Kura River

Kura in Likani in the Lesser Caucasus, Georgia (early color photo of Prokudin-Gorsky, 1915 )

Kura in Tbilisi

Course of the Kura

The 1364 km long Kura (Eng. also cure; Georgian მტკვარი / Mtkvari, Azerbaijani freestyle ) is the largest river in the Caucasus.


In ancient times the river was called Cyrus. Initially it was used later by Russian, Western European cartographers. The Russian historian and linguist Diakonov initiated from the name of the river Kura of Quirane, a country that is well known in the annals of Urartian king Sarduri II and that was far from Iga in the neighborhood of Çıldır Lake.

The Georgian name Mtkvari ( მტკვარი ) is connected to the other Georgian word Mtknari ( მტკნარი ), which in German means fresh water.


The Kura rises in northeastern Turkey in the province of Ardahan, flowing through Georgia and Azerbaijan until it empties into the Caspian Sea. The upper course winds through the mountains with the north. From around Gori, the main flow direction is south-east and leads in the lower reaches of the Kura - Araks lowland, and vast steppes. There is a delta at the mouth in the Caspian Sea. Your biggest inflows are next to the Aras ( Araxes earlier ) nor Big Liakhvi, Ksani, Aragwi, Chrami and Alazani.


The Kura is used for dams and hydroelectric power plants, such as the 605 km ² large Mingəçevir Reservoir; there is a hydroelectric power plant with a capacity of 359 megawatts. From Mingəçevir in Azerbaijan the river, totaling 480 km in length is indeed navigable, but has as a transport route for inland navigation are no longer important. Industrial and municipal wastewater plants polluting the river difficult part. From the Georgian mining region Marneuli not inconsiderable amounts of cobalt, tin, nickel and cadmium are washed into the Kura.

In 2002, Armenia, Azerbaijan and Georgia established together with the German Federal Environment Agency a project for transnational cooperation for hazard prevention in the Kura basin. A water disaster like in the Romanian Tisa in 2000 is to be prevented.