What is the longest river in Europe?
The longest river in Europe has had considerable influence on the development of many cities in Russia, where industrial, commercial and tourism activities are fostered. River cruises along the waterway are a major tourism attraction in Russia.
The Volga is the longest river in Europe; its source is in the Valdai Hills, in a town known as Volgo-Verjovie, between the cities of Moscow and Saint Petersburg, at about 228 metres above sea level. With approximately 200 tributaries, the main ones are the Kama, Samara, Oka, Vetluga and Sura rivers.
The Volga river can be divided into three sections:
- Upper Volga, from the headwaters to the Oka river.
- Middle Volga, from the Oka river until the confluence with the Kama river.
- Lower Volga, from the Kama river until the Caspian Sea.
The Volga river is 3,690 kilometres long, making it the longest river in the European continent. Its basin has a surface area of 1,360,000 square kilometres, and is the 18th largest one in the world.
The Volga delta is the largest river delta in Europe, with a surface area of 18,985 square kilometres. It forms when the largest river system in Europe, the Volga, flows into the Caspian Sea downstream from the city of Astrakhan.
Currently, the Volga river is polluted, with negative ecological consequences; the main fisheries in the Volga are degraded as a result. The pollution in the river comes mainly from industrial and agricultural waste.
There are 13 biosphere reserves located within the Volga river basin, which help raise awareness about the pollution and the deterioration of the Volga river.