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Dnieper River

The Dnieper River () is one of the major rivers of Europe (fourth by length) that flows from Russia, through Belarus and Ukraine, to the Black Sea. The total length is and has a drainage basin of . The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations. The Dnieper is an important navigable waterway for the economy of Ukraine and is connected via the Dnieper-Bug Canal to other waterways in Europe.

In antiquity, the river was known to the Greeks as the Borysthenes and was part of the Amber Road. Arheimar, a capital of the Goths, was located on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar saga.



The name Dnieper is derived from Iranic Sarmatian "the river on the far side".[1] (By contrast, the Dniester derives from "the close river".)

In the three countries through which it flows it has essentially the same name, albeit pronounced differently:

  • (, )
  • (, )
  • (, )

The Dnieper River in Kherson, Ukraine. The river is mentioned by the Ancient Greek historian Herodotus in the 5th century BC as (), as well as by Strabo; this name is Scythian (cf. Iranian *) and meant "wide land", referring most likely to the Ukrainian steppe. The late Greek and Roman authors called it - and respectively - (dana in Old Persian meant "river"); The name Dnieper probably derives from that Greek word. Its Old East Slavic name used at the time of Kievan Rus' was or , the Huns called it Var,[2] and Bulgars - Buri-Chai. The name in .[3]


The total length of the river is , of which is within Russia, is within Belarus, and is within Ukraine. Its basin covers , of which are within Ukraine.[4]

The source of the Dnieper is the turf swamps of the Valdai Hills in central Russia, at an elevation of .[4] For of its length, it serves as the border between Belarus and Ukraine. It is connected with the Bug River by the Dnieper Bug Canal. Its estuary, or liman, used to be defended by the strong fortress of Ochakiv.

Tributaries of the Dnieper

The Dnieper has many tributaries. The main ones, in orographic sequence, are: Dnieper basin showing peoples in the ninth century

  • Drut (R)
  • Berezina (R)
  • Sozh (L)
  • Prypiat (R)
  • Teteriv (R)
  • Irpin (R)
  • Desna (L)
  • Stuhna (R)
  • Trubizh (L)
  • Ros (R)
  • Tiasmyn (R)
  • Supiy (L)
  • Sula (L)
  • Psyol (L)
  • Vorskla (L)
  • Samara (L)
  • Konka (L)
  • Bilozerka (L)
  • Bazavluk (R)
  • Inhulets (R)

Many small direct tributaries also exist, such as, in the Kiev area, the Syrets (right bank) in the north of the city, the historically significant Lybid (right bank) passing west of the centre, and the Borshagovka (right bank) to the south.


The river is part of the Quagga mussel's native range. The mussel has been accidentally introduced around the world where it has become an invasive species.

Reservoirs and hydroelectric power

The river is noted for its dams and hydroelectric stations.

The most noted was the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station or (DniproHES) near Zaporizhia, built in 1927-1932 with an output of 558 MW. It was destroyed during Second World War, and rebuilt in 1948 with an output of 750 MW.

The others are: Kremenchuk (1954 60), Kiev (1960 64), Dniprodzerzhynsk (1956 64), Kaniv (1963 75).

Those dams that used to generate hydroelectric power of ten percent of Ukraine's total electricity, form water reservoirs.

The reservoirs are named as Kiev (), Kaniv (), Kremenchuk (), Dniprodzerzhynsk (), Dnipro (), and Kakhovka ().

Cities and towns on the Dnieper

Satellite image of the Dnieper and its tributaries. Cities and towns located on the Dnieper are listed in order from the river's source (in Russia) to its mouth (in Ukraine):

  • Dorogobuzh, Russia
  • Smolensk, Russia
  • Orsha, Belarus
  • Shklow, Belarus
  • Mahilyow, Belarus
  • Bychaw, Belarus
  • Rahachow, Belarus
  • Zhlobin, Belarus
  • Rechytsa, Belarus
  • Kiev, Ukraine
  • Kaniv, Ukraine
  • Cherkasy, Ukraine
  • Kremenchuk, Ukraine
  • Dniprodzerzhynsk, Ukraine
  • Dnipropetrovsk, Ukraine
  • Zaporizhia, Ukraine
  • Marhanets, Ukraine
  • Nikopol, Ukraine
  • Enerhodar, Ukraine
  • Kamianka-Dniprovska, Ukraine
  • Nova Kakhovka, Ukraine
  • Kherson, Ukraine

Arheimar, a capital of the Goths, was located on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar saga.


Ships on the Dnieper by Nicholas Roerich The Dnieper is important for the transport and economy of Ukraine: its reservoirs have large ship locks, allowing vessels of up to to access as far as the port of Kiev and thus create an important transport corridor. The river is used by passenger vessels as well. Inland cruises on the rivers Danube and Dnieper have been a growing market in recent decades.

Upstream from Kiev, the Dnieper receives the water of the Pripyat River. This navigable river connects to the Dnieper-Bug canal, the link with the Bug River river. Historically, a connection with the Western European waterways was possible, but a weir without a ship lock near the town of Brest has interrupted this international waterway. Poor political relations between Western Europe and Belarus mean there is little likelihood of re-opening this waterway in the near future.[5]

Navigation is interrupted each year by freezing in winter, and severe winter storms.

Popular culture

  • The river is one of the symbols of Ukrainian statehood.
  • Some of the cities on its banks -- Dnipropetrovsk, Dniprorudne, Kamianka-Dniprovska -- are named after the river.
  • The Zaporozhian Cossacks lived on the lower Dniepr and their name refers to their location "beyond the cataracts."[6]
  • Folk metal band Turisas have a song called "The Dnieper Rapids" on their 2007 album The Varangian Way.
  • Leon Bolier featured a track called "Dnipro" in his debut 2CD album Pictures. The track is said to be inspired by his visit to Kiev in May 2008.
  • The river is described in the works of Taras Shevchenko as Dnipro (He roars and groans the Dnipro wide) and mentioned in the National anthem of Ukraine.
  • The river is referred to as Dnipro, in the song Hey, Dnipro, Dnipro.[7]
  • Briefly mentioned in the Sci-Fi/Adventure novel The Crisis Pendant by Charlie Patterson.

See also

The Dnieper River in Dorogobuzh, Russia, before 1917.

  • Threat of the Dnieper reservoirs
  • List of rivers of Russia
  • List of rivers of Ukraine
  • Trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks

References and footnotes

External links

af:Dnjepr ar: az:Dnepr ay ba: ( ) be: be-x-old: bg: bs:Dnjepar ca:Dni per cv: cs:Dn pr cy:Afon Dnieper da:Dnepr de:Dnepr et:Dnepr el: es:R o Dni per eo:Dnepro eu:Dnieper fa: fr:Dniepr fy:Dnjepr gl:R o Dniepr ko: hy: hsb:Dnjepr hr:Dnjepar id:Sungai Dnieper is:Dnjepr it:Dnepr he: ka: mrj: la:Danapris lv:D epra lt:Dniepras lmo:Dnepr hu:Dnyeper mk: mr: xmf: nl:Dnjepr (rivier) ja: no:Dnepr nn:Dnepr oc:Dni pre pl:Dniepr pt:Rio Dniepre crh: z zeni ro:Nipru rue: ru: stq:Dnepr simple:Dnieper River sk:Dneper sl:Dnjeper cu: sr: fi:Dnepr sv:Dnepr tt: th: tr:Dinyeper uk: vep:Dnepr vi:S ng Dnepr yi: zh-yue: zh:

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