The Danube is a historic river of Europe, the second longest of the continent and probably the most important one. It is a river that resonates both throughout the culture and the economy of the area that it effects, ranging from Germany to Ukraine and Romania where the delta is situated.
Respectively this has led to the forging of the identity of the countries through which it flows and has been a staple of growth in the region since the earliest examples of human presence along the banks.
Danube Region History
Danube and the regions that this historic river influences is arguably one of the most iconic landmarks of Europe, one that has shaped the culture and development of the eastern and central region of the continent. Being of utter importance for the development of human civilization of the area, it was there that the Vinča culture appeared around 5700 BC. This culture was a highly intricate society of the neolithic era that provided the first traces of copper metallurgy in the world. Since then it has been a region that helped the development of many ancient cultures in the Balkans throughout prehistory and antiquity.
During the Roman era it formed the borders of the empire and served as a means of transportation and trade in the Roman age. In the Medieval Period it remained an important trading route and food source for Europe, once again becoming a leading factor in the economy of the Balkans and central Europe.
The importance of the river was underlined once again in the 16th and 17th century, when many of the important battles between the Ottomans and the Austrian/Hungarians where situated along the banks. Once again, control of the river gave the upper hand and ensured control of the entire area through which it flowed. Thus it is very easy to understand why many significant cities are situated directly on the river, like Vienna, Belgrade, Budapest and Bratislava for example.
Danube Region Development & Economics
Danube has been a defining factor for the development of the areas that it influenced throughout the ages as noticed and even today it is of extreme importance for millions of people. The water that the river provides is of extreme importance to both agriculture and drinking, as it is the main source of fertility along its route. Tourism is another important offering, as it provides dozens of significant ferry routes that connect all the countries that are on its path, as well as gorges, valleys and biotopes that promote the local ecological diversity and stability. Danube is also exploited in terms of energy production, as many countries operate hydroelectric plants in order to provide electric energy for industry and household needs. All these factors construct an intricate dependence of the region on the river, in terms of economy as well as culture.
The significance of this river is something undeniable, as it has transcended the absolute historic and economic values of human civilization and forged the very identity of the people of the area. It is a landmark resonating in the arts of the area, as countless of music pieces have been written about this majestic river. Compositions ranging from the famous waltz of Johann Strauss to the folk songs of the area have been inspired by Danube, the river that dominated the history of the area.
All the elements mentioned above coexist and create a river that connects countries and cultures, a river that provides life on levels and above all shapes the present and future of the entire eastern Europe area.