Don River (Russia)

Don River (Russia)
Don River, Russia

Don River watershed
Origin Russia
Mouth Sea of Azov
Basin countries Russia, Ukraine
Length 1,950 km (1,212 mi)
Avg. discharge 935 cubic metres per second (33,000 cu ft/s)
Basin area 425,600 km² (164,324 mi²)

The Don River (Russian: Дон, IPA: [ˈdon]) is one of the major rivers of Russia. It rises in the town of Novomoskovsk 60 kilometres southeast from Tula, southeast of Moscow, and flows for a distance of about 1,950 kilometres (1,220 mi) to the Sea of Azov.

From its source, the river first flows southeast to Voronezh, then southwest to its mouth. The main city on the river is Rostov on Don, its main tributary, the Donets.



Paleolithic archaeological layers at Kostenki reveal human histories around 40,000 years ago. The lithic industry at that time developed the technology to drill stone.[citation needed]

In antiquity, the river was viewed as the border between Europe and Asia by some ancient Greek geographers.[1] In the Book of Jubilees, it is mentioned as being part of the border, beginning with its easternmost point up to its mouth, between the allotment of Japheth to the north and that of Shem to the south, sons of Noah. During the times of the old Scythians, it was known in Greek as the Tanaïs, and has been a major trading route ever since.

Tanais appears in ancient Greek sources as both the name of the river and of a city on it, situated in the Maeotian marshes. The name derives from Scythian (East Iranian) Dānu "river",[citation needed] akin to Ossetic don "river", and Pashto dand (ډنډ) or dun (depending on dialect) "pond, lake".

The Khazar fortress of Sarkel used to dominate this point in the Middle Ages. This part of the river saw heavy fighting during Operation Uranus, one of the turning points of the Second World War.[citation needed]

The Don Cossacks, who settled the fertile valley of the river in the 16th and 17th centuries, were named for the river. In modern literature, the Don is often featured in the works of Mikhail Aleksandrovich Sholokhov, a writer from the stanitsa of Veshenskaya.

Dams and canals

Don River near village Kalininsky in Rostov Oblast (photo 2002).

At its easternmost point, the Don comes near the Volga, and the Volga-Don Canal (length ca. 105 kilometres (65 mi)), connecting both rivers, is a major waterway. The water level of the Don in this area is raised by the Tsimlyansk Dam, forming the Tsimlyansk Reservoir.

For the next 130 km below the Tsimlyansk Dam, the sufficient water depth in the Don River is maintained by the sequence of three dam-and-ship-lock complexes: the Nikolayevsky Ship Lock (Николаевский гидроузел), Konstantinovsk Ship Lock (Константиновский гидроузел), and the best known of the three, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock (Кочетовский гидроузел). The Kochetovsky Lock, built in 1914-1919 and doubled in 2004-2008, is located 7.5 km below the fall of the Seversky Donets into the Don, and 131 km upstream of Rostov-na-Donu, the Kochetovsky Ship Lock (Кочетовский гидроузел) (47°34′07″N 40°51′10″E / 47.56861°N 40.85278°E / 47.56861; 40.85278) is located. This facility, with its dam, maintains sufficient water level both in its section of the Don and in the lowermost stretch of the Seversky Donets. This is the last lock on the Don; below Kochetovsky lock, the sufficient depth of the navigation waterway is maintained by dredging.[2]


Main Tributaries from source to mouth:


  1. ^ Norman Davies (1997). Europe: A History. pp. 8. ISBN 0-7126-6633-8. 
  2. ^ Навигационно-гидрографический очерк (Navigational and hydrographic overview), from the Main Shipping and Waterway Administration of the Azov and Don Basin (АД ГБУВПиС) (Russian)

External links

Coordinates: 47°3′39″N 39°17′15″E / 47.06083°N 39.2875°E / 47.06083; 39.2875

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