The Rhine is one of the major European rivers. The river begins in the Swiss canton of Graubünden in the southeastern Swiss Alps, forms part of the Swiss-Liechtenstein, Swiss-Austrian, Swiss-German and then the Franco-German border, then flows in a mostly northerly direction through the German Rhineland and the Netherlands and eventually empties into the North Sea.
|Region||Central and Western Europe|
|• location||Tomasee (Romansh: Lai da Tuma), Surselva, Graubünden, Switzerland|
|• elevation||2,345 m (7,694 ft)|
|2nd source||Rein Posteriur/Hinterrhein|
|• location||Paradies Glacier, Graubünden, Switzerland|
|• location||Tamins, Graubünden, Switzerland|
|• elevation||585 m (1,919 ft)|
|0 m (0 ft)|
|Length||1,230 km (760 mi)|
|Basin size||185,000 km2 (71,000 sq mi)|
|• average||2,900 m3/s (100,000 cu ft/s)|
|• minimum||800 m3/s (28,000 cu ft/s)|
|• maximum||13,000 m3/s (460,000 cu ft/s)|
The Rhine and the Danube comprised much of the Roman Empire's northern inland boundary, and the Rhine has been a vital navigable waterway bringing trade and goods deep inland since those days. The various castles and defenses built along it attest to its prominence as a waterway in the Holy Roman Empire. Among the largest and most important cities on the Rhine are Cologne, Düsseldorf, Rotterdam, Strasbourg and Basel.