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Río Guadiana
The Río Guadiana at the level of the Roman Bridge in Mérida

The Río Guadiana at the level of the Roman Bridge in Mérida

location Spain , Portugal
River system Guadiana
source Ojos del Guadiana
39 ° 8 ′ 18 ″  N , 3 ° 31 ′ 15 ″  W.
Source height 608  m
muzzle in the Atlantic Coordinates: 37 ° 10 ′ 25 ″  N , 7 ° 24 ′ 7 ″  W 37 ° 10 ′ 25 ″  N , 7 ° 24 ′ 7 ″  W
Mouth height m
Height difference 608 m
Bottom slope 0.82 ‰
length 742 km
Catchment area 67,733 km²
Left tributaries Ardila , Azuer , Chanza , Guadámez , Jabalón , Matachel , Odeleite , Zújar ,
Right tributaries Bullaque , Cigüela , Záncara
Reservoirs flowed through Alqueva , Pedrógão
Big cities Badajoz
Medium-sized cities Merida
Small towns Orellana la Vieja , Medellin
Navigable 72 km below Mértola
Río Guadiana near Medellín
Río Guadiana near Serpa , Portugal

The Río Guadiana is a 745 km long river on the Iberian Peninsula that flows through Spain and Portugal and forms the border between the two countries on two river sections. In Roman times the river was called Anas , from which the Arabs who later settled here came fromوادي يانة / Wādī Yāna made.


The Río Guadiana rises in the Ojos del Guadiana northeast of Ciudad Real in the Spanish province of the same name , Castile-La Mancha region . It initially flows in a predominantly westerly direction, crosses Extremadura and then turns south. It was used to define the border between Spain and Portugal on two sections, in the south it is its estuary. In between it flows through the southeast of the Portuguese region of Alentejo . The Río Guadiana flows into the Gulf of Cádiz , which belongs to the Atlantic Ocean , at Ayamonte ( Andalusia , Spain) or Vila Real de Santo António ( Algarve , Portugal) . The largest city on the river is Badajoz in Spain.

Cities and places on the river



Dams and reservoirs

Looking downstream, the Guadiana is dammed by the following dams and hydropower plants:

dam operator Max. Power
(million m³)
El Vicario 9.30 32
Cíjara 65.65 1,505
García de Sola 35.50 554
Orellana 50.84 808
Alqueva EDP 520 250.00 4,150
Pedrógão EDP 10 11.04 106

Guadiana Alto

The Guadiana Alto or Guadiana Viejo is often considered to be the upper reaches of the Guadiana. It arises from the confluence of several source rivers at the Lagunas de Ruidera on the border of the provinces of Albacete and Ciudad Real and seeps into the ground shortly afterwards at Argamasilla de Alba . Its water feeds the actual sources of the Guadiana, the Ojos del Guadiana, located around 40 km to the west.


After the reconquest ( reconquista ) of Merida by Alfonso IX. In 1230 the Río Guadiana formed the border between Christian and Islamic spheres of influence for several years.


Particularly noteworthy is the old town of Mérida , located on the north bank of the Río Guadiana and founded by the Romans ; it was on the list of the 1993 UNESCO - World Heritage added. The small town of Medellín , situated on the south bank of the river and dominated by a castle ( castillo ), is the birthplace of Hernán Cortés and Gonzalo de Sandoval , the conquerors of the Aztec Empire .

Legend of the three main streams

The Guadiana is the southernmost of the three main rivers (next to the Tajo and Duero ) that flow from Spain to Portugal. Legend has it that these three were river spirits who wanted to compete in a race to the Atlantic. Before that, they went to sleep together in what is now Spain. The next day, the Guadiana is said to be the first ghost to wake up, allowing it to choose the most beautiful and smoothest route. The Tajo was later, but the Duero was the last to wake up - it then had to make its way through the stony north of the peninsula, which explains its rough character.

See also


Individual evidence

  1. Entry on the website of the UNESCO World Heritage Center ( English and French ).