The Elbe, historically in English also Elve, is one of the major rivers of Central Europe. It rises in the Giant Mountains of the northern Czech Republic before traversing much of Bohemia, then Germany and flowing into the North Sea at Cuxhaven, 110 kilometres northwest of Hamburg. Its total length is 1,094 km.
The Elbe's major tributaries include the rivers Vltava, Saale, Havel, Mulde, Schwarze Elster, and Ohře.
The Elbe river basin, comprising the Elbe and its tributaries, has a catchment area of 148,268 square kilometres, the twelfth largest in Europe. The basin spans four countries, however it lies almost entirely just in two of them, Germany and the Czech Republic. Marginally, the basin stretches also to Austria and Poland. The Elbe catchment area is inhabited by 24.4 million people, the biggest cities within are Berlin, Hamburg, Prague, Dresden and Leipzig.