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The Oder, known as the Odra in Czech and Polish, is a river in Central Europe. It rises in the Czech Republicmarker and flows through western Polandmarker, later forming of the border between Poland and Germanymarker, part of the Oder-Neisse line. The river ultimately flows into the Szczecin Lagoonmarker north of Szczecinmarker and then into three branches (the Dziwnamarker, Świnamarker and Peene) that empty into the Baltic Seamarker.


The Oder is known by several names in different languages: (English and ; Czech, Slovak and ; ; Classical Latin: Viadrus, Viadua; Medieval Latin: Od(d)era).


The Oder is 854 km long: 112 in the Czech Republic, 742 in Poland (including 187 on the border between Germany and Poland) and is the second longest river in Poland (after the Vistula). It drains 118,861 km² of watershed, 106,056 of which are in Poland (89%), 7,217 in the Czech Republic (6%), and 5,587 in Germany (5%). Channels connect it to the Havelmarker, Spreemarker, Vistula system and Kłodnica. It flows through Silesianmarker, Opolemarker, Lower Silesianmarker, Lubuszmarker, and West Pomeranianmarker voivodeships of Poland and the states of Brandenburgmarker and Mecklenburg-Vorpommernmarker in Germany.

The main branch empties into the Szczecin Lagoonmarker near Policemarker. The Szczecin Lagoon is bordered on the north by islands of Usedommarker (west) and Wolinmarker (east). Between these two islands, there is only a narrow channel (Świnamarker) going to the Bay of Pomeraniamarker, which forms a part of the Baltic Sea.

The largest city on the Oder River is Wrocławmarker.


The Oder is navigable over a large part of its total length, as far upstream as to the town of Koźlemarker, where the river connects to the Gliwicki Canal. The upstream part of the river is canalized and permits larger barges (up to CEMT Class IV) to navigate between the industrial sites around the Wrocławmarker area.

Further downstream the river is free flowing, passing the towns of Eisenhüttenstadtmarker (where a canal connects the river to the Spreemarker in Berlinmarker) and Frankfurt marker. Downstream of Frankfurt the Warta River forms a navigable connection with Poznańmarker and Bydgoszczmarker for smaller vessels. At Hohensaatenmarker the Havel-Oder-Wasserstrasse connects with the Berlin waterways again.

Near its mouth the Oder reaches the city of Szczecinmarker, a major maritime port. The river finally reaches the Baltic Sea through the Szczecin Lagoonmarker and the river mouth at Świnoujściemarker. (Source: NoorderSoft Waterways Database)


The river in Germania Magna was known to the Romans as the Viadrus or Viadua in Classical Latin, as it was a branch of the Amber Road from the Baltic Sea to the Roman Empire (see via). In German it was and is called the Oder, written in older records as Odera or Oddera in Medieval Latin documents and was mentioned in the Dagome iudex, which described territory of Duke Mieszko I ca. 990 and Oda von Haldensleben.

The Oder was an important trade route and towns in Germania were documented along with many tribes living between the rivers Albismarker, Viadrus and Vistula. Centuries later the Bavarian Geographer (ca. 845) specifies the following peoples: Silesians, Dadoshanie, Opolaniansmarker, Lupiglaa, and Golenshitse in Silesia and Woliniansmarker and Pyrzycansmarker in Western Pomerania. A document of the Bishopric of Praguemarker (1086) mentions Zlasane, Trebovyane, Poborane, and Dedositze in Silesia.

In the 13th century, the first dams were built to protect agricultural lands.

The earliest important undertaking with a view of improving the waterway was due to the initiative of Frederick the Great, who recommended the diversion of the river into a new and straight channel in the swampy tract of land known as Oderbruchmarker near Küstrin. The work was carried out in the years 1746-1753, a large tract of marshland being brought under cultivation, a considerable detour cut off and the main stream successfully confined to a canal.

In the late 1800s three additional alterations were made to the waterway.
  • The canalization of the main stream at Breslaumarker, and from the confluence of the Glatzer Neisse to the mouth of the Klodnitz Canal, a distance of over . These engineering works were completed in 1896.
  • During 1887-1891 the Oder-Spree Canal was made to connect the two rivers named.
  • The deepening and regulation of the mouth and lower course of the stream.

By the Treaty of Versailles the navigation on the Oder became subject to International Commission of the Oder.The commission was staffed with one representative of Czechoslovakia, Denmarkmarker, Francemarker, Polandmarker, Swedenmarker, and the United Kingdom each and three representatives of Prussiamarker, being the German state competent for the navigable section of the Oder, comprised within the latter's borders. Cf. Der Große Brockhaus: Handbuch des Wissens in zwanzig Bänden: 21 Bde., completely revised ed., Leipzig: F. A. Brockhaus, 151928-1935, vol 13 (1932): Dreizehnter Band Mue–Ost, article: 'Oder', pp. 600seq., here p. 601. No ISBN. Following the articles 363 and 364 of the Treaty Czechoslovakiamarker was entitled to lease in Stettin (now Szczecin) its own section in the harbour, then called Tschechoslowakische Zone im Hafen Stettin. The contract of lease between Czechoslovakia and Germanymarker, and supervised by the United Kingdommarker, was signed on February 16, 1929 and would end in 2028, however, after 1945 Czechoslovakia did not regain this legal position, de facto abolished in 1938/1939.

After World War II, the Oder and the Lusatian Neissemarker formed the Oder-Neisse line, which was designated as the new border between Germany and Poland. The German populations east of these two rivers were expelled westwards.


Main section:
Ostravamarker - Bohumínmarker - Racibórzmarker - Kędzierzyn-Koźlemarker - Krapkowicemarker - Opolemarker - Brzegmarker - Oławamarker - Jelcz-Laskowicemarker - Wrocławmarker - Brzeg Dolnymarker - Ścinawamarker - Szlichtyngowamarker - Głogówmarker - Bytom Odrzańskimarker - Nowa Sólmarker - Krosno Odrzańskiemarker - Eisenhüttenstadtmarker - Frankfurt marker - Słubicemarker - Kostrzynmarker - Cedyniamarker - Schwedtmarker - Vierradenmarker - Gartzmarker - Gryfinomarker - Szczecinmarker - Policemarker

Dziwna branch (between Wolinmarker Island and mainland Poland):
Wolinmarker - Kamień Pomorskimarker - Dziwnówmarker

Świna branch (between Wolin and the Usedommarker islands):

Szczecin Lagoon:
Nowe Warpnomarker - Ueckermündemarker

Peene branch (between Usedom Island and the German mainland):
Usedommarker - Lassan - Wolgastmarker

Eastern tributaries

Ostravice - Olzamarker - Ruda - Bierawka - Kłodnica - Czarnka - Mała Panew - Stobrawa - Widawa - Jezierzyca - Barycz - Krzycki Rów - Obrzyca - Jabłonna - Pliszkamarker - Ołobok - Gryzynka - Warta with the Noteć - Myśla - Kurzyca - Stubia - Rurzycamarker - Tywa - Płonia - Ina - Gowienica

Western tributaries

Opavamarker - Psina (Cyna) - Cisek - Olszówka - Stradunia - Osobłoga - Prószkowski Potok - Nysa Kłodzka - Oława - Ślęza - Bystrzyca - Średzka Woda - Cicha Woda - Kaczawa - Ślepca - Zimnica - Dębniak - Biała Woda - Czarna Struga - Śląska Ochla - Zimny Potok - Bóbrmarker - Olcha - Racza - Lusatian Neissemarker - Gunica


See also

External links

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