Kura


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Kura

(ko͝orä`), ancient Cyrus, Georgian Mktvari, Azeri Kür, river, c.950 mi (1,530 km) long, the chief river of Georgia and Azerbaijan. It rises in NE Turkey, NW of Kars, and flows NE into Georgia, then SE, parallel to the Caucasus Mts., to the Caspian Sea. There are hydroelectric plants on the river near Tbilisi, Georgia, and Mingachevir (Mingechaur), Azerbaijan; the extensive reservoir at Mingachevir is also used for irrigation. The lower Kura River, joined by the ArasAras
, Armenian, Rus., Araks, Azeri Araz, river, c.600 mi (970 km) long, rising in the Transcaucasus Mts., NE Turkey. It flows generally east, forming parts of the Turkey-Armenia, Armenia-Iran, and Azerbaijan-Iran borders, before entering Azerbaijan where it joins
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 River, its chief tributary, flows through an irrigated plain that extends into NW Iran. Cotton is the chief industrial crop of the region, which lies partly below sea level. The Kura is navigable c.300 mi (480 km) upstream.

Kura

 

(Georgian, Mtkvari), a river in the Georgian SSR, the Azerbaijan SSR, and Turkey. It is 1,364 km long and drains an area of 188,000 sq km. The Kura rises in the Armenian Highland in Turkey and empties into the Caspian Sea. In its upper reaches, as far as Tbilisi, it flows mainly through ravines and gorges (the best known of which is the Borzhomi Gorge), which alternate with intramontane basins and plains. Below Tbilisi the river in places divides into several arms and its valley widens, with the Borchala Plain extending to the right and the arid Karaiazskaia Steppe to the left. After receiving the waters of the Alazani from the left, the Kura flows through a dry steppe. Around Mingechaur it crosses the Bozdag Range, upstream from which a reservoir has been built. Below Mingechaur the Kura meanders through the Kura-Araks Lowland, flowing between low diked banks; in some places the riverbed is straightened by canals. The Araks, a major tributary, enters the Kura 236 km from the latter’s mouth. At the point where it enters the Caspian Sea, the Kura forms a delta covering an area of 100 sq km.

The Kura is fed chiefly by snow (36 percent) and ground water (30 percent); it is also fed by rain (about 20 percent) and glaciers (14 percent). The average annual discharge is about 30 cu m per sec at the national border, 205 cu m per sec at Tbilisi, 402 cu m per sec at Mingechaur, and 575 cu m per sec at the mouth. The maximum flow occurs in spring (60–69 percent). Below Mingechaur variations in the water level and discharge are controlled by the spillways of the reservoir of the Mingechaur Hydroelectric Power Plant. The flow approaches that of the natural regime only below the mouth of the Araks River. Above Mingechaur spring high water begins in late March, reaches its maximum in May, or sometimes in June, and subsides by late July. Rains cause numerous floods, but in the winter the water level is constant. The Kura’s waters are very muddy; in the lower course, the silt content ranges from 1,900 to 2,325 g per cu m, and the alluvial discharge reaches 21 million tons per year. The delta is extending into the sea at the rate of 100 m per year.

Below Tbilisi the Kura’s waters are used for irrigation and are channeled by a canal to replenish the Araks River. Hydroelectric power plants on the Kura include the Chitakhevi, Zemo-Avchala, Ortachala, and Mingechaur plants, and several hydroelectric power plants have also been built on its tributaries. The stellate sturgeon, beluga, sturgeon, lamprey, sander, and other fish are caught in the delta. Lumber is floated from the upper course as far as Tbilisi, and the river is navigable from its mouth to Evlakh. The cities of Borzhomi, Gori, Mtskheta, Tbilisi, Rustavi, Mingechaur, Evlakh, Sabirabad, Ali-Bairamly, and Sal’iany are situated along the Kura.

I. V. POPOV

Kura

a river in W Asia, rising in NE Turkey and flowing across Georgia and Azerbaijan to the Caspian Sea. Length: 1515 km (941 miles)
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