White Elster

White Elster (Weiße Elster)

White Elster valley
Country Germany, Czech Republic
Main source Western Czech Republic
724 m (2,375 ft)
River mouth Saale
51°25′57″N 11°57′10″E / 51.43250°N 11.95278°E / 51.43250; 11.95278 (Mouth of White Elster)Coordinates: 51°25′57″N 11°57′10″E / 51.43250°N 11.95278°E / 51.43250; 11.95278 (Mouth of White Elster)
Physical characteristics
Length 257 km (160 mi)

The White Elster[1][2][3] (German: Weiße Elster, Czech: Bílý Halštrov) is a 257-kilometre (160 mi) long river in central Europe, right tributary of the Saale. Its source is in the westernmost part of the Czech Republic, near . After a few kilometres, it flows into eastern Germany. In Germany, it flows through the states of Saxony, Thuringia and Saxony-Anhalt. The White Elster flows through the cities of Plauen, Greiz, Gera, Zeitz, Pegau and Leipzig. It flows into the river Saale in Halle.


Although "Elster" is German for "magpie", the origin of the name has nothing to do with the bird. It is of Slavic origin: alstrawa = hurrying. The White Elster never meets the Black Elster, which flows from Lusatia into the River Elbe. The rivers have the names "white" and "black" to distinguish between them.


The White Elster proved disastrous to the French troops when they retreated from Leipzig in October 1813, as a part of the Napoleonic Wars.[2] Józef Poniatowski, Marshal of France, drowned in the river on 19 October 1813.

See also


  1. The "White Elster" river at www.germany-tourism.co.uk
  2. 1 2 Brookes, Richard and Marshall, John (1832). A new universal gazetteer: containing a description of the principal nations, W.W. Reed & Co,, New York, p. 270
  3. White Elster from National Geospatial-Intelligence Agency, Bethesda, MD, USA. Accessed on 16 Jan 2011.
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