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Elbe Valley

Shortly after crossing the Czech-German frontier, and passing through the sandstone defiles of the Elbe Sandstone Mountains, the stream assumes a north-westerly direction, which on the whole it preserves right to the North Sea.

The river rolls through Dresden and finally, beyond Meißen, enters on its long journey across the North German Plain passing along the former border of East Germany, touching Torgau, Wittenberg, Dessau, Magdeburg, Wittenberge, and Hamburg on the way, and taking on the waters of the Mulde and Saale from the west, and those of the Schwarze Elster, Havel and Elde from the east. In its northern section both banks of the Elbe are characterised by flat, very fertile marshlands, former flood plains of the Elbe now diked.

Soon the Elbe reaches Hamburg. Within the city-state the Elbe has a number of branch streams, such as Dove Elbe, Gose Elbe, Köhlbrand, Northern Elbe (Norderelbe), Reiherstieg, Southern Elbe (Süderelbe). Some of which have been disconnected for vessels from the main stream by dikes. In 1390 the Gose Elbe (literally in English: shallow Elbe) was separated from the main stream by a dike connecting the two then islands of Kirchwerder and Neuengamme. The Dove Elbe (literally in English: deaf Elbe) was diked off in 1437/38 at Gammer Ort. These hydraulic engineerings were carried out to protect marshlands from inundation and to improve the water supply of the Port of Hamburg. After the heavy inundation by the North Sea flood of 1962 the western section of the Southern Elbe was separated becoming the Old Southern Elbe, while the waters of the eastern Southern Elbe now merge into the Köhlbrand, which is bridged by the Köhlbrandbrücke, the last bridge over the Elbe before the North Sea.

The Northern Elbe passes the Elbe Philharmonic Hall and is then crossed under by the old Elbe Tunnel (Alter Elbtunnel), both in Hamburg's city centre. A bit more downstream the Northern Elbe and the Köhlbrand reunite to form the Lower Elbe stream south of Altona-Altstadt, a locality of Hamburg. Right at its beginning the Lower Elbe is passed under by the New Elbe Tunnel (Neuer Elbtunnel), the last solid road link crossing the river before the North Sea. Leaving the city-state the Lower Elbe then passes between Holstein and the Elbe-Weser Triangle until it flows into the North Sea at Cuxhaven. Near its mouth it passes the entrance to the Kiel Canal at Brunsbüttel before it debouches into the North Sea.

[ source: wikipedia ]

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Most Popular Destinations in Germany

Germany has numerous cities of interest to tourists; these are the top nine travel destinations:

Berlin - the reunified and reinvigorated capital of Germany; known for its division during the Cold War - and the Berlin Wall. Today its a metropolis of diversity with elegant clubs, galleries and traditional restaurants. It is also a haven for shoppers.

Bremen - one of the most important cities in northern Germany, its old town will be of interest to travelers who want a slice of history.

Cologne - Germany's fourth-largest city. Cologne was founded by the Romans and is 2000 years old with its huge cathedral, Romanesque churches, and archaeological sites. Cologne also well known for its carnival and its Christopher-Street-Day parade. Don't forget to try the local cuisine and of course the local beer, called "Kölsch".

Dresden - once called Florence on the Elbe, and world-famous for its Frauenkirche and historic center which was destroyed during the war, the city offers more than what the average traveller can expect: Great festivals, all kinds of cultural entertainment, vibrant night life, and surrounded by beautiful natural vistas. Dresden hosts the Staatlichen Kunstsammlungen Dresden (Dresden State Art Collections) which is one of the world's most impressive museums and collections. The art collections consist of eleven museums, of which the Gemäldegalerie Alte Meister and the Grünes Gewölbe are the most well-known.

Dusseldorf - Germany's capital of fashion, the capital city of North Rhine-Westphalia offers a wide scale of fascinating new architecture. Right along the shores of river Rhine, the "Altstadt" and the "Medienhafen" are among the best places in Germany to enjoy a vibrant nightlife. Being one of the country's wealthiest cities, the atmosphere is very pleasant. Germans call it "the only metropolis ending with -dorf (German for village)".

Frankfurt - Germany's leading financial center, transportation hub, seat of the European Central Bank (ECB), international trade fair center (Book Fair, Motor Show), hub of multicultural activity (30% Immigrants), and site of numerous world-class museums and theaters. It is also Germany's only city with enough skyscrapers to have a skyline.

Hamburg - Germany's second-largest city, famous for its harbour as well as its liberal and tolerant culture. Don't miss the Reeperbahn with its night clubs and casinos. Hamburg is also popular for its many musicals.

Hannover - One of Germany's newer tourist cities, having hosted various international events in recent times.

Munich - Bavaria's beautiful capital city and Southern Germany's primate city. Third largest city in Germany, Munich is the site of the famous Oktoberfest and the gateway to the Alps.

Nuremberg - Second largest city in Bavaria, after WW2 over 90% of the old-town was destroyed. Today it has already been reconstructed, including the Gothic Kaiserburg Castle (Emperor's Castle of the Holy Roman Empire of German Nation). You can also visit the Nazi party rally grounds, the Documentation Centre and Courtroom 600 - venue of the Nuremberg Trails.

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