- Running generally on an east–southeast course, the Danube is the second-longest river in Europe. It traverses 2,850 kilometers (1,767 miles), around 2,300 of which are navigable. Some 340 kilometers of the river flow through Austria, which has been a member of the international consortium of Eastern European countries that regulates the river’s uses since 1960. Within Austria itself, the Danube has several significant tributaries, such as the Enns. Historically, the Danube has been a mixed blessing for Austria. The Romans well understood the strategic importance of the river and fortified it carefully. The imperial naval headquarters were on the outskirts of what would become Vienna. The Ottoman Empire, whose armies seriously threatened the entire Habsburg monarchy from the 15th century until the final siege of Vienna in 1683, used the Danube Valley as an avenue of access. The Ottoman occupation of Buda and Pest, which was not challenged in the 16th century after 1542, gave them a major riparian redoubt. Falling back to the west on the Danube, the Habsburgs used Bratislava (Germ: Pressburg; Hung.: Pozsony) as a Hungarian capital until the 18th century. From the standpoint of geopolitics, the Danube confers a kind of unity on central and southeastern Europe; the Habsburg Empire is often referred to as the Danube empire. To ease the economic strains on the region after World War I, several unrealized proposals were put forward to create a trade zone among its constituent states. The prospect, minus the imperial form of organization, has been raised again since the dissolution of the Soviet bloc in 1989. Austria has been particularly interested in close economic cooperation with Slovakia.First and foremost, however, the river has been a significant artery of trade with Germany and Hungary. It was particularly important for the economy of Upper Austria and its capital of Linz, which became, and still is, an important Danubian port. As early as the 17th century, the city was a hub for the transshipment of imported and domestically produced textiles and Hungarian minerals and wines. During the same period, the river also served as one avenue for the export of iron, lead, and mercury from Styria and Carinthia, though these areas also made use of Italian harbors for such products. Although Vienna also was a port and trading center for river traffic, it gradually lost this function, becoming instead the administrative center of the Habsburg Empire by the beginning of the 18th century. The city lies in a stretch of the river prone to flooding. During the 1890s, a series of locks and canals were constructed to remedy this problem, which reduced the physical presence of the Danube in the city. In the late 20th century, the river and the complex biology of the life that surrounds it became a matter of intense interest to Austrian environmentalists, especially the Green Party. The issue has worked its way into Austria’s foreign policy, because significant pollution of the river is the result of industrial and agricultural policies of the former Communist bloc.
Historical dictionary of Austria. Paula Sutter Fichtner. 2014.
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Danube River — German Donau Slovak Dunaj Serbo Croatian and Bulgarian Dunav Romanian Dunarea Russian Dunay River, central Europe. The second longest European river (after the Volga), it rises in Germany s Black Forest and flows about 1,770 mi (2,850 km) to the… … Universalium
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