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A river of central and northern Switzerland

Related crosswordese: AAR

Common clues: Bern's river; Rhine feeder; It has banks in Bern; River leading to the Rhine

Crossword puzzle frequency: 3 times a year

Video: Aare River Cruise

The Aar (German: Aare) is the longest river that both rises and ends entirely within Switzerland.

Aare in Bern

Its total length from its source to its junction with the Rhine comprises about 291 km (181 miles), during which distance it descends 1,565m (5,135 feet), draining an area of 17,620 km² (6,804 square miles).

The Aar rises in the great Aar glaciers in the canton of Bern and west of the Grimsel Pass. It runs east to the Grimsel Hospice, and then northwesterly through the Hasli valley, forming on the way the magnificent Handegg Waterfall, 46 m (151 feet), past Guttannen, and piercing the limestone barrier of the Kirchet by a major canyon, before reaching Meiringen, situated in a plain. A little past Mieringen, near Brienz, the river expands into Lake Brienz where it becomes navigable. Near the west end of the lake it receives its first important affluent, the Lütschine. It then runs across the swampy plain of the Bödeli between Interlaken and Unterseen before expanding once again into Lake Thun.

Near the west end of Lake Thun, the river receives the waters of the Kander, which has just been joined by the Simme. On flowing out of the lake it passes Thun, and then circles a lofty bluff on which stands the town of Bern. The river soon changes its northwesterly flow for a due westerly direction, but after receiving the Saane or Sarine it turns north until it nears Aarberg. There, in one of the major Swiss engineering feats of the 19th century the river, which had previously rendered the countryside north of Bern a swampland through frequent floodings, was diverted by the Hagneck Canal into Lake Biel. From the upper end of the lake the river issues through the Nidau Canal and then runs east to Büren. The lake absorbs huge amounts of eroded gravels and snowmelt thet the river brings from the Alps and the former swamps have become fruitful plains: they are known as the "vegetable garden of Switzerland".

From here the Aar flows northeast for a long distance, past the ambassador town Solothurn (below which the Grosse Emme flows in on the right), Aarburg (where it is joined by the Wigger), Olten, Aarau, near which is the junction with the Suhr, and Wildegg, where the Hallwiler Aa falls in on the right. A short distance further, below Brugg it receives first the Reuss, and shortly afterwards the Limmat. It now turns due north, and soon becomes itself an affluent of the Rhine, which it surpasses in volume when the two rivers unite at Coblenz (Switzerland), opposite Waldshut, Germany.



This article is licensed under the GNU Free Documentation License. It uses material from the Wikipedia article "Aar".