Infobox_River | river_name = Vardar (Вардар), Axios (Αξιός)

caption = Vardar in Veles
origin = Vrutok, near Gostivar
mouth = Aegean Sea, near Thessaloniki
basin_countries = Republic of Macedonia, Greece
length = 388 km
elevation =
discharge =
watershed =

The Vardar or Axios ( _mk. audio|Mk-Vardar.ogg|Вардар; _gr. Αξιός, Axiós or Βαρδάρης, "Vardárīs"; Latin: "Axius") is the longest and major river in the Republic of Macedonia and also a major river of Greece. It is 388 kilometres long, and drains an area of around 25 000 km².

The river rises at Vrutok, a few kilometers north of Gostivar in the Republic of Macedonia. It passes through Gostivar, Skopje and into Veles, crosses the Greek border near Gevgelija, Rugunovec and Axioupoli ("town on the Axiós"), before emptying into the Aegean Sea in Central Macedonia west of Thessaloniki in northern Greece.

The Vardar basin includes two-thirds of the territory of the Republic of Macedonia, which some have also called "Vardar Macedonia" after the river.

The valley comprises fertile lands in Polog, and Thessaloniki prefectures and Gevgelija and other parts. The river is surrounded by mountains elsewhere. The superhighways Greece Interstate 1 in Greece and M1 and E75 run within the valley along the river's entire length to near Skopje.

Vardaris/Vardarec wind

The "Vardaris" or "Vardarec" is a powerful prevailing northerly ravine wind which blows across the river valley in Greek Macedonia as well as in the Republic of Macedonia. At first it descends along the "canal" of the Vardar valley, usually as a breeze. When it encounters the high mountains that separate Greece from the Republic of Macedonia, it descends the other side, gathering a tremendous momentum and bringing cold conditions to the city of Thessaloniki and the Axios delta. Somewhat similar to the mistral wind of France, it occurs when atmospheric pressure over eastern Europe is higher than over the Aegean Sea, as is often the case in winter.


*The most accepted theory on the origin of the name derives "Bardários" from the Thracian language, from PIE *"(s)wordo-wori-", "black water" [Orel, Vladimir. "A Handbook of Germanic Etymology". Leiden, Netherlands: Brill, 2003: 392.] (cf. German "schwarz" "black", Latin "suāsum" "dirt", Ossetian "xuaræn" "color", Persian "sioh" "black", Old Irish "sorb" "stain, dirt" [Mallory, J.P. and D.Q. Adams. "Encyclopedia of Indo-European Culture". London: Fitzroy and Dearborn, 1997: 147] ). This can be considered a translation or similar meaning of "Axios", itself Thracian for "not-shining" from PIE *"n.-sk(e)i" (cf. Avestan "axšaēna" "dark-colored") [ibid, p. 146] , and found in another name at the mouth of the Danube, "Axíopa" "dark water", renamed in Slavic "Crna voda" "black water" [Katičic', Radoslav. "Ancient Languages of the Balkans". Paris: Mouton, 1976: 149] . The name "Bardários" (Βαρδάριος) was sometimes used by the Ancient Greeks in the 3rd Century BCE; the same name was widely used during Byzantine era.

* Its Greek name "Αξιός" ("Axios") is mentioned by Homer (Il. 21.141, Il. 2.849 [ [ Axios, Georg Autenrieth, "A Homeric Dictionary", at Perseus] ] ) as the home of the Paeonians, allies of Troy and it derives from the word "άξος" ("axos") meaning "timber", "forest-trees", because the river flow was used to transport timber [ [ Axos, Henry George Liddell, Robert Scott, "A Greek-English Lexicon", at Perseus] ] .


External links

* [ See, page 33, for Vardar etymology]
* [ Morava - Vardar (Axios) Navigation Route] , [ PIM "Ivan Milutinović", Belgrade, Serbia]

ee also

*Great Morava
*Pčinja River

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