Dnepr (Dnieper River)
The Dnepr River is one of Europe’s main rivers. The Dnepr is 1,367 miles in length and is Europe’s fourth longest river following the Volga, Danube and Ural Rivers. Over 300 miles of the river are in Russia; 370 miles are in Belarus, and 680 miles are within Ukraine ending at the Black Sea. The Dneper is the boundary between Belarus and Ukraine. It drains 195,000 miles of land. The river has dams and is a source of hydroelectric power. The Dneper has over twenty main tributaries and many small ones in the Kiev area.
The Dneper begins at an altitude of 720 feet from a small peat bog on the southerly slope of the Valldai Hills approximately 150 miles near Smolensk west of Moscow, Russia. It runs in a southern direction through the western part of Russia, Belarus and Ukraine, emptying into the Black Sea.
The Dnepr has over twenty cities on the banks of the river. The two Russian cities are Dorogobuzh and Smolensk. The seven cities from Belarus on the river are Orsha, Shklow, Mahilyow, Bychaw, Rahachow, Zhlobin and Rechytsa. The remaining cities are from Ukraine: Kiev, Kaniv, Cherkasy, Kremenchuk, Daiprodzerzhvusk, Zaporizhia, Marhanets, Nikipol, Enerhodar, Kamianka-Dniprovska, Nova Kakhovka and Kherson.
The Dnepr plays a pivotal role in transportation and the economy of Ukraine. The reservoirs on the river have large locks for ships, permitting ships of at least 270 meters by 18 meters being able to sail up to Kiev allowing the transportation of products. Passenger ships cruise the river. Inland ships sail on the Dneper and Danube Rivers.
Ships can navigate upstream from Kiev, as the Dneper obtains water from the Pripytat River, which is navigable to the Dneper-Bug Canal. It connects with the Bug River.
Several items of popular culture relate to the Dneper. The river is one representation of the Ukrainian government. The Zaporizhia Cossacks resided on the lower section of the Dneper and took their name from their location, which was beyond the cataracts. In addition, the Ukraine National Anthem refers to the Dneper.