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About river Emajõgi

Author: Kaarel Kree

The best cities in the world are said to be river cities.

River Emajõgi is one of the most well-known symbols of Tartu. People have lived here – on the riverbanks of Emajõgi – for more than thousand years mainly because of the river.

The role of Emajõgi in the colourful history of Tartu can’t be underestimated. People have had to deal with the river all the time – for centuries one has had to cross the river, travel on it, know and consider the seasons of high river and low river.

Emajõgi lodjad, Kivisild. Taga kesklinn. Tartu, 1909., TM F 14025, Tartu Linnamuuseum, http://muis.ee/museaalview/1595844
Tartu linnavaade. Emajõgi. 20. sajandi algus., TM F 26367, Tartu Linnamuuseum, http://muis.ee/museaalview/3164937

Some facts about the river Emajõgi:

  • The river Emajõgi or the Big River Emajõgi was 117 km long at 1927, flowing from Võrtsjärv to Peipsi. After flutterings it has shortened to 100 kilometres.
  • The River Emajõgi is the only wholly navigable river in Estonia.
  • The River Emajõgi has 12 tributary rivers: on the left side Pedja, Laeva, Amme and Koosa. On the right side: Kavilda, Elva, Ilmatsalu, Porijõgi, Mudajõgi, Luutsna, Ahja and Agali. Partly navigable are tributary rivers Elva, Pedja and Ahja. In addition to the rivers also about 35 ditches and streams flow into the river Emajõgi.
  • The riverbed is 40-100 metres wide and mostly 2-4 metres deep, but at some places it can be even even to 10 metres.
  • The River Emajõgi collects it’s water from the catchment area that is 9960 square kilometres wide and makes up about 22% of the mainland area of Estonia.
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