Elbe

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Elbe

(ĕl`bə), Czech Labe, a major river of central Europe, c.725 mi (1,170 km) long, rising in the Krknoše Mts., NW Czech Republic, and traversing NW Czech Republic in a wide arc. It then cuts through steep sandstone cliffs, enters E Germany, and flows generally NW through E Germany (past Dresden, Wittenberg, and Magdeburg) and onto the North German plain. The Elbe forms part of what was the East German–West German border before flowing across N central Germany (past Hamburg) and into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. In Hamburg, the river divides into two arms before forming a 60-mi-long (97-km) estuary. The chief tributaries of the Elbe are the Vltava, Mulde, Saale, and Havel rivers. One of the chief waterways of Europe, the Elbe is navigable for c.525 mi (845 km); freight-laden barges can move on the river as far as Prague. A canal system connects the Elbe with Berlin and the Oder River (to the east); with the Ruhr region and the Weser and Rhine rivers (to the west); and with the Baltic Sea (to the north). There are numerous dams in the Elbe River basin. Known as the Albis to the Romans, the river marked the farthest Roman advance into Germany (9 B.C.) and was later the eastern limit of Charlemagne's conquests. The Treaty of Versailles (1919) internationalized its course from the Vltava River to the sea, but Germany repudiated its internationalization after the Munich Pact (1938). In 1945 the river was made part of the demarcation line between East and West Germany.
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The following article is from The Great Soviet Encyclopedia (1979). It might be outdated or ideologically biased.

Elbe

 

(Czech, Labe), a river in Czechoslovakia, the German Democratic Republic (GDR), and the Federal Republic of Germany (FRG). The Elbe, which is 1,165 km long and drains an area of 145,800 sq km, rises on the southwestern slopes of the Krkonoše Hory (Riesengebirge) of the Sudetes mountain system. In its upper course the river has a large gradient and forms the Elbe Waterfall, with a height of approximately 70 m; it then flows along the hilly plains of northern Bohemia. Taking a northwesterly direction, which it maintains to its mouth, the Elbe cuts, in gorges, through the eastern spurs of the Erzgebirge and the mountains of Saxonian Switzerland.

Below the city of Meissen the Elbe flows across the Central European Plain, forming a broad valley with marshy sections and lakes. In certain sections dikes have been constructed, and the bends have been straightened. Between Dresden and Hamburg the river increases in width from 100–150 m to 300–500 m. The Elbe empties into the North Sea, forming an estuary about 100 km long and 2.5–15 km wide. The river’s chief right tributaries are the Iser, Schwarze Elster, and Havel; the principal left tributaries are the Vltava, Ohře, Mulde, and Saale.

In spring, melting snow results in high water. The summer low-water period is characterized by occasional freshets brought on by rain: the water level is higher throughout the remainder of the year. Annual fluctuations average 7–8 m. The mean flow rate near the border between Czechoslovakia and the GDR is about 300 cu m per second; in the river’s lower course, it is about 750 cu m per sec. The Elbe is tidal for a distance of 160 km from the mouth. In its upper course the river freezes over for a period of 1.5–2 months; the lower course remains frozen for 2–3 weeks, and in mild winters it does not form an ice cover at all.

The Elbe is navigable for 950 km, as far as the city of Kolin, Czechoslovakia; oceangoing vessels reach as far as Hamburg. The river is linked by a system of canals with the Baltic Sea and with the Rhine, Weser, Ems, and Oder rivers. The cities of Hradec Králové, Pardubice, and Ústi nad Labem in Czechoslovakia; Dresden, Meissen, and Magdeburg in the GDR; and Hamburg in the FRG are situated on the Elbe.

A. P. MURANOV

The Great Soviet Encyclopedia, 3rd Edition (1970-1979). © 2010 The Gale Group, Inc. All rights reserved.

Elbe

a river in central Europe, rising in the N Czech Republic and flowing generally northwest through Germany to the North Sea at Hamburg. Length: 1165 km (724 miles)
Collins Discovery Encyclopedia, 1st edition © HarperCollins Publishers 2005
References in periodicals archive ?
The River Kamenice enters the River Elbe 24 km downstream from the roosting colony (air distance).
He makes an important opening observation regarding the opportunity for comparison between the common historical features emerging from the chapters, some of which might be particular to the area east of the River Elbe, but might also have occurred in other parts of Europe.
The River Elbe flooding was on a massive scale, with hundreds of deaths in Germany alone.
A dam at the confluence of the River Elbe and the River Sle south of Magdeburg burst despite attempts to stabilise it.
Dresden is located on the banks of the River Elbe in Germany, and features a number of museums and historic buildings, such as the Elbe Castle, Villa Quarter, the Semper Opera House and the Frauenkirche.
What made it an attractive target of total war was its identifiable location on the river Elbe and its flammability.
The German city of Dresden was stripped of its WHS status after a four-lane bridge was built across the river Elbe just over a mile from the city''s historic centre.
The Northern metropolis is distinguished by its unique location on the water, situated on the River Elbe and the Alster Lake, boasting its typical maritime flair.
Standing on the deck of a pleasure boat on river Elbe, the cool maritime breeze and sunlit waterfront skyline make me conscious of the understated allure of Hamburg.
(The area is essentially the same as in "Yella"--a beautiful but economically depressed region by the River Elbe, near Wittenberge.) Powerful opening reel, with sudden outbursts of anger and unexpected violence as Thomas is held accountable for his mom's debts, sets the film's edgy tone.
Local officials said the River Elbe in Hamburg posed a flood risk, while some ferry services in the north were disrupted.
He restricts the book to the two most important means of transport for the foreign trade of Czechoslovakia: inland navigation (in particular on the river Elbe) and the railways, and thus the history of freight traffic and international tariff policy.