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Nevėžis River ( ) is the sixth longest river in Lithuaniamarker and one of the main tributaries of the Neman Rivermarker. Its length is 209 km (130 miles), and it flows only within the geographical confines of Lithuania. It is the second longest river in Lithuania, after the Šventoji Rivermarker, that flows exclusively within its borders. Its source is in the Anykščiai district municipalitymarker, and the river first flows in a northwesterly direction, but then at Panevėžysmarker turns towards the southwest, and passing Kėdainiaimarker, flows into the Neman River just west of Kaunasmarker near Raudondvarismarker.


There is a popular misconception that the name Nevėžis means "a river without crayfishes" because vėžys is the Lithuanian word for crayfish and ne means "no". In fact, the Nevėžis is known for its variety of fauna which include crayfish. The name etymologically comes from a Sanskrit word vaagh meaning "sough." A negation ne- was added because the river is very slow and without turbulence. The name is logical because the Nevėžis has the lowest elevation among rivers in Lithuania, and it makes many loop.

The river gave name to many things including Panevėžys, the fifth largest city in Lithuania. Its name means "[Town] near Nevėžis." FK Nevėžis and KK Nevėžis are also named after the river. Nevėžis is important in Lithuanian culture because it flows through the middle of Lithuania. During the middle ages, the river was considered to be a natural border between two regions of Lithuania: Samogitia and Aukštaitija.

Natural environment

Nevėžis has about seventy tributaries. The largest are:
  • left: Alantas, Juoda, Upytė, Linkava, Obelis, Barupė, Gynia;
  • right: Juosta, Kiršinas, Liaudė, Kruostas, Dotnuvėlė, Smilga, Šušvė (14th longest river in Lithuania), Aluona, Strūna.

In 1992, the Krekenava Regional Park was established in order to preserve the Middle Nevėžis ecosystem and natural surroundings. The park is unique because it breeds and tries to protect from extinction wisents, the European bison.

Even with two canals supplying Nevėžis with water, it becomes very shallow during a drier summer. Regularly it is between 4 and 9 meters deep. In more recent years, a number of grass carp was introduced to the river for aquatic weed control. The Nevėžis, due to its low level of water, slow current, and influx of the run-off off of fertilizers from agriculture, was becoming more and more overgrown with weeds. It was hoped that the introduction of grass carp would help to control the process. Critics argued that the fish would not survive in the relatively cold climate. However, local fishermen still catch carp introduced several years ago.


The Nevėžis is connected with two other large rivers by canals. In order to reduce floods in the Lėvuomarker River, the Sanžilė Canal was dug in 1930. A draft to connect these rivers was first written in 1797. The location was very convenient: about 9,000 years ago Nevėžis was a tributary to Lėvuo. The land between the rivers was low and there was a small Sanžilė rivulet which could serve as the basis for the new canal. In the 19th century the Neman delta belonged to the Germans. This was an obstacle in trading. The Russian Empiremarker was looking for ways to direct ships from the Neman River directly to the port of Rigamarker. The plan was abandoned because of insufficient funds. The idea was revisited again in 1914, the preparations for construction started but were interrupted by World War I. After reclaiming the origin of the Lėvuo, heavy rains would cause the flood of as many as twenty villages. It was decided to dig an 8 km length canal. In 1961-63 another canal connecting the Nevėžis with the Šventoji Rivermarker was finished. It is 12 km in length. There is a pumping station near Kavarskasmarker to supply the canal with water.


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