This article is about a river in the Czech Republic. For the symphonic poem, see Má vlast.
Coordinates: 50°20′29″N 14°28′30″E / 50.34139°N 14.47500°E / 50.34139; 14.47500
The Vltava's bend in Prague
South Bohemia, Central Bohemia
Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, Prague
Černá hora, Bohemian Forest
1,172 m (3,845 ft)
48°58′29″N 13°33′39″E / 48.97472°N 13.56083°E / 48.97472; 13.56083
155 m (509 ft)
50°20′29″N 14°28′30″E / 50.34139°N 14.47500°E / 50.34139; 14.47500
430 km (267 mi)
28,090 km (10,846 sq mi)
149.9 m/s (5,294 cu ft/s)
The course and drainage basin of the Vltava from its source to its confluence with the Elbe (magenta)
Wikimedia Commons: Vltava
The Vltava (Czech pronunciation: ˈvl̩tava ( listen); German: Moldau, IPA: ˈmɔldaʊ̯) is the longest river in the Czech Republic, running north from its source near the German border in Šumava through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice, and Prague, merging with the Elbe at Mělník.
1 Physical description,
5 External links,
It is 430 kilometres (270 mi) long and drains about 28,090 square kilometres (10,850 sq mi); at their confluence the Vltava actually has more water than the Elbe and is even much longer, but joins the Elbe at a right angle to its flow so that it appears a mere tributary. The river is crossed by 18 bridges (including the famous Charles Bridge, shown below) as it runs through Prague. It covers 31 kilometres (19 mi) within the city. The water from the river was used for drinking. For instance, until 1912 the Vinohrady Water Tower pumped the water directly from the river.
Several dams were built on it in the 1950s, the biggest being Lipno Dam in Šumava. In August 2002 a flood of the Vltava killed several people and caused massive damage and disruption along its length.
The height difference from source to mouth is about 1,016 metres (3,333 ft) and the largest stream at the source is named Černý Potok (Black Brook).
Both the Czech name Vltava and the German name Moldau are believed to originate from the old Germanic words *wilt ahwa ("wild water") (cf. Latin aqua). In Annales Fuldenses (872 AD) it is called Fuldaha; from 1113 AD it is attested as Wultha. In Chronica Boemorum (1125 AD) it is attested for the first time in its bohemised form as Wlitaua.
The best-known of the classical Czech composer Bedřich Smetana's set of six symphonic poems Má vlast ("My Motherland") is called Vltava (or The Moldau), and is a musical depiction of the river's course through Bohemia.
A minor planet 2123 Vltava discovered in 1973 by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Stepanovich Chernykh is named after the river.
Smetana's symphonic poem also inspired a song of the same name by Bertolt Brecht. An English version of it, by John Willett, features the lyrics Deep down in the Moldau the pebbles are shifting/ In Prague three dead emperors moulder away.