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ancient name: Euphratēs
Course of the Euphrates

Course of the Euphrates

location Turkey , Syria , Iraq
River system Euphrates
Drain over Shatt al-Arab  → Persian Gulf
Confluence of Murat and Karasu
38 ° 52 ′ 29 ″  N , 38 ° 47 ′ 38 ″  E
Association with Tigris to Shatt al-Arab near Al-Qurna Coordinates: 30 ° 25 ′ 29 ″  N , 48 ° 10 ′ 8 ″  E 30 ° 25 ′ 29 ″  N , 48 ° 10 ′ 8 ″  E

length 2736 km
Catchment area 673,000 km²
Drain MQ
356 m³ / s
Left tributaries Belich , Chabur
Right tributaries Tohma Çayı , Göksu , Karasu , Nizip Çayı , Sādschūr
Reservoirs flowed through Keban Dam ,
Karakaya Dam ,
Ataturk Dam ,
Birecik Dam ,
Tabqa Dam ,
Haditha Dam
The Euphrates at Ar-Raqqa, Syria

The Euphrates at Ar-Raqqa , Syria

The Euphrates at Rumkale near Zeugma

The Euphrates at Rumkale near Zeugma

Dugout canoe on the Shatt al-Arab

Dugout canoe on the Shatt al-Arab

The Euphrates ([ ˈɔʏ̯frat ], ancient Greek Εὐφράτης Euphrátēs , Arabic الفرات, DMG al-Furāt , Kurdish Firat , Turkish Fırat ) is the largest river in the Middle East .

The name Euphrates

The word Euphrates is the Greek version of the old Persian word Ufrat . In Old-Assyrian is the river Pu-rat-tu , in Hebrew and Aramaic Prath or froth on Armenian Եփրատ Yeṗrat on Kurdish Firat or Ferat and on Arabic Al-Furat الفرات. The Sumerian name of the river is read Buranun . In cuneiform script it is usually written with three characters as UD.KIB.NUN, whereby only the latter character has a phonetic value.

The old Persian version Ufrat , from which most of the other names were derived, is derived from the compound term Huperethuua , which means "easy to cross". The word Hu means “good” and Peretu meansford ”.

In the standard translation of the Bible , the river is called Eufrat . When describing the Garden of Eden , the name Perat is found .

The asteroid (13963) Euphrates is named after the name of the river in English.


The Euphrates has a length of 2736 km. With its longest source river, the Murat , it has a length of 3380 km. The other source river is the Karasu ("black water"). The two source rivers arise in Turkey in the Inner Taurus Mountains and flow pretty parallel in a westerly direction. They unite at the Keban Dam (675 km²; 31 km³) to the Euphrates. Then the river flows through the Karakaya dam (268 km²; 9.58 km³), the Ataturk reservoir (817 km²; 48.7 km³) and the Euphrates barrage Birecik (1.2 km³). The upper course of the river marks the historical border between Asia Minor and Mesopotamia . It then flows through Syria , the Tischrin Reservoir , the Assad Reservoir dammed up by the Tabqa Reservoir and Iraq with the Haditha Reservoir (500 km²; 6.4 km³) in a southeastern direction. There it unites with the Tigris to form the Shatt al-Arab , which flows into the Persian Gulf .

The water level of the Euphrates is lowest in September and rises to its highest level by May. When the snow melts , spring floods can occur in the upper reaches of Turkey. The Euphrates already played a major role in the water supply of the country during the times of the Mesopotamian civilizations . At the same time, it was an important transport link in ancient times. Sections of rapids, such as those on the al-Khanuqa River in central Syria, which made progress difficult, were therefore of strategic importance. Fortifications were built here.

The river, which is navigable with rafts on many of its large and small tributaries, can be navigated by small boats over a length of 720 kilometers. Although sluices increase the water level, the water depth can drop to as little as two feet during the dry season between December and March. Where the Euphrates crosses sterile and dry desert steppes in large sections, it is used as a river oasis for irrigation agriculture and the like. a. used with cotton and grain. For this purpose channels are derived in places. Several dams have been built since the 1970s to generate energy and to irrigate fields. Since the construction of several dams in the upper section of the river and the possible control of the water flow of the Euphrates by Turkey, there have been repeated clashes between Turkey , Syria and Iraq . After the construction of the approximately 630 square kilometer Assad reservoir in Syria, the problem of the water supply for Iraq worsened. In 1976 the Tharthar-Euphrates Canal was completed, which can channel water from the Tigris into the Euphrates. According to the United Nations, the steadily increasing water abstraction over the past decades has led to lasting changes in the Euphrates valley. According to official figures, around 90 percent of the region has been damaged by human impact. The marshland of Mesopotamia is now almost completely drained. Together with its twin flow Tigris forms the Euphrates, the catchment area 765,831 comprises square kilometers, which Zweistromland .

On the middle and lower Euphrates are the hill ruins of formerly important cities such as Emar , Tuttul , Terqa and Mari in Syria; Uruk , Ur and Babylon in Iraq. Modern cities are on the middle reaches in Syria Ar-Raqqa and Deir-ez-Zor ; Haditha , Karbala and Najaf are in Iraq. The Marsh Arabs live in the south of Iraq .


Stories and tales

According to Genesis, paradise is said to be between the rivers Pishon , Gichon , Chidekel and Euphrates.

According to Mesopotamian myth, the Euphrates and Tigris arise from the eyes of the primordial goddess Tiamat , who was killed by Marduk and from whom he formed heaven and earth.

The Greeks considered the Euphrates, like his brother Tigris, to be the son of Pontus (Πόντος) and Thalassa (Θάλαττα or Θάλασσα).

See also


Web links

Commons : Euphrates  - collection of images, videos and audio files
Wiktionary: Euphrates  - explanations of meanings, word origins, synonyms, translations

Individual evidence

  1. Article Euphrates in the Great Soviet Encyclopedia (BSE) , 3rd edition 1969–1978 (Russian)http: //vorlage_gse.test/1%3D036565~2a%3D~2b%3DEuphrat
  2. For the cuneiform graphics of the name, see C. Woods: On the Euphrates . In: Zeitschrift für Assyriologie , 95, 2005, pp. 7–45.