Did you know – Duna Facts

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…about the great many names of the river?

The Danube was known in Latin as Danubius, Danuvius, Ister, and in Ancient Greek as Istros, the latter of which is incidentally the Thracian name for the lower part of the Danube. Its Thraco-Phrygian name was Matoas, which today would translate to ‘the bringer of luck’. The more familiar name Danuvius is presumably a loan from Celtic, and is one of the number of great many river names derived from a Proto-Indo-European language word ‘dānu’, a term for, as you’ve probably guessed, ‘river’. The Latin-derived Danube has been used ever since the Norman conquest ofEngland.

…about the difficulties in navigating the ‘Danubes’?

You can’t really take a single ship down the whole river. There are three sections to consider. The Upper Section goes from the spring to the Devín Gate, the Middle Section from there to theIron Gate, and the Lower Section from there to Sulina. This means the Danube is navigable by ocean ships from the Black Sea toRomania, by river ships toGermany; and even smaller craft from there.

…about the modern pirates of the Danube?

Recently, shipping companies claim that their vessels suffer from regular pirate attacks nearSerbiaandRomania. A Ukrainian barge was recently robbed after being boarded by a group of knife-wielding men. The company said the attackers stole money, fuel, alcohol, cigarettes and also threatened to throw the skipper overboard. No crew members were forced to walk the plank.

 

…about all the different places the river rears its head?

Hungarian sweet specialty, Duna kavics (‘Danube Pebbles’) is named after the river for instance, but in Bram Stoker’s Dracula, Jonathan Harker also notes crossing the Danube. Algernon Blackwood’s The Willows, about a boat excursion on the river, is considered one of the greatest supernatural stories, and there is a Danube-class runabout type of starship in Star Trek.


…about the historical importance of the river?

TheDanubehas been used for navigation since pre-Roman days. Gypsies have long called it the ‘dustless highway’. The Greek historian Herodotus mentioned it in the 5th century B.C. The Roman emperor Tiberius followed it to its source during the time of Christ. The river flourished as civilization’s artery till the 12th century, when the Turks interrupted traffic for 500 years.

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