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Vltava(vəl`tävä), Ger. Moldau, longest river of the Czech Republic, c.270 mi (430 km) long, rising in the Bohemian Forest, SW Czech Republic, and flowing SE, then N, past České Budĕjovice and Prague, to the Elbe River at Mĕlník. There are several large hydroelectric stations on the river.
left tributary of the Laba (Elbe) River in Czechoslovakia. Length, 446 km; area of basin, 28,000 sq km.
The Vltava rises in two streams in the Sumava Mountains. After penetrating the Devil’s Walls ravine at the city of Vyssi Brod, it flows through the plain of Budĕjovice and then through a narrow valley in the uplands of Central Čechy. It flows into the Laba River at the city of Mĕlník, where its volume is greater than that of the Laba itself at that point. The median volume of water flowing past Prague is 142 cu m per sec. The Vltava floods in spring and becomes shallow in summer. Between Mĕlník and Prague there is a system of 12 sluices, which maintain a constant depth of 2.1 m, allowing ships to rise to the city of Stĕchovice, 84 km from the river’s mouth. Higher up, the Vltava is used to float lumber. It is linked by an old lumber-floating canal with the Grosse Mühl River, a tributary of the Danube in Austria. The Vltava has reservoirs and hydroelectric power stations, and the cities of Prague and České Budĕjovice are located on it.