Euphrates: Wikis


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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Arabic: الفرات, al-Furāt, Turkish: Fırat, Syriac: ܦܪܬ, Prāṯ
The Euphrates in Iraq
Countries  Iraq,  Syria,  Turkey
Basin area Turkey, Syria, Iraq, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait
 - left Balikh, Khabur
 - right Sajur
Cities Birecik, Ar-Raqqah, Deir ez-Zor, Ramadi, Fallujah, Kufa, Samawah, Nasiriyah
Primary source Murat Su
Secondary source Kara Su
Source confluence Keban
 - elevation 610 m (2,001 ft)
Mouth Shatt al-Arab
 - location Al-Qurnah, Basra Governorate, Iraq
Length 2,289 km (1,422 mi)
Basin 378,000 km2 (145,947 sq mi)
Discharge for Hīt
 - average 356 m3/s (12,572 cu ft/s)
 - max 2,514 m3/s (88,781 cu ft/s)
 - min 58 m3/s (2,048 cu ft/s)
Map of the Tigris - Euphrates watershed

The Euphrates (En-us-Euphrates.ogg juːˈfreɪtiːz ) is the longest and historically one of the most important rivers of Southwest Asia. Together with the Tigris, the Euphrates is one of the two defining rivers of Mesopotamia. The river – originating in the Taurus Mountains – flows through Syria and Iraq to join the Tigris in the Shatt al-Arab, which flows into the Persian Gulf.



Modern names for the Euphrates may have been derived by popular etymology from the Sumerian and Akkadian names, respectively Buranun and Pu-rat-tu. The former appears in an inscription from the 22nd century BC[citation needed] associated with King Gudea.

Etymologically, the name "Euphrates" is the Greek form of the original name, Phrat, which means "fertilizing" or "fruitful".[3]

Alternatively, the second half of the word Euphrates may also derive from either the Persian Ferat or the Greek φέρω (pronounced [fero]), both of which mean "to carry" or "to bring forward".

Avestan hu-pərəθwa 'good to cross over' has been proposed as the etymology of Euphrates. It derives from PIE *su- 'good' (a cognate of Sanskrit su-, Greek eu-) + *per- 'to pass over' (a cognate of English ferry and ford).[4]

Language Name for Euphrates
Akkadian Pu-rat-tu
Arabic الفرات Al-Furāt
Aramaic ܦܪܬ Prāṯ, Froṯ
Armenian Եփրատ Yeṗrat
Greek Ευφράτης Euphrátēs
Kurdish فره ات Firat, Ferat
Persian فرات Forat
Sumerian Buranun
Turkish Fırat


The Euphrates emerges from the confluence of the Murat Sun and the Kara Sun. The Murat Su rises 70 km northeast of Lake Van, about midway between Lake Van and Mount Ararat, whereas the Kara Sun rises about 30 km northeast of Erzurum, in the Kargapazari Mountains. The courses of the Kara Su and the Murat Nehri run fairly parallel in a westerly direction until they unite near the city of Keban. From this point on, the combined streams form the Euphrates proper.

The length of the Euphrates from the confluence of the Marat Sun and the Kara Sun to its mouth in the Shatt al-Arab is estimated at 2289 km. The river flows through three countries; Turkey, Syria and Iraq. The length of the Turkish Euphrates is approximately 526 km, whereas the Syrian and Iraqi parts of the river are estimated at 604 and 1159 km, respectively.[2]



In its upper reaches, the Euphrates flows through steep canyons and gorges. The river enters Syria at the location of the ancient site of Carchemish, which is located exactly on the Syro-Turkish border.


The Euphrates enters Syria near ancient Carchemish on the Syro-Turkish border and leaves Syrian territory near the modern town of Abu Kemal. The river generally flows in a southeasterly direction. The Syrian Euphrates has three tributaries: the Sajur northeast of modern Manbij, the Balikh near Ar-Raqqah, and the Khabur upstream of Deir ez-Zor. The Euphrates has created a wide and deep valley, except for the narrow gap near Halabiyeh.


North of Basra, in southern Iraq, the river merges with the Tigris to form the Shatt al-Arab, which in turn empties into the Persian Gulf. According to Pliny and other ancient historians, the Euphrates originally had its outlet into the sea separate from that of the Tigris[5]. It is thought by some that the silt deposited by the two rivers has built up the delta region at the head of the Persian Gulf and that the original coastline extended much farther north, perhaps reaching as far as the ancient city of Ur of the Chaldeans.

The river used to divide into many channels at Basra, forming an extensive marshland, but the marshes were largely drained by the Saddam Hussein government in the 1990s as a means of driving out the rebellious Marsh Arabs. Since the 2003 invasion of Iraq, the drainage policy has been reversed, but it remains to be seen whether the marshes will recover.

The Euphrates is navigable by only very shallow-draft boats, which can reach as far as the Iraqi city of Hīt, located 1,930 kilometres (1,200 mi) upstream and only 60 metres (200 ft) above sea level. Above Hīt, however, shoals and rapids make the river commercially unnavigable. Its annual flooding, caused by snow melt in the mountains of northeastern Turkey, has been partly checked by new dams and reservoirs in the upper reaches. An 885-kilometre (550 mi) canal links the Euphrates to the Tigris to serve as a route for river barges.[citation needed]


The Euphrates provided the water that led to the first flowering of civilization in Sumer, dating from about the 4th millennium BCE. Many important ancient cities were located on or near the riverside, including Mari, Sippar, Nippur, Shuruppak, Uruk, Ur and Eridu. The river valley formed the heartlands of the later empires of Babylonia and Assyria. For several centuries, the river formed the eastern limit of effective Egyptian and Roman control and western regions of the Persian Empire. Also, the Battle of Karbala occurred at the banks of Euphrates river, where Imam Hussain – along with his family and friends – were killed.

Controversial issues

An Iraqi city by the Euphrates river.

As with the Tigris, there is much controversy over rights and use of the river. The Southeastern Anatolia Project in Turkey involves the construction of 22 dams and 19 power plants by 2005, the biggest development project ever undertaken by Turkey. The first of the dams was completed in 1990, but attacks of the PKK have slowed down the project and caused significant delays. Southeast Turkey is still struggling economically, adding fuel to the discontent expressed by Turkey's Kurdish minority centered there. The Turkish authorities hope that the project will provide a boost to the region's economy, but domestic and foreign critics have disputed its benefits as well as attacking the social and environmental costs of the scheme.

In Syria, the Tabaqah Dam (completed in 1973 and sometimes known simply as the Euphrates Dam) forms a reservoir – Lake Assad – that is used for irrigating cotton. Syria has dammed its two tributaries and is in the process of constructing another dam. Iraq has seven dams in operation, but water control lost priority during Saddam Hussein's regime. Since the collapse of Ba'ath Iraq in 2003, water use has come once again to the fore. The scarcity of water in the Middle East leaves Iraq in constant fear that Syria and Turkey will use up most of the water before it reaches Iraq. As it is, irrigation in southern Iraq leaves little water to join the Tigris at the Shatt-al-Arab. The potential for war over these waters is the subject of much diplomacy. [6]

See also


  1. ^ Isaev, V.A.; Mikhailova, M.V. (2009). "The hydrology, evolution, and hydrological regime of the mouth area of the Shatt al-Arab River". Water Resources 36 (4): 380-395. doi:10.1134/S0097807809040022. 
  2. ^ a b "Volume I: Overview of present conditions and current use of the water in the marshlands area/Book 1: Water resources". New Eden Master Plan for integrated water resources management in the marshlands areas. New Eden Group. 2006. Retrieved 11 October 2009. 
  3. ^ Harry Thurston Peck. "Euphrates", Harpers Dictionary of Classical Antiquities. New York. Harper and Brothers. 1898. Perseus Digital Library.
  4. ^ euphrates. Online Etymology Dictionary. Douglas Harper, Historian. (accessed: January 25, 2009).
  5. ^ Pliny the Elder: Natural History, VI, XXVI, 128-131
  6. ^ Pearce, Fred (2007-11-01). "Government still stalling on UN waters treaty". Telegraph. Retrieved 2008-09-03. 

External links

1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary





From Ancient Greek Εὐφράτης (Euphratēs), from Old Persian Ufratu, from Akkadian purattu.

Proper noun

Wikipedia has an article on:


The Euphrates

  1. The river in the Middle East, 2780 kilometers in length, flowing southwest from Turkey, then southeast, and uniting with the Tigris before entering the Persian Gulf. It forms the Western edge of classical Mesopotamia.


See also


Bible wiki

Up to date as of January 23, 2010

From BibleWiki

Hebrew, Perath; Assyrian, Purat; Persian cuneiform, Ufratush, whence Greek Euphrates, meaning "sweet water." The Assyrian name means "the stream," or "the great stream." It is generally called in the Bible simply "the river" (Ex 23:31), or "the great river" (Deut 1:7).

The Euphrates is first mentioned in Gen 2:14 as one of the rivers of Paradise. It is next mentioned in connection with the covenant which God entered into with Abraham (Gen 15:18), when he promised to his descendants the land from the river of Egypt to the river Euphrates (comp. Deut 11:24; Josh 1:4), a covenant promise afterwards fulfilled in the extended conquests of David (2 Sam 8:2ff; 1Chr 18:3; 1 Kg 4:24). It was then the boundary of the kingdom to the north-east. In the ancient history of Assyria, and Babylon, and Egypt many events are recorded in which mention is made of the "great river." Just as the Nile represented in prophecy the power of Egypt, so the Euphrates represented the Assyrian power (Isa 8:7; Jer 2:18).

It is by far the largest and most important of all the rivers of Western Asia. From its source in the Armenian mountains to the Persian Gulf, into which it empties itself, it has a course of about 1,700 miles. It has two sources, (1) the Frat or Kara-su (i.e., "the black river"), which rises 25 miles north-east of Erzeroum; and (2) the Muradchai (i.e., "the river of desire"), which rises near Ararat, on the northern slope of Ala-tagh. At Kebban Maden, 400 miles from the source of the former, and 270 from that of the latter, they meet and form the majestic stream, which is at length joined by the Tigris at Koornah, after which it is called Shat-el-Arab, which runs in a deep and broad stream for above 140 miles to the sea. It is estimated that the alluvium brought down by these rivers encroaches on the sea at the rate of about one mile in thirty years.

This entry includes text from Easton's Bible Dictionary, 1897.

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Simple English

Origin Eastern Turkey
Mouth Shatt al Arab
Basin countries Turkey, Syria, Jordan, Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Iraq
Length 2,800 km
Source elevation 4,500 m
Avg. discharge 818 m³/s
Basin area 765,831 km²

The Euphrates is the western of the two rivers that define the borders of Mesopotamia (the other is the Tigris).

Euphrates in other languages

Language Name for Euphrates
Akkadian Pu-rat-tu
Arabic الفرات Al-Furāt
Aramaic ܦܪܬ Prâth, Frot
Armenian Եփրատ Yeṗrat
Greek Ευφράτης Euphrátēs
Hebrew פְּרָת Pĕrāth
Kurdish فرهات Firhat, Ferhat
Persian فرات Ferat
Turkish Fırat


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