confluence with the Elbe, approx. 25 km southeast of Hamburg, and 20 km northwest of Lüneburg....

     to the east of Hamburg
    Hamburg
    -History:The first historic name for the city was, according to Claudius Ptolemy's reports, Treva.But the city takes its modern name, Hamburg, from the first permanent building on the site, a castle whose construction was ordered by the Emperor Charlemagne in AD 808...

  • Ferries in the port of Hamburg, operated by HADAG
    HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst
    The HADAG Seetouristik und Fährdienst AG is a local public transport company in Hamburg, Germany. It owns and operates the ferries across the Elbe river, overseen by the Hamburger Verkehrsverbund...

  • Wischhafen Glückstadt Ferry, between Wischhafen
    Wischhafen
    Wischhafen is a municipality in the district of Stade, in Lower Saxony, Germany.-History:It belonged to the Prince-Archbishopric of Bremen. In 1648 the Prince-Archbishopric was transformed into the Duchy of Bremen, which was first ruled in personal union by the Swedish and from 1715 on by the...

     and Glückstadt
    Glückstadt
    Glückstadt is a town in the Steinburg district of Schleswig-Holstein, Germany. It is located on the right bank of the Lower Elbe at the confluence of the small Rhin river, about northwest of Altona...

     to the west of Hamburg


Many of these ferries are traditional reaction ferries
Reaction ferry
A reaction ferry is a cable ferry that uses the reaction of the current of a river against a fixed tether to propel the vessel across the river...

, a type of cable ferry
Cable ferry
A cable ferry is guided and in many cases propelled across a river or other larger body of water by cables connected to both shores. They are also called chain ferries, floating bridges, or punts....

 that uses the current flow of the river to provide propulsion.

Etymology

First attested in Latin as , the name means "river" or "river-bed" and is nothing more than the High German version of a word () found elsewhere in Germanic; cf. Old Norse
Old Norse
Old Norse is a North Germanic language that was spoken by inhabitants of Scandinavia and inhabitants of their overseas settlements during the Viking Age, until about 1300....

 river name , Swedish
Swedish language
Swedish is a North Germanic language, spoken by approximately 10 million people, predominantly in Sweden and parts of Finland, especially along its coast and on the Åland islands. It is largely mutually intelligible with Norwegian and Danish...

  "river", Old English river name , and Middle Low German
Middle Low German
Middle Low German is a language that is the descendant of Old Saxon and is the ancestor of modern Low German. It served as the international lingua franca of the Hanseatic League...

  "river-bed".

History

The Elbe was recorded by Ptolemy
Ptolemy
Claudius Ptolemy , was a Roman citizen of Egypt who wrote in Greek. He was a mathematician, astronomer, geographer, astrologer, and poet of a single epigram in the Greek Anthology. He lived in Egypt under Roman rule, and is believed to have been born in the town of Ptolemais Hermiou in the...

 as (Germanic
Germanic languages
The Germanic languages constitute a sub-branch of the Indo-European language family. The common ancestor of all of the languages in this branch is called Proto-Germanic , which was spoken in approximately the mid-1st millennium BC in Iron Age northern Europe...

 for "river") in Germania
Germania
Germania was the Greek and Roman geographical term for the geographical regions inhabited by mainly by peoples considered to be Germani. It was most often used to refer especially to the east of the Rhine and north of the Danube...

 Magna with its source in the mountains , where the Germanic lived.
The Elbe has long been an important delineator of European geography. The Romans
Roman Empire
The Roman Empire was the post-Republican period of the ancient Roman civilization, characterised by an autocratic form of government and large territorial holdings in Europe and around the Mediterranean....

 knew the river as the ; however, they only attempted once to move the Eastern border of their empire forward from the Rhine to the Elbe, and this attempt failed in the Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
Battle of the Teutoburg Forest
The Battle of the Teutoburg Forest took place in 9 CE, when an alliance of Germanic tribes led by Arminius of the Cherusci ambushed and decisively destroyed three Roman legions, along with their auxiliaries, led by Publius Quinctilius Varus.Despite numerous successful campaigns and raids by the...

 in 9 AD, after which they never seriously tried again. In the Middle Ages
Middle Ages
The Middle Ages is a periodization of European history from the 5th century to the 15th century. The Middle Ages follows the fall of the Western Roman Empire in 476 and precedes the Early Modern Era. It is the middle period of a three-period division of Western history: Classic, Medieval and Modern...

 it formed the eastern limit of the Empire of Charlemagne
Charlemagne
Charlemagne was King of the Franks from 768 and Emperor of the Romans from 800 to his death in 814. He expanded the Frankish kingdom into an empire that incorporated much of Western and Central Europe. During his reign, he conquered Italy and was crowned by Pope Leo III on 25 December 800...

. The river's navigable sections were also essential to the success of the Hanseatic League
Hanseatic League
The Hanseatic League was an economic alliance of trading cities and their merchant guilds that dominated trade along the coast of Northern Europe...

 and much trade was carried on its waters.

The Elbe delineated the western parts of Germany from the eastern so-called East Elbia, where soccage and serfdom
Serfdom
Serfdom is the status of peasants under feudalism, specifically relating to Manorialism. It was a condition of bondage or modified slavery which developed primarily during the High Middle Ages in Europe and lasted to the mid-19th century...

 were more strict and prevailed longer, than westwards of the river, and where feudal lords held bigger estates than in the west. Thus incumbents of huge land-holdings became characterised as East Elbian Junker
Junker
A Junker was a member of the landed nobility of Prussia and eastern Germany. These families were mostly part of the German Uradel and carried on the colonization and Christianization of the northeastern European territories during the medieval Ostsiedlung. The abbreviation of Junker is Jkr...

s. The Northern German
Northern Germany
- Geography :The key terrain features of North Germany are the marshes along the coastline of the North Sea and Baltic Sea, and the geest and heaths inland. Also prominent are the low hills of the Baltic Uplands, the ground moraines, end moraines, sandur, glacial valleys, bogs, and Luch...

 area north of the Lower Elbe used to be called North Albingia
Nordalbingia
Nordalbingia was one of the four administrative regions of the medieval Duchy of Saxony, the others being Angria, Eastphalia, and Westphalia....

 in the Middle Ages. When the four Lutheran church bodies
Landeskirche
In Germany and Switzerland, a Landeskirche is the church of a region. They originated as the national churches of the independent states, States of Germany or Cantons of Switzerland , that later unified to form modern Germany or modern Switzerland , respectively.-Origins in the Holy Roman...

 there united in 1977 they chose the name North Elbian Evangelical Lutheran Church. Other, administrative units were named after the river Elbe, such as the Westphalian
Kingdom of Westphalia
The Kingdom of Westphalia was a new country of 2.6 million Germans that existed from 1807-1813. It included of territory in Hesse and other parts of present-day Germany. While formally independent, it was a vassal state of the First French Empire, ruled by Napoleon's brother Jérôme Bonaparte...

 Elbe département (1807–1813) and the Lower Elbe département (1810), and the French département Bouches-de-l'Elbe
Bouches-de-l'Elbe
Bouches-de-l'Elbe is the name of a département of the First French Empire in present Germany that survived three years. It is named after the mouth of the river Elbe...

 (1811–1814).

In 1945, as World War II
World War II
World War II, or the Second World War , was a global conflict lasting from 1939 to 1945, involving most of the world's nations—including all of the great powers—eventually forming two opposing military alliances: the Allies and the Axis...

 was drawing to a close, Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany
Nazi Germany , also known as the Third Reich , but officially called German Reich from 1933 to 1943 and Greater German Reich from 26 June 1943 onward, is the name commonly used to refer to the state of Germany from 1933 to 1945, when it was a totalitarian dictatorship ruled by...

 was caught between the armies of the western Allies advancing from the west and the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 advancing from the east. On 25 April 1945, these two forces linked up near Torgau, on the Elbe. The event was marked as Elbe Day
Elbe Day
Elbe Day, April 25, 1945, was the date Soviet and American troops met at the River Elbe, near Torgau in Germany, marking an important step toward the end of the World War II in Europe. The first contact was made between patrols near Strehla, when First Lieutenant Albert Kotzebue crossed the River...

. After the war, the Elbe formed part of the border between East Germany and West Germany
West Germany
West Germany is the common English, but not official, name for the Federal Republic of Germany or FRG in the period between its creation in May 1949 to German reunification on 3 October 1990....

.

During the 1970s, the Soviet Union
Soviet Union
The Soviet Union , officially the Union of Soviet Socialist Republics , was a constitutionally socialist state that existed in Eurasia between 1922 and 1991....

 stated that Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler
Adolf Hitler was an Austrian-born German politician and the leader of the National Socialist German Workers Party , commonly referred to as the Nazi Party). He was Chancellor of Germany from 1933 to 1945, and head of state from 1934 to 1945...

's ashes had been scattered in the Elbe following disinterment from their original burial site.

See also

  • 2002 European floods
    2002 European floods
    In August 2002 a 100-year flood caused by over a week of continuous heavy rains ravaged Europe, killing dozens, dispossessing thousands, and causing damage of billions of euros in the Czech Republic, Austria, Germany, Slovakia, Poland, Hungary, Romania and Croatia....

  • 2006 European floods
    2006 European floods
    From February to April 2006 many rivers across Europe, especially the Elbe and Danube, swelled due to heavy rain and melting snow and rose to record levels...

  • Saxon Elbeland
    Saxon Elbeland
    The Saxon Elbeland is a term used in more recent times which describes a region along the Elbe, whose boundaries are not clearly defined, but which extends roughly from the Elbe Sandstone Mountains to Torgau. The best-known cities and town in this area are Dresden, Meißen, Riesa and Torgau...

    - the region of the Upper Elbe in Germany

External links


The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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