Amur River

2008/9 Schools Wikipedia Selection. Related subjects: Geography of Asia

Amur River


Khabarovsk Bridge across the Amur used to be the longest in Imperial Russia and Eurasia.
(Note: The bridge was reconstructed in 1999 and now looks completely different than in this photo.)
Chinese name
Traditional Chinese: 黑龍江
Simplified Chinese: 黑龙江
Literal meaning: "Black Dragon River"
Manchu name
(Sahaliyan Ula)
Mongolian name
Mongolian: Хар Мөрөн
(Khar Mörön)
Russian name
Russian: Амур
Amur watershed
Amur watershed
Origin The mountains of Northeastern China
Mouth The Pacific Ocean, through the Tartar Strait
Basin countries China, Russia, Mongolia
Length 4,444 km (2,761 mi)
Basin area 1,855,000 km² (716,200 mi²)

The Amur River or Heilong Jiang (Russian: река Аму́р) is the world's ninth longest river, forming the border between the Russian Far East and Northeastern China.

History and context

In many historical references these two geopolitical entities are known as Outer Manchuria ( Russian Manchuria) and Inner Manchuria, respectively. The Chinese province of Heilongjiang on the south bank of the river is named after it, as is the Russian Amur Oblast on the north bank.

The Amur River is a very important symbol of — and an important geopolitical factor in — Chinese-Russian relations. The Amur was especially important in the period of time following the Sino-Soviet political split in the 1960s.

The name Black River was used by the Manchu and the Qing Dynasty who always regarded this river as sacred.

The district Amuri in Tampere has gotten its name after battles at river Amur during the Russo-Japanese war.

The economy of the Amur Basin includes manufacturing, metallurgy, iron mining, non-ferrous metals, gold, coal, hydroelectricity, wheat, millet, soybeans, fishing, timber and Chinese-Russian trade. The Daqing oilfield, which is the world's 4th-largest oilfield, is located near Daqing City in Heilongjiang, a few hundred kilometers from the river.


Flowing across northeast Asia for over 4,444 km (2,700 mi), from the mountains of northeastern China to the Sea of Okhotsk (near Nikolayevsk-na-Amure), it drains a remarkable watershed that includes diverse landscapes of desert, steppe, tundra, and taiga, eventually emptying into the Pacific Ocean through the Strait of Tartary, where the mouth of the river faces the northern end of the island of Sakhalin. The Amur has always been closely associated with Sakhalin, and most names for the island, even in the languages of the indigenous peoples of the region, are derived from the name of the river: "Sakhalin" derives from a Tungusic dialectal form cognate with Manchu sahaliyan ("black," as in sahaliyan ula, "Black River"), while Ainu and Japanese "Karaputo" or " Karafuto" is derived from the Ainu name of the Amur or its mouth. Anton Chekhov vividly described the Amur River in writings about his journey to Sakhalin Island in 1890.

The average annual discharge varies from 6000 m³/s (1980) - 12000 m³/s (1957), leading to an average 9819 m³/s or 310 km³ per year. The maximum runoff measured occurred in Oct 1951 with 30700 m³/s whereas the minimum discharge was recorded in March 1946 with a mere 514 m³/s.


The Amur proper is 2,874 km long after the junction of two rivers:

  • Northern tributary: the Shilka, originating from the eastern slopes of the Khentii Mountains in Mongolia.
  • Southern tributary: the Argun, originating on the western slopes of the Great Khingan Range (大興安嶺) in northeast China.

The Shilka and the Argun join at Moguhe Village (洛古河村), in western Mohe County (漠河县) in Heilongjiang Province, China, and become the Amur proper.

Major tributaries are:

  • the Shilka,
  • the Argun,
  • the Zeya,
  • the Bureya,
  • the Sunggari,
  • the Ussuri,
  • the Amgun

The Amur is bordered by Heilongjiang province of China in the south, and Amur Oblast, Jewish Autonomous Oblast, and Khabarovsk Krai of Russia in the north. The final stretch of the Amur passes through Khabarovsk Krai. It passes by the following cities:

  • Huma (China, south bank)
  • Blagoveshchensk (Russia, north bank)
  • Heihe (China, south bank)
  • Jiayin (China, south bank)
  • Tongjiang (China, south bank)
  • Fuyuan (China, south bank)
  • Khabarovsk (Russia, south bank)
  • Komsomolsk-na-Amure (Russia, north bank)
  • Nikolayevsk-na-Amure (Russia, north bank)

Amur Bridge Project

Valery Solomonovich Gurevich, government vice-chairman of Russia’s Jewish Autonomous Oblast said that China and Russia started construction of the Amur Bridge Project at the end of 2007. The bridge will link Nizhneleninskoye in the Jewish Autonomous Oblast with Tongjiang in Heilongjiang Province. The 2,197-meter-long bridge, with an estimated investment of nearly US$230 million, is expected to be finished by the end of 2010, Gurevich said. Gurevich said that the proposal to construct a bridge across the river was actually made by Russia, in view of growing cargo transportation demands. "The bridge, in the bold estimate, will be finished in three years," Gurevich said.

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