The Vltava is the longest river in the Czech Republic and is considered the national river. It runs from the southeast of the Bohemian Forest and then north through Bohemia, through Český Krumlov, České Budějovice and Prague, finally merging with the Elbe River in Mělník.
The Vltava River is 430.3 kilometers long and while it runs in Prague, the river is crossed by 18 bridges and runs just 31 kilometers within the city. River water was drinkable and was used for drinking until 1912.
It is believed that both the Czech name Vltava and the German name Moldau originate from the old Germanic words wilt ahwa that mean “wild water”. The river is one of the most admirable elements of the city although it’s silence it demands contemplation.
The Vltava basin has been flooded several times throughout history, with notable flooding in 1784, 1845, 1890, 1940 and the highest of all in 2002.
One of the most notable compositions of classical music of the romantic period by the Czech composer Bedřich Smetana in his 8 poems that make up the piece My Homeland was titled precisely Vltava, and is a musical description of the course of the river through Bohemia. In turn this symphonic poem also inspired a song of the same name by Bertolt Brecht.