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Rivers are part of our life since prehistoric times. We have been using rivers for various purposes, such as a source of drinking water, for obtaining food, to fertilize lands and as a way to transport goods from one place to another. Besides rivers are important habitats for wildlife.
The ecology of rainforest and wetlands are dependent on the river. A very essential role is played by the river in those ecosystems. A list of the most important and most beautiful rivers in the world is given below.
Most Beautiful Rivers in the World:
10. Sepik River
The longest river on the island of New Guinea is the Sepik River. The river originates in the Victor Emanuel Range which is located in the central highlands of Papua New Guinea. Like the Amazon River, most of the lengths of the Sepik River winds in serpentine fashion until it reaches the Bismarck Sea.
The Sepik does not have any large delta unlike many other large rivers but flows straight into the sea. The river is 1,126 kilometers (700 miles) long. It travels North West from its origin following the Great Depression.
The Sepik River does not have any settlements of considerable size. The isolation of the small tribal groups living near the river has given rise to one of the most original and extensive artistic traditions called the “Sepik Art“. The tribal group produces magnificent wood carvings and artful clay pottery. The Sepik is one of the last remaining undisturbed environments in the world.
9. Mississippi River
The Mississippi River is about 2,320 miles (3,730 km) long. It is the largest river system in the United States and North America. It originates from Lake Itasca and flows into the Gulf of Mexico below New Orleans. The Missouri River is its major tributary. All or parts of 31 U.S. states are drained by this river.
During the 1820s, the famous Steamboats entered the trade. In that time goods, especially cotton, timber, and food were transported down the river. During the 1880s, the steamboat traffic diminished because of the arrival of the railroads, but they remained as a feature until the 1920s. Delta Queen and such few steamboats have survived as icons.
8. Volga River
Volga is one of the most important rivers in Russia. It is also the longest river in Europe. Including the capital Moscow, there are 11 out of the 20 largest cities of Russia which are situated in the Volga’s drainage basin.
The river originates in the Valday Hills northwest of Moscow at an elevation of only 225 meters (740 feet) and discharges 3,645 km further (2,266 miles) into the Caspian Sea. Even though most of the length of the river freezes for three months every year, The Volga is of great importance for inland shipping and transport in Russia.
The Zambezi River is the fourth-longest river in Africa. The total length of the river is about 3,540 km (2,200 miles). Originating in a black wetland in north-western Zambia the river flows through Angola, along the borders of Namibia, Botswana, Zambia again, and Zimbabwe, to Mozambique, where it discharges into the Indian Ocean. The most spectacular feature of Zambezi is the beautiful Victoria Falls.
Including hippopotamus and crocodile, the river is a habitat of large populations of many animals. Including large species, the Zambezi also supports several hundred species of fish. For example, the bull shark has been found far inland which is a very aggressive shark. They are even responsible for several attacks on humans.
6. Mekong River
About 4,350 km (2,703 miles) long, The Mekong River is the 12th longest river in the world. Originating from the Tibetan Plateau this river runs through the Yunnan province of China, Laos, Burma, Cambodia, Thailand, and Vietnam. Because of the extreme seasonal variations in flow and the presence of torrents and waterfalls, navigating the river is extremely difficult.
Surpassed only by the Amazon River, The Mekong basin is one of the richest areas of biodiversity and undoubtedly one of the most beautiful rivers in the world. However, since the first Chinese dam was built, many species have become endangered including the Mekong Dolphin and Manatee.
Originating in the western Himalayas in India, The Ganges drains into the Sunder bans delta in the Bay of Bengal. The river is about 2,510 km (1,560 miles) long. The ‘Hindus’ considered this river as holy and worship it as the goddess Ganga in Hinduism. Historically this river has also been important because many former provincial or imperial capitals have been located on its banks.
In Hinduism, Varanasi is considered by some to be the holiest of the city which is located in the bank of Ganges. Some believe life is incomplete without taking a bath in the Ganges at least once the Hindus scatter the ashes of loved ones in the river. Because of the importance of the Ganges, it has been declared India’s National River.
The Danube is the second-longest river in Europe after the Volga. Being the borders of 10 European countries, the river is one of the most important rivers in Europe. It was one of the long-standing frontiers of the Roman Empire. It originates in the Black Forest in Germany and flows through 4 capitals, before discharging into the Black Sea. It is about 2850 km (1771 miles) long.
In 1992 the German Rhine-Main–Danube Canal has been completed. Since then the river has been part of a trans-European waterway from the Black Sea all the way to Rotterdam on the North Sea.
3. Yangtze River
About 6300 km long (3915 miles), the Yangtze River is the longest river in China and the third-longest in the world. Yangtze River originates in a glacier lying on the eastern part of the Tibetan plateau and passes through the spectacular Yangtze Gorges, which are noted for their natural beauty, and flows into the East China Sea. The Three Gorges Dam is the largest hydro-electric power station in the world.
Including commercial traffic such as coal as well as manufactured goods and passengers, the Yangtze River is one of the world’s busiest waterways. Several days long river cruises through the beautiful and scenic Three Gorges area are also very popular.
The longest river in the world, The Nile stretches north for 6,650 km (4,132 miles) from East Africa to the Mediterranean. The White Nile and the Blue Nile are the two major tributaries of the Nile. The White Nile originates in the Great Lakes region of central Africa while the Blue Nile rises at Lake Tana in Ethiopia.
In the development of Egyptian civilization, the river played a very important role. The annual overflow of the river makes the bank of the Nile extremely fertile. Thus the Egyptians were able to cultivate wheat and other crops in the surrounding lands.
The Nile was also an important part of the ancient Egyptian spiritual life. It was thought that both the god named Hapi (the deification of the annual floods) and the Pharaoh control the flooding of the Nile.
1. Amazon River
The Amazon River is the second-longest river in the world. The river is approximately 6,400 km (4,000 miles) long and just slightly shorter than the Nile although reputable sources disagree as to the exact length of the two rivers. But what we can say for certain is that the Amazon is the largest river in the world by volume, with a total river flow that accounts for approximately one-fifth of the world’s total.
There are various rivers that act as the source of the Amazon. The Amazon and its tributaries flow through Peru, Venezuela, Bolivia, Ecuador, Colombia, and Brazil before emptying into the Atlantic Ocean.
With new species still being discovered, The Amazon is a home of over 3,000 recognized species of fish. It is one of the main habitats of the Amazon River Dolphin along with the Orinoco River which is the largest species of river dolphin and can grow to lengths of up to 2.6 meters (8.5 feet).
At Iquitos in Peru, the bull shark has been reported seen 4,000 km (2,500 mi) up to the Amazon River. The notorious Piranha is another dangerous fish in the Amazon, which congregates in large schools, but only a few species are known to attack humans.