Definitions

Dnieper

Dnieper

[nee-per; Russ. dnyepr]
Dnieper, Rus. Dnepr, Ukr. Dnipro, river, c.1,430 mi (2,300 km) long, in Russia, Belarus, and Ukraine. One of the longest rivers in Europe, it rises in the Valdai Hills, W of Moscow. It flows generally S past Smolensk, through Belarus, past Mogilev, then through Ukraine, past Kiev, Cherkasy, Kremenchuk, Dnipropetrovsk, Zaporizhzhya (site of the Dniprohes dam), Nikopol, and Kherson into the Black Sea. Between Kremenchuk and Nikopol the Dnieper makes a vast bend to the east. It is the main river of Ukraine. Since the construction (1932) of the Dniprohes dam the Dnieper is navigable for virtually its entire course. Its tributaries include the Berezina, the Pripyat, and the Inhulets from the west and the Sozh, the Desna, the Orel, and the Samara from the east. The Dnieper is linked by canal with the Western Bug. Known as Borysthenes to the ancients, the river was (9th-11th cent.) a commercial route for the Vikings, Slavs, and Byzantines.
Dnieper-Bug Canal or Dnepr-Bug Canal, or Dneprovsko-Bugsky Canal is a ship canal that connects Dnieper river and Western Bug river. It provides navigational access between the Baltic Sea and Black Sea water systems. The length of the Canal is 196 kilometers from the Bug to Dnipro Rivers.

It was built in 1775 during the reign of Stanisław August Poniatowski (1764 - 1795), the last king of the Polish-Lithuanian Commonwealth. When the canal was first built, it was called Kanał Królewski (Royal Canal), after the Polish king, since he was the initiator of the concept. Additional work was carried out starting in 1837 and completed around 1846-1848.

Navigation on the Dnieper-Bug Canal has been interrupted by a weir (dam) on the river Bug near Brest, Belarus, the border town. This dam is the single most significant obstacle for navigation of small draught vessels between Western Europe and Ukraine through inland waterways. The waterways from the German-Polish border (Warta, Noteć, Kanał Bydgoski, Wisła, Narew, Bug) used to join the Belarus and Ukrainian inland waterways (Mukhavets River, Dnepro-Bugskiy Canal, Pripyat and Dnipro), thus forming an uninterrupted liaison between North-Western Europe and the Black Sea.

Recently the dam in the Bug and the impossibility for ships to pass has led to a considerable neglect of the most western part of the Mukhovets; some of the locks have been filled in and Brest Harbour can only be reached by vessels approaching from the East. (Source: NoorderSoft waterways database).

More recently efforts have been undertaken to restore the Canal to a class IV inland waterway of international importance. In 2003 the Government of the Republic of Belarus adopted the inland water transport and sea transport development programme to rebuild of Dnieper-Bug canal shipping locks to meet the standards of a class Va European waterway. According to the Belarusian government (see report below), four sluice dams and one shipping lock have been rebuilt which allowing the passage of vessels 110 meters long, 12 meters wide with a draught of 2.2 meters. It is expected that reconstruction will continue over the next few years.

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