|• location||Valdai Hills, Russia|
|• elevation||220 m (720 ft)|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||2,201 km (1,368 mi)|
|Basin size||504,000 km2 (195,000 sq mi)|
|• average||1,670 m3/s (59,000 cu ft/s)|
|• left||Sozh, Desna, Trubizh, Supiy, Sula, Psel, Vorskla, Samara, Konka, Bilozerka|
|• right||Drut, Berezina, Pripyat, Teteriv, Irpin, Stuhna, Ros, Tiasmyn, Bazavluk, Inhulets|
|Official name||Dnieper River Floodplain|
|Designated||29 May 2014|
|Settlements next to the Dnieper|
blank spaces indicate as place above (")
The Dnieper (/() /),[a] also called Dnipro (//),[b] is one of the major transboundary rivers of Europe, rising in the Valdai Hills near Smolensk, Russia, before flowing through Belarus and Ukraine to the Black Sea. It is the longest river of Ukraine and Belarus and the fourth-longest river in Europe, after the Volga, Danube, and Ural rivers. It is approximately 2,200 km (1,400 mi) long, with a drainage basin of 504,000 square kilometres (195,000 sq mi).
In antiquity, the river was part of the Amber Road trade routes. During the Ruin in the later 17th century, the area was contested between the Polish–Lithuanian Commonwealth and Russia, dividing Ukraine into areas described by its right and left banks. During the Soviet period, the river became noted for its major hydroelectric dams and large reservoirs. The 1986 Chernobyl disaster occurred on the Pripyat River, a tributary of the Dnieper, just upstream from its confluence with the Dnieper. The Dnieper is an important navigable waterway for the economy of Ukraine and is connected by the Dnieper–Bug Canal to other waterways in Europe. During the 2022 Russian invasion of Ukraine, certain segments of the river are part of the defensive lines between territory controlled by Russians and Ukrainians.
In English, Dnieper derives from Russian Dnepr, and Dnipro from the Ukrainian.[better source needed] The initial D in Dnieper is generally silent, although it may be sounded: // or //. The English pronunciation of Dnipro is //.
The name varies slightly in the local Slavic languages of the three countries through which it flows:
These names are all cognate, deriving from Old East Slavic Дънѣпръ (Dŭněprŭ). The origin of this name is disputed but generally derived from either Sarmatian *Dānu Apara ("Farther River") in parallel with the Dniester ("Nearer River") or from Scythian *Dānu Apr ("Deep River") in reference to its lack of fords, from which was also derived the Late Antique name of the river, Danapris (Δαναπρις).
The earlier Graeco-Roman name of the river was Borysthenes (Ancient Greek: Βορυσθενης, romanized: Borusthenēs; Latin: Borysthenes), which was derived from a Scythian name whose form was:
Ovid used Borysthenius, an adjective derived from Borysthenes, as the river's poetic Latin name.
The Huns' name for the river, Var, was derived from Scythian *Varu, meaning "Broad." This name was connected to the Graeco-Roman name of the Volga river, Oarus (Ancient Greek: Οαρος, romanized: Oaros; Latin: Oarus), which was also derived from Scythian *Varu.
During the period of Old Great Bulgaria, it was known as Buri-Chai and, under the Kievan Rus' it was known as Славу́тич (Slavutich), a name still used poetically in Ukrainian due to the influence of the Old East Slavic epic The Tale of Igor's Campaign and its modern adaptations on Ukrainian literature. This usage also lent its name to the city of Slavutych, founded in the wake of the Chernobyl disaster in 1986 to house displaced workers.[page needed] , the Crimean Tatars: Özü, and Turks: Özü or Özi. In Romanian, the river is known as Nipru.
See also: List of crossings of the Dnieper River
The total length of the river is variously given as 2,145 kilometres (1,333 mi) or 2,201 km (1,368 mi), of which 485 km (301 mi) are within Russia, 700 km (430 mi) are within Belarus, and 1,095 km (680 mi) are within Ukraine. Its basin covers 504,000 square kilometres (195,000 sq mi), of which 289,000 km2 (112,000 sq mi) are within Ukraine, 118,360 km2 (45,700 sq mi) are within Belarus.
The source of the Dnieper is the sedge bogs (Akseninsky Mokh) of the Valdai Hills in central Russia, at an elevation of 220 m (720 ft). For 115 km (71 mi) of its length, it serves as the border between Belarus and Ukraine. Its estuary, or liman, used to be defended by the strong fortress of Ochakiv.
The southernmost point in Belarus is on the Dnieper to the south of Kamaryn in Brahin Raion.
Main article: Dnieper basin
The Dnieper has many tributaries (up to 32,000) with 89 being rivers of 100+ km. The main ones are, from its source to its mouth, with left (L) or right (R) bank indicated:
Many small direct tributaries also exist, such as, in the Kyiv area, the Syrets (right bank) in the north of the city, the historically significant Lybid (right bank) passing west of the centre, and the Borshahivka (right bank) to the south.
The water resources of the Dnieper basin compose around 80% of the total for all Ukraine.
The Dnieper Rapids were part of the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, first mentioned in the Kyiv Chronicle.[clarification needed] The route was probably established in the late eighth and early ninth centuries and gained significant importance from the tenth until the first third of the eleventh century. On the Dnieper the Varangians had to portage their ships round seven rapids, where they had to be on guard for Pecheneg nomads.
Along this middle flow of the Dnieper, there were 9 major rapids (although some sources cite a fewer number of them), obstructing almost the whole width of the river, about 30 to 40 smaller rapids, obstructing only part of the river, and about 60 islands and islets.
After the Dnieper hydroelectric station was built in 1932, they were inundated by Dnieper Reservoir.
There are a number of canals connected to the Dnieper:
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.
The city of Kherson lies near to the Dnieper delta.
Nowadays the Dnieper River suffers from anthropogenic influence resulting in numerous emissions of pollutants. The Dnieper is close to the Prydniprovsky Chemical Plant radioactive dumps (near Kamianske) and susceptible to leakage of its radioactive waste. The river is also close to the Chernobyl Nuclear Power Station (Chernobyl Exclusion Zone) which is located next to the mouth of the Pripyat River.
Main article: Dnieper reservoir cascade
From the mouth of the Pripyat River to the Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station, there are six sets of dams and hydroelectric stations, which produce 10% of Ukraine's electricity. The Kakhovka dam was destroyed on 6 June 2023 during the Russian invasion of Ukraine, with the subsequent drying up of the Kakhovka Reservoir revealing the original course of the river in the area and disconnecting four canal networks.
The first constructed was the Dnieper Hydroelectric Station (or DniproHES) near Zaporizhzhia, built between 1927 and 1932 with an output of 558 MW. It was destroyed during World War II, but was rebuilt in 1948 with an output of 750 MW.
|Location||Dam||Reservoir area||Hydroelectric station||Date of construction|
|Kyiv||Kyiv Reservoir||922 km2 or 356 sq mi||Kyiv Hydroelectric Station||1960–1964|
|Kaniv||Kaniv Reservoir||675 km2 or 261 sq mi||Kaniv Hydroelectric Station||1963–1975|
|Kremenchuk||Kremenchuk Reservoir||2,250 km2 or 870 sq mi||Kremenchuk Hydroelectric Station||1954–1960|
|Kamianske||Kamianske Reservoir||567 km2 or 219 sq mi||Middle Dnieper Hydroelectric Power Plant||1956–1964|
|Zaporizhzhia||Dnieper Reservoir||420 km2 or 160 sq mi||Dnieper Hydroelectric Station||1927–1932; 1948|
|Kakhovka||Kakhovka Reservoir||2,155 km2 or 832 sq mi||Kakhovka Hydroelectric Station†||1950–1956|
The Dnieper River in Kyiv, Ukraine
The Dnieper River in Kremenchuk, Ukraine
The Dnieper river in Ukraine from a helicopter, 2004
Major cities, over 100,000 in population, are in bold script. Cities and towns located on the Dnieper are listed in order from the river's source (in Russia) to its mouth (in Ukraine):
Arheimar, a capital of the Goths, was located on the Dnieper, according to the Hervarar saga.
The River Dnieper has been a subject of chapter X of a story by Nikolai Gogol A Terrible Vengeance (1831, published in 1832 as a part of the Evenings on a Farm Near Dikanka short stories collection). It is considered as a classical example of description of the nature in Russian literature. The river was also described in the works of Taras Shevchenko.
In the adventure novel The Long Ships (also translated Red Orm), set during the Viking Age, a Scanian chieftain travels to the Dnieper Rapids to retrieve a treasure hidden there by his brother, encountering many difficulties. The novel was very popular in Sweden and is one of few to depict a Viking voyage to eastern Europe.
The River Dnieper has been a subject for artists, great and minor, over the centuries. Major artists with works based on the Dnieper are Arkhip Kuindzhi and Ivan Aivazovsky.
The River Dnieper makes an appearance in the 1964 Hungarian drama film The Sons of the Stone-Hearted Man (based on the novel of the same name by Mór Jókai), where it appears when two characters are leaving Saint Petersburg but get attacked by wolves.
In 1983, the concert program "Song of the Dnieper" from the "Victory Salute" series was released, dedicated to the 40th anniversary of the liberation of the city of Kiev from the German fascist invaders. The program includes songs by Soviet composers, Ukrainian folk songs, and dances performed by the Song and Dance Ensemble of the Kiev Military District led by A. Pustovalov, P. Virsky Ukrainian National Folk Dance Ensemble, Kyiv Bandurist Capella, the Military Band of the Headquarters of the Kiev Military District led by A. Kuzmenko, singers Anatoliy Mokrenko, Lyudmila Zykina, Anatoliy Solovianenko, Dmytro Hnatyuk, Mykola Hnatyuk. Filming on the battlefield, streets and squares of Kiev. Scriptwriter - Victor Meerovsky. Directed by Victor Cherkasov. Operator - Alexander Platonov.
The 2018 film Volcano was filmed at the river in Beryslav, Kherson Oblast.
In 1941, Mark Fradkin wrote "Song of the Dnieper" to the words of Yevgeniy Dolmatovsky.
Catherine II leaving Kaniów in 1787 by Johann Gottlieb Plersch
Dnieper by Arkhip Kuindzhi, 1881
Ice in the Dnieper by Ivan Aivazovsky, 1872
Sapphire Dnieper by Jan Stanisławski, 1904
Much of the world knows the Dnipro only as the Dnieper, a name based on the Russian-language Dnepr and widely used before Ukraine achieved its independence in 1991, in concert with the fall of the Soviet Union. "Dnipro" is the Ukrainian-language word for the river, and is now its official name for international usage.
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The importance of Chernobyl' for Soviet industry is best illustrated by comparing it to the key energy project of Stalin's industrialization, the famous Dnieper hydroelectric station, completed in 1932. The largest European hydroelectric station of its time, it had a capacity of 560 MW.