izvorul duanrii

Information about the Danube

The Origin of the Danube

2,888 kilometres in length the Danube is the largest river in Europe along with the Volga and it is the largest river in the western world. The main source, the Breg, rises near the Martinskapelle 1,078 metres above sea level, and 100 metres away from the watershed Rhein/ Danube. In early German history the Danube was seen as the largest European river being called 'Danubius' in the upper reaches and 'Ister' in the lower reaches.
The question of where to find the origin of the Danube has kept scholars busy for centuries. Today this question has definitely been settled; the Danube begins in the district of Donaueschingen where the Brigach and the Breg merge, however the spring is at the Martinskapelle in Furtwangen because the longest source of the Danube is the Breg.
In 1847 the Grand Duchy of Baden's Encyclopaedia already stated that:'The Danube, Germany's biggest river rises near the Martinskapelle in a wild and lonely area of the Black Forest. To begin with it is called Brege ... and it is not until the Brege meets the Brigach in Donaueschingen that it becomes the Danube.'
The spring furthest away from the mouth of a river is recognized as being the source, as in the case of the Amazon and Nile rivers. As far as the Danube is concerned the little rhyme that many children learnt at school is still correct and translates as : Brigach and Breg form the Danube. 'Brigach und Breg bringen die Donau zuweg.'

The Danube at a glance

Breg. 48 km. in length, catchment area 291.2 sq. km.
Brigach: 42.675 km. in length, catchment area 195 sq. km.

Martinskapelle, Furtwangen

Start of the Danube:
Where the Breg and Brigach flow together within the district of Donaueschingen.

Length of the Danube:
From the spring in Furtwangen to joining the Black Sea is a distance of 2,850 km.

Researching the source

In the twentieth century there were two people who were especially instrumental in recognising the source of the Danube to be in Furtwangen; the teacher, Dr. Franz Burgert and the geologist Irma Öhrlein and latterly taken over by her husband Prof. Dr. Ludwig Öhrlein. With scientific meticulousness Prof. Dr. Ludwig Öhrlein has applied himself to the research on the origin of the Danube for decades and has thus completed his wife's life work. It was Irma Öhrlein who discovered the genuine source of the Breg in the area of the Martinskapelle on 17th July 1954 after there had been doubts on this matter for a long period of time and after the source was previously presumed to be in the area called "Briglirain". Colour tests were carried out, measurements were taken based on over 600 readings all confirming that the source of the Breg and therefore also the origin of the Danube i.e. the actual source of the Danube is to be found near the Martinskapelle. But it shouldn't go unmentioned that as long ago as 1949 the former teacher of the 'Furtwanger Bürgerschule' Franz Burgert also discovered the genuine source of the Breg and made a report (although he didn't scientifically prove his discovery).

Famous visitors and the arguments about the source

Roman historians, scientists and famous people have been to see the origin of the Danube. The most famous guest was the world-renowned marine scientist Jacques Ives Cousteau ( see picture) who together with his film crew visited the origin of the Danube for a week in 1987 in order to make a documentary on the greatest river in the western world. The source of the Danube and also the quarrel with the town of Donaueschingen about the real spring of the Danube, has kept newspapers and magazines around the world occupied and has also been documented in literary works. Claudio Magris for example wrote a book called "Danube - the biography of a river". The argument with the neighbouring town of Donaueschingen about the source of the Danube also became a political issue. The minister in charge of agriculture and forestry representing the government of Baden Württemberg wrote a letter to Prof. Dr. Ludwig Öhrlein in 1982 stating : 'Referring to the question of the origin of the Danube I can again confirm that the so called source of the Danube in Donaueschingen is certainly not the actual source from a hydrological and geographical point of view.... The Breg is in fact the main source of the Danube.'

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