The River Euphrates at Zalabiyeh, near Halabiyeh, Syria
The River Euphrates is Commercially and Historically Important
The River Euphrates begins in the mountains of Armenia and is one of the most historically important rivers in the middle east. It flows for about 1,700 miles through Syria and Iraq and joins the River Tigris at Shatt al-arab before emptying into the Persian Gulf.
The Euphrates crosses the high bleak plateau of Anatolia in Turkey as it makes its way south-eastwards coming very close to the River Tigris in Baghdad. It then flows southwards over a broad flat plain. During its course the river is joined by three other rivers; the Sajur, the Balikh and the Khabur. These all add their water to the Euphrates. The volume of water is also increased by the melting snow in the Armenian mountains. When this happens great quantities of mud are carried with the flow.
The lands of the lower Euphrates basin have a long history and were the scenes of many stories in the Bible such as Noah's Ark and of Abraham. Babylon was built on its banks.
Throughout history, the Euphrates has been of vital importance to those living along its course. With the construction of large hydropower stations, irrigation schemes, and pipelines capable of transporting water over large distances, many more people now depend on the river for basic amenities such as electricity and drinking water than in the past.
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