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RIVER PROFILE

The Odra (Oder) is one of the longest rivers in Poland as well as the longest inland waterway in the country. It is also an important communication artery of Eastern Europe. The Odra ranks second among Polish rivers in terms of total length, but if we consider only the length of its course in Poland, it ranks third after the Vistula and the Warta. The river is 854.3 km (530.8 mi) long, including 742 km (461 mi) in Poland. The Odra flows through the śląskie, opolskie, dolnośląskie, lubuskie, and zachodniopomorskie voivodeships. Together with the Gliwice Canal, it forms the Odra Waterway, which is an element in the European system of waterways and part of E30 International Waterway.

The importance of the Odra River as an international communication route stems from its connections with other waterways. These connections include: the Odra-Spree Canal entrance at km 553.4, the possibility of entering the Vistula-Odra Waterway at km 617.6, and the Odra-Havel Canal entrance at km 667.2. Both the Spree-Odra and the Havel-Odra Waterways connect the Odra with Berlin. Kilometre zero for both these waterways is situated below the Spandau Lock, where the Spree flows into the Havel. The Havel Canal was built during the blockade of West Berlin. After the fall of the Berlin Wall and the construction of the new Spandau Lock, the canal lost in importance.

In its upper reaches, the Odra is a regulated river – perhaps even too much so, as shown by the catastrophic floods that recur every dozen years or so. As many as 24 locks have been built there. Works on taming the river were in progress since the 18th century, and regulation proper began in 1819. In its lower reaches – more specifically, on the stretch between Kostrzyn on the Odra (km 617.6) and Hohensaaten (km 667.2 – entrance to the Odra-Havel Canal), where the Odra constitutes an element of IW E70, it is a river regulated by means of wing dams, built towards the end of the 19th c. A nearly 180-kilometre (112 mi) stretch of the Odra marks the border between the Republic of Poland and the Federal Republic of Germany. This section is jointly managed by the Regional Water Management Board in Szczecin (Poland) and the Magdeburg-based Water and Shipping Management East, local branch – Eberswalde Water and Shipping Office (Germany).

NAVIGATIONAL INFORMATION

THE ODRA RIVER on the described part of 46,5th km, it means from Kostrzyń near Odra River to Hohensaaten in Germany, finds its place among class III waterways, which makes it a truly international communication artery, fit for vessels weighing 1000-1500 tonnes. Night navigation is allowed on the border stretch of the Odra (km 542.4-704.1). Still, the decision on whether it is possible is communicated, in the form of a navigation announcement, by the Regional Water Management Board in Szczecin and the Water and Shipping Office in Eberswalde. Sports and pleasure watercrafts are prohibited from night navigation.

DEPTH
After the outlet of the the Warta into the Odra, transit depths increase by about 20-30 cm (8-12 in). Because the river’s flows and depths, on the freely flowing stretch, are mainly determined by maximum precipitations, they are not constant and range from about 100 cm (3.28 ft) to as much as 250 cm (8.2 ft), depending on month and year. Maximums for the section of the river described here usually occur in March and April, and minimums occur in the summer months. Maximums are recorded during thaw, which is typical for unregulated rivers. The number of navigation days on the Odra varies from 250 to 350 days in a year.

WIDTH
The stretch is characterized by considerable widths of the river bed (about 80 m/262 ft), which results in a changeable course of the current and numerous shallows. Navigation is impeded by the shifting sandbars that are formed at the mouth of the Warta. The Odra is regulated; the good condition of its regulation facilities as well as the depths and widths of the channel would make it much more favourable to navigation. Still, the river’s channel is devastated. The lack of maintenance work led to its advanced renaturation.

POWER LINES, BRIDGES AND FERRIES
Due to the maintenance of the described fragment of the Odra as a class III inland waterway, no power lines run across it at 12 m (39.4 ft) at HNW (the highest navigable water). There are no bridges or ferries across this section of the river. In Gozdowice, at km 645, the Bez Granic (Without Borders) ferry sails regularly in summer, from April to October. It is a paddle wheel vessel, self-propelled.

VEGETATION
Navigation on the Odra is unimpeded by water vegetation.

MOORING
You will not find many club harbours or marinas along the Odra that encourage recreational use of the river. The only port on this section that can be mentioned is the port in Kostrzyn, at the mouth of the Warta (km 617.6). Additional spots for night mooring are located on the Polish as well as on the German side, e.g. at km 617 and 625. At km 623.7, in Kaleńsk, there is a marked mooring place for sports and pleasure watercrafts. At km 632, in the town of Kienitz, there is a marina.
 
HYDROTECHNICAL HIGHLIGHTS

THE ODRA-HAVEL CANAL. Built in the years 1905-14, the Odra-Havel Canal relieved the 17th century Finow Canal. It is fit for vessels with a deadweight of 600 tonnes, compared with only 170 tonnes for the old route. Moreover, the new connection between the Odra and the Havel has only 4 locks instead of 17. The most interesting facility on the Odra-Havel Canal is the Niederfinow boat lift, put into operation in 1934, which allows to move through the 36-metre (118.1 ft) elevation difference in about 5 min. Part of this atypical lock is a trough measuring 85 by 12 m (37.4 by 278.9 ft).  In 2014 a new lock is to be put for use. It will be a lifting lock with the capacity of 3000 tonnes and 115 m of length and 12,5m of width.


TOURIST HIGHLIGHTS

THE KNIGHTLY ORDERS TRAIL
in the Lubusz Land. In the vicinity of Kostrzyn, you can visit places connected with the Knights Templar and the Knights of St John. In the Middle Ages, the orders owned estates in this area; sacred, military and farm buildings dating back to their times survive to this day. A cycling route begins in Kostrzyn nad Odrą, comprising the most interesting historic monuments from that period and running e.g. through Szumiłowo, Kaleńsko, Chwarszczany and Dragomyśl, as far as Słońsk.


KOSTRZYN FORTRESS
Built in the 16th c., it was a splendid example of military engineering for 400 years but did not endure air raids during World War II. The remaining complexes of walls and bastions can still be admired today, e.g. ones called Filip or Brandenburgia. Apart from the famous Woodstock Festival Poland, Kostrzyn is also the scene of battle shows prepared by reconstruction groups.


WOODSTOCK FESTIVAL POLAND
This is indisputably the greatest event in Kostrzyn nad Odrą. The festival ranks among the largest and best organized ones in Europe. It takes place at the end of July and at the beginning of August and is organised by the Great Orchestra of Christmas Charity Foundation (Fundacja Wielka Orkiestra Świątecznej Pomocy) in order to thank all the volunteers and supporters of the Great Orchestra. The first festival was held in 1995 in Czymanowo (near Żarnowieckie Lake). Every year since 2004, the event has been held in Kostrzyn nad Odrą.

 

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INTRODUCTION

1

IW E70 – THE EAST-WEST (E-W) STRETCH

2

THE BRDA

3

THE BYDGOSZCZ CANAL

6

THE NOTEĆ

9

THE WARTA

15

THE ODRA

19

IW E70 – THE SOUTH-NORTH (S-N) STRETCH

21

THE VISTULA

22

THE NOGAT

31

THE SZKARPAWA

36

THE VISTULA LAGOON

39

THE ELBLĄG RIVER AND THE JAGIELLONIAN CANAL

50

THE MARTWA WISŁA, THE ŚMIAŁA WISŁA, THE GDAŃSK MOTŁAWA

52

INFORMATOR

56

WATERWAY SIGNS AND MARKING

57

LEGEND

58

SCHEMES OF LOCKS AND HARBOURS

59

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