Geobox River
name = Elbe

map_size =
map_caption = The Elbe watershed
other_name = _cs. Labe
other_name1 = _de. Elbe
other_name2 = Low German: "Ilv"
country = Czech Republic
country1 = Germany
region = Hradec Králové Region
region1 = Pardubice Region
region2 = Central Bohemian Region
region3 = Ústí nad Labem Region
region4 = Saxony
region5 = Saxony-Anhalt
region6 = Brandenburg
region7 = Lower Saxony
region8 = Mecklenburg-Vorpommern
region9 = Hamburg
region10 = Schleswig-Holstein
city = Pardubice
city1 = Ústí nad Labem
city2 = Pirna, Dresden, Meißen, Torgau, Lutherstadt Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Hamburg, Cuxhaven
length = 1091
length_imperial =
watershed = 148268
watershed_imperial =
discharge_location = mouth
discharge_average = 711
discharge_average_imperial =
discharge_max_month = April
discharge_max = 1232
discharge_max_imperial =
discharge_min_month = September
discharge_min = 493
discharge_min_imperial =
discharge1_location = Děčín
discharge1_average = 303
discharge1_average_imperial =
source_name = Bílé Labe
source_location = Krkonoše
source_region =
source_country = Czech Republic
source_country1 =
source_elevation = 1386
source_elevation_imperial =
source_lat_d = 50
source_lat_m = 46
source_lat_s = 31
source_lat_NS = N
source_long_d = 15
source_long_m = 32
source_long_s = 16
source_long_EW = E
mouth_name = North Sea
mouth_location =
mouth_country = Germany
mouth_region =
mouth_country1 =
mouth_elevation = 0
mouth_elevation_imperial =
mouth_lat_d =
mouth_lat_m =
mouth_lat_s =
mouth_lat_NS =
mouth_long_d =
mouth_long_m =
mouth_long_s =
mouth_long_EW =
tributary_left = Vltava
tributary_left1 = Ohře
tributary_left2 = Mulde, Saale, Ohre, Tanger, Ilmenau River, Oste
tributary_right = Jizera
tributary_right1 = Schwarze Elster, Havel, Elde, Sude, Alster, Stör

image_size =
image_caption = The Labe near Děčín, Czech Republic
The Elbe (Audio-cs|Labe|Cs-Labe.ogg; _de. die Elbe; Low German: "de Ilv") is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It originates in the northwestern Czech Republic before traversing much of Germany and flowing into the North Sea. Its total length has been given as convert|1091|km|mi|0.


The Elbe rises at an elevation of about convert|1400|m|ft|0 in the Krkonoše (also known as "Giant Mountains" or in German as "Riesengebirge") on the north west 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 convert|60|m|ft|0 of the Labský vodopád, 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, where it turns sharply to the west. At Kolín some convert|43|km|mi|0 further on, it bends gradually towards the north-west. At the village of Káraný, a little above Brandýs nad Labem it picks up the Jizera.

At Mělník its stream is more than doubled in volume by the Vltava, or Moldau, a river which winds northwards through Bohemia. Although upstream from the confluence Vltava is longer (434 km vs. 294), has larger discharge and larger drainage basin, due historical reasons (at the confluence the Vltava meets the Elbe at almost a right angle, so it appears as a tributary) river continues as Elbe.

Some distance lower down, at Litoměřice, the waters of the Elbe are tinted by the reddish Ohře (Eger). Thus augmented, and swollen into a stream convert|140|m|ft|0 wide, the Elbe carves a path through the basaltic mass of the České Středohoří, churning its way through a deep, narrow rocky gorge. Shortly after crossing the Czech-German frontier, and passing through the sandstone defiles of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the stream assumes a north-westerly direction, which on the whole it preserves right to the North Sea.

The river rolls through Dresden and finally, beyond Meißen, enters on its long journey across the North German Plain passing along the former border of East Germany, touching Torgau, Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Wittenberge, and Hamburg on the way, and taking on the waters of the Mulde and Saale from the west, and those of the Schwarze Elster, Havel and Elde from the east. Soon the Elbe reaches Hamburg, and then passes through Holstein until it flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. Near its mouth it passes Otterndorf, Glückstadt, Brunsbüttel and the entrance to the Kiel Canal.


The Elbe has been navigable by commercial vessels since 1842, and provides important trade links as far inland as Prague. The river is linked by canals to the industrial areas of Germany and to Berlin. The Elbe-Lübeck Canal links the Elbe to the Baltic Sea, as does the Kiel Canal, whose western entrance is near the mouth of the Elbe.

Before Germany was reunited, waterway transport in Western Germany was hindered by the fact that inland navigation to Hamburg had to pass through the German Democratic Republic. The Elbe Seitenkanal (Elbe Lateral Canal) was built between the Mittellandkanal and the lower Elbe to restore this connection. When the two nations were reunited, works began to improve and restore the original links: the Elbe Canal Bridge near Magdeburg 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. (Source: [http://www.noorderSoft.com/indexen.html NoorderSoft Waterways Database] )


First attested in Latin as "Albis", the name "Elbe" means "river" or "river-bed" and is nothing more than the High German version of a word (*"albiz") found elsewhere in Germanic; cf. Old Norse river name "Elfr", Swedish "älv" "river", Old English river name "Ielf", and Middle Low German "elve" "river-bed". [Orel, Vladimir. "A Handbook of Germanic Etymology". Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2003: 13]


The Elbe was recorded by Ptolemy as "Albis" (Germanic for "river", see below) in Germania Magna with its source in the "Asciburgis" mountains (Krkonoše, Riesengebirge or Giant Mountains), where the Germanic "Vandalii" lived.

The Elbe has long been an important delineator of European geography. The Romans knew the river as the Albis; 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 in 9 AD, after which they never seriously tried again. In the Middle Ages it formed the eastern limit of the Empire of Charlemagne. The river's navigable sections were also essential to the success of the Hanseatic League and much trade was carried on its waters.

In 1945, as World War II was drawing to a close, Nazi Germany was caught between the armies of the western Allies advancing from the west and the Soviet Union advancing from the east. On April 25, these two forces linked up near Torgau, on the Elbe. The event was marked as Elbe Day. After the war, the Elbe formed part of the border between East and West Germany.

According to Russian accounts, In April, 1970, when the SMERSH facility in Magdeburg was being transferred to the East German government, the remains of Adolf Hitler, Eva Braun, Joseph Goebbels, Magda Goebbels and the Goebbels' six children were reportedly exhumed, thoroughly cremated, and the ashes finally dumped unceremoniously into the Elbe.


ee also

* 2002 European floods
* 2006 European floods

External links

* [http://www.google.com/search?ie=UTF-8&oe=UTF-8&q=albis&btnG=Search&domains=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ancientlibrary.com&sitesearch=http%3A%2F%2Fwww.ancientlibrary.com Ancient library Albis river in Germania Magna]
* [http://www.ancientlibrary.com/gazetteer/0367.html Source of Albis river in Asciburgis (Riesengebirge Giants mountains]
* [http://www.ergis.cz/krkonose/index.php?lang=en&detail=38&path=places information and pictures of the spring of Labe in Giant Mountains (Krkonoše, Riesengebirge)]

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