- Character of the channel and valley
- Mouth of the Don River
- Hydrographic division of the river
- Fauna in the river basin
The Don River (Russia) is one of the greatest in the European part of the country. Its catchment area is 422 thousand square meters. km. According to this indicator in Europe, the Don is second only to the Danube, the Dnieper and the Volga. The length of the river is approximately 1870 km.
The Don River was called Tanais in the past. The ancient Greeks came up with a legend according to which a young man with that name drowned himself in this reservoir because of unhappy love. Researchers associate the origin of the name "Don" with the Scythian-Sarmatian word "danu", meaning "river, water".
Ancient Greek authors often called Tanais either the Don River or the Seversky Donets. The latter was then closer to the civilized world, therefore, for example, Ptolemy considered the Don (Girgis) a tributary of the Seves Donets (Tanais). A Greek colony of the same name was established at the mouth of the Tanais River.
Interesting information left Ritter in the book "Vorhalle". It turns out that the Sea of Azov did not exist in ancient times, and the Don River flowed into the Black Sea in the area of the Kerch Strait. According to the researcher Peitinger, at the source of the Don there is an inscription stating that this is the “Tanais River separating Europe from Asia.”
Normans in their sagasnamed Don Vanquislem. Count Potocki collected many legends and myths about this river. Dmitry Ivanovich Donskoy in 1380 defeated the Tatar-Mongolian army on the Kulikovo field, in the place where the Nepryadva river flows into the Don, for which he received his sonorous nickname.
It is known that from time immemorial the city of Tana was located at the mouth of the Don. It was built by colonists from Greece and was subordinate to the Bosporan kingdom. This flourishing trading city belonged either to the Genoese or to the Venetians. Only in 1475 Tana was conquered by the Turks and renamed Azov (Azof). After that, all trade and embassy affairs of the Russian state with Tsargrad and the Crimea were carried out mainly along the Don River.
Don is the cradle of the Russian fleet: the military, which arose through the efforts of Peter the Great in 1696, and the merchant fleet, which appeared under Catherine the Second in 1772.
The Don River in the Tula region originates. Its source is a small brook Urvanka, flowing in the park of the city of Novomoskovsk. At the beginning of the river, a symbolic monument called the "Source of the Don" was erected. The reservoir in this architectural complex is of artificial origin, it is powered by a local water supply.
Earlier, Lake Ivan was considered the source of the river, but it is usually not connected with the Don. The beginning of the river is sometimes called the Shatskoye reservoir, which is located north of Novomoskovsk in the Tula region, but it is fenced off from the Don by a railway dam.
Character of the channel and valley
Don has the character of a valley and channel, typical for lowland rivers. The river changes direction four times, skirting several geological obstacles. Its channel has a longitudinal profile and a slight slope decreasing towards the mouth, the value of which is 0.1 degrees. The general direction of the Don flow is from north to south. Almost along its entire length, the river is surrounded by a developed valley, has a wide floodplain and a great many branches. In the lower reaches, the Don reaches a width of 12-15 km. In the vicinity of the town of Kalach-on-Don, the river valley is compressed by spurs of the Volga and Central Russian Uplands. There is no floodplain in this small area near the river.
The river valley has an asymmetric structure. The right bank of the Don is quite high, in some places it reaches 230 meters, the left bank is low and gentle. The course of the river is calm and slow. No wonder the river was nicknamed "Quiet Don". Local Cossacks respectfully call the river "Don-father". Hydrograph researchers consider the river one of the oldest in the European part of Russia.
Mouth of the Don River
Don flows into the Sea of Azov - Taganrog Bay. Starting from the city of Rostov-on-Don, the river creates a delta, the area of which is 540 square meters. km. At this point, the riverbed splits into many channels and branches. The largest of them are Egurcha, Perevoloka, Bolshaya Kuterma, Bolshaya Kalancha, Stary Don, Dead Donets.
With a large catchment area, the Don is characterized by relatively low water content. This is due to the fact that the river basin is completely located within the steppe andforest-steppe zones. The water content of the Don is much lower than that of the rivers of the Northern region (Pechora, Northern Dvina), approximately 900 m3/s.
The water regime of the Don is also typical of rivers flowing in the steppe and forest-steppe climatic zones. The river is fed mainly by snow (up to 70%), as well as soil and rain. In the spring, the Don is characterized by a high flood, while in the rest of the year its level is quite low. From the end of the spring rise until the next flood, the discharge and water level are falling.
The magnitude of fluctuations in the water level in the Don along the entire length is significant and amounts to 8-13 meters. The river floods heavily in the floodplain, especially in the lower reaches. Usually the Don has two flood waves. The first appears during the flow of melted, snowy waters from the lower part of the river (Cossack, or cold water), the second arises due to the inflow from the upper Don (warm water). If the snowmelt is delayed, both waves merge, and then the flood is stronger, but less long.
The Don River is covered with ice at the end of autumn or the very beginning of winter. At the end of March, the river breaks up in the lower part, then the ice breaks along the entire length and in the upper reaches.
Hydrographic division of the river
Describing the Don River is not an easy task, because it is the third largest river in the European region of Russia. Hydrographically, the Don is usually divided into three sections: Upper, Middle and Lower.
From the source to the confluence of the Tikhaya Sosna River in the Voronezh Region, the Upper Don flows.Here it has a narrow valley and a winding, with rifts, channel.
The middle section of the Don - from the mouth of Quiet Sosna to Kalach-on-Don. At this point, the river valley widens greatly. The Middle Don ends with a reservoir built near the village of Tsimlyanskaya.
The Lower Don flows from the city of Kalach-on-Don to the mouth. Behind the Tsimlyansk reservoir, the river has a wide (from 12 to 15 km) valley and a spacious floodplain. The depth of the Don in some places reaches fifteen meters.
The largest tributaries of the river are Voronezh, Ilovlya, Medveditsa, Khoper, Bityug, Manych, Sal, Seversky Donets.
At a distance of 1590 kilometers from the mouth to the city of Voronezh, the Don River is navigable. The largest ports are located in the cities of Azov, Rostov-on-Don, Volgodonsk, Kalach-on-Don, Liski.
In the vicinity of the city of Kalach, the Don approaches the Volga - it is located about 80 kilometers from it. The two great Russian rivers are connected by the Volga-Don shipping canal, the construction of which became possible after the creation of the Tsimlyansk reservoir.
A dam with a length of 12.8 km along the crest has been erected in the area of the village of Tsimlyanskaya. The hydraulic structure raises the level of the river by 27 meters and forms the Tsimlyansk reservoir, which stretches from the village of Golubinskaya to the city of Volgodonsk. The capacity of this reservoir is 21.5 km3, the area is 2600 km2. There is a hydroelectric power plant at the dam. Water from the Tsimlyansk reservoir irrigates the Salsk steppes and other steppe spaces of the Volgograd and Rostov regions.areas.
Below the Tsimlyanskaya hydroelectric power station, at a distance of about 130 kilometers, the depth of the Don River is maintained with the help of waterworks with locks and dams: Kochetkovsky, Konstantinovsky and Nikolaevsky. The oldest and most famous of them is Kochetkovsky. It is located 7.5 kilometers below the place where the Don River receives a tributary of the Northern Donets. The hydroelectric complex was built in 1914-1919 and reconstructed in 2004-2008.
The depth required for navigation in the Don below the Kochetkovsky hydroelectric complex is maintained by systematic excavation from the bottom of the river (dredging).
Fauna in the river basin
The Don River is rich in fish. Among small species there are asp, rudd, roach, perch. In addition, large and medium-sized fish species are found in the river: pike, catfish, pike perch, bream. However, due to the pollution of the river and a strong recreational load, the fish stocks of the Don are constantly decreasing.
On the banks of the river, in swamps, there are water frogs, toads, crested and common newts. The inhabitants of the places where the Don River is located are the water and ordinary snakes, the marsh turtle and the green toad. The latter live not only along the river, but also in the meadows growing in its basin.
Intensive plowing of fields around the Don has led to the fact that in this area such animal species as marmots, saigas, steppe antelopes, wild horses have disappeared. Back in the 60-70s of the last century, one could meet bobaks, roe deer, wild boars and desmans near the tributaries of the river. Now rodents live in the Don basin: mouse, ground squirrel,large jerboa, river beaver. There are also small predators: forest and steppe ferrets, weasels, minks and river otters. Bats live in the river basin.
Over the past 100-150 years, the number of birds nesting near the river has been greatly reduced. Swans, geese, eagles, golden eagles, peregrine falcons, honey buzzards, ospreys, white-tailed eagles have disappeared. Rest on the Don River is traditionally associated with duck hunting. Among the still preserved birds are waders and ducks, crows, thrush warblers. Less common are storks, herons and demoiselle cranes. During the bird migration season you can see goose, greylag goose and others.
It is known that Peter the Great used the forest from the banks of the Don to build ships used in Russian-Turkish battles. By the twentieth century, most of the meadows in the river basin had been plowed up. A variety of trees have been preserved in the vicinity of floodplain swamps: brittle buckthorn, sticky alder, downy birch, and willow. Marsh cinquefoil, loosestrife, sedge, marsh horsetail, reeds grow along the river.