hidden europe 57

Summit-level-Canals

by hidden europe

Picture above: The lock at Kurzyniec marks the border between Belarus (left) and Poland (right). Only waterborne traffic may cross the border here (photo © hidden europe).

Summary

Canals which breach great drainage divides are always interesting. There's one, opened in 1992, which links the River Danube with the River Main, the latter a tributary of the Rhine. So today it's possible to travel on a ship through the very heart of Europe from the North Sea to the Black Sea.

The Augustów Canal is a fine example of a summitlevel canal, ie. an artificial waterway which uses a series of locks to climb up to a higher central section before dropping down again. This kind of canal links two different drainage basins, but poses special engineering challenges in keeping an adequate supply of water in the uppermost part of the canal. That summit section of the Augustów Canal is ten kilometres long.

Europe’s canonical example of a summit-level canal is the Canal du Midi in south-west France, constructed in the late 17th century to link Toulouse with the Mediterranean.

This is just an excerpt. The full text of this article is not yet available to members with online access to hidden europe. Of course you can read the full article in the print edition of hidden europe 57.
Related articleFull text online

Moladh Uibhist: In Praise of Uist

Driving the spinal road which runs the length of South Uist can be a melancholic or an uplifting experience. Few Hebridean islands evoke such mixed responses. In this article, we explore South Uist and find an island of delicate beauty.

Related article

At the water's edge: Germany's Wadden Sea

Within just a few centuries, the geography of the Frisian region has been reshaped by storms and tides. Paul Scraton is a regular writer for hidden europe; here he explores Germany’s Wadden Sea coastline. It’s a tale that shows the power of the sea.