One river, several countries, many places, millions of people. That is the story about Danube.
It connects several European capitals: Vienna, Bratislava, Budapest, Belgrade. It originates in Germany and becomes Black Sea via the Danube Delta in Romania and Ukraine. If there is a bond in this part of Europe, that is Danube (along with good part of food and some music).
Protecting it is a safeguard for the lives of people and their environment, but also for their cultural identity.
On the web site of the Tourist Organization of Belgrade it is rightly said:
"The idea of Danube as a river that connects was expressed at the Council of Europe in 1956, when its Program Water Chart was created (Wassercharte). The principle: “Water knows of no national borders. It demands international cooperation, joint efforts to preserve its endangered life” was published there. To fulfill this principle, there is no task more important than the one obliging the united Europe to jointly care for the preservation of its key river... there is a belief that Danube springs from heaven. The person who first wrote this wanted to warn the world of the size of gifts that can spring as a sign of heavenly mercy and generosity. It was also a warning to people not to waste the value of that which was given unto them by nature and to approach their river as careful custodians... Danube is to be loved as the fateful river of European unity. Only joint care over its preservation can rid us of the careless selfishness and ruthless robbery of its power... "
I love Danube and many places on its banks. Above is a selection of photos I took in Austria, Hungary and Serbia with Danube in its different modes, from ice to floods, along with bright summer and spring days and people living by and with the river.
You can also see photos here.