The Elbląg Canal

Ostróda-Elbląg Canal, also called The Elbląg Canal, connects the West Mazurian lakes with the Vistula Lagoon.

It is an original hydrotechnical solution on a European scale, enabling overcoming a 100-meter difference in water levels with the help of a set of 5 ramps and rail hoisting devices, powered by energy obtained from the flow of water.

This system was designed by a Prussian engineer Georg Jacob Steenke in the first half of the XNUMXth century, during the reign of the king Frederick William III.

The construction took several years and the canal was not put into use until the king's reign Frederick William IV.

The purpose of the creation of this innovative water system was to create a water connection between East Prussia and the Baltic Sea, which at that time provided opportunities for the economic development of this region.

In the nineteenth century, on Mazury for small industry began to develop intensively. The shallow Druzno lake had already been adapted to shipping.

Thus, the concept of connecting the lakes located between the Vistula and Pasłęka was created, but the obstacle was the large difference in lake levels.

Work on solving this problem and creating a canal began in 1837, and construction work began in 1844.

The first dry ramps, i.e. Buczyniec, Kąty, Oleśnica and Jelenie started to service the vessels in 1860.

The Elbląg Canal

The hydrotechnical works carried out were aimed at equalizing the water levels in water reservoirs along the entire route of the channel under construction. At that time, the water levels dropped to the level of Jeziorak, that is to 99,5 m above sea level, and thus even by over five meters (Sambród and Piniewo lakes).

The energy of water flowing from a higher level to a lower one is used to drive the ramp mechanism. The water sets the water wheel in motion, which in turn drives the ropes pulling the trolleys on the rails for transporting vessels.

The channel was opened for cargo shipping in 1861.

The last section of the canal from Ostróda to Stare Jabłonki via Pauzeńskie Lake 16,8 km long, it was put into use only in 1873 and due to its landscape values ​​and the protection of local nature, it is now available only for kayaks and sailing boats.

Initially The Elbląg Canal It was used mainly for the transport of agricultural produce, timber and industrial goods, and it was not until 1912 that the first tourists appeared on the trail.

They sailed for the first time along the canal on board a speedboat "seerose"(" Sea Rose ") owned by the shipping company Schiffs-Reederei Adolf Tetzlaff.

In the summer season of 1927, regular passenger cruises on the canal began.

The military operations carried out in these areas in 1945 caused significant damage to the equipment on the Elbląg Canal, but already in 1947 the canal was cleared again and passenger cruises were resumed.

In 2011, the Elbląg Canal was recognized as Monument of History.

He is currently the owner of the white fleet Żegluga Ostródzko-Elbląska Sp. z o. o in Ostróda.

Interesting facts:

  • the construction of the canal was about 10% more expensive than the construction of the Eiffel Tower in Paris
  • the costs incurred during the construction of the canal are worth 2,4 tons of gold
  • in the construction of the Elbląg Canal, lakes located at different heights between Ostróda and the Vistula Lagoon were used, and the level difference reaches 100 m
  • on each ramp there are two 24-tonne carts traveling in opposite directions
  • the slipway can accommodate ships weighing up to 50 tons going in one direction or two ships weighing up to 38 tons going in opposite directions simultaneously

When we visit The Elbląg Canal the route leads us through many interesting places and allows us to commune with the surrounding nature. We have several suggestions of water routes on the Elbląg Canal at our disposal.

We can choose "Szeląg Trail”Leading from Ostróda to Stare Jabłonki, during which we will admire the beautiful landscapes, and the 18-kilometer route will lead us through Drwęckie, Pauzeńskie, Szeląg Wielki and Szeląg Mały Lakes. We will also pass the locks twice, in Ostróda and Mała Rus.

Longer route "Ship on the grass”Takes almost 5 hours and leads from Elbląg to the Buczyniec marina. The route of this cruise runs through a section of the Elbląg Canal, on which there is a system of 5 slipways and an ornithological reserve on Lake Druzno.

It is on visitors to the Elbląg Canal that the slopes and sluices make the greatest impression.

During the trips through the Elbląg Canal, cruises on the section between Ostróda and Miłomłyn allow you to admire the beautiful panorama of the city ostróda.

The section near Miłomłyn is the oldest part of the Canal, and the Miłomłyn Lock is the 0,00 point from which the length of the Canal is measured.

During this cruise, we pass the Miłomłyn lock and the Green lock, i.e. chamber locks. Once the structure of these locks was made of wood, today it is concrete.

The section Ostróda - Miłomłyn is also part of the "Papal Trail”Because in the years 1957-1958 this was the route used by Karol Wojtyła.

"The trail of two slipways”We will sail from Buczyniec to Kąty and back. This short, two-hour cruise begins and ends in Buczyniec, where the Elbląg Canal History Chamber is located. The ship crosses the slipways in Buczyniec and Kąty twice, going down and up on the way back.

Elbląg Canal Cruises Price list 2020

APRIL JUNEtransport by bus85 pln
JULY AUGUSTcruise95 pln
transport by bus
SEPTEMBERcruise85 pln

For those willing to take a boat trip through the Elbląg Canal tickets available online or at Customer Service Offices.

Information about the Elbląg Canal:

  • navigable class: Ia
  • canal length: 84,2 km
  • total length of the canal with side branches: 151,7 km
  • length of the waterway between Ostróda and Elbląg: 82 km, between Ostróda and Iława: 48 km
  • total sum of level differences on locks and ramps: 103,4 meters
  • - minimum channel width: 7 meters
  • -width of the narrowest lock: 3,2 m - Ostróda Lock
  • - lock with the biggest difference in levels: 2,8 meters - Miłomłyn
  • - incline with the greatest difference in levels: 24,5 meters - Oleśnica

For those who want to visit the Elbląg Canal, a map of tourist routes.

Elbląg Canal - map of the trails

The part of the Channel from the lock in Miłomłyn to Lake Drwęckie was originally named Oberland Canal, today the name Kanał Elbląski is used.

The Bartnicki (Ducki) Canal connects the Ruda Woda Lake (Duckie) with the Barążek Lake.

Name Elbląg-Ostróda Canal It has been operating since 1947, and since 1947 the name Kanał Elbląski has also been used.

Today, the following names are used for individual sections of the waterway:

  • Elbląg Canal - on the section from Lake Drwęckie to Lake Druzno
  • Iławski Channel - on the section from Miłomłyn through Lake Karnickie and Lake Dauby to Lake Jeziorak
  • Ostróda Canal - on the section from Ostróda through Lake Pauzeńskie to Lake Szeląg Wielki and Szeląg Mały

On the section from Ostróda to Elbląg there is:

  • 5 slipways: Buczyniec, Kąty, Oleśnica, Jelenie, Całówny
  • 2 locks: Miłomłyn and Zielona

There are two additional locks along the entire canal: Ostróda and Mała Ruś.

In 2015, the revitalization of the canal was completed, consisting in the reconstruction of all five slipways, replacement of mechanical and hydrotechnical elements, strengthening the banks and desludging of the waterway.

A historical chamber was also established in Buczyniec with a multimedia room and an exhibition on the slipway equipment, and containing documents related to the design and construction of the canal along with the original signatures of its builder, Georg Jacob Steenke.

Tourists visiting Masuria and the Elbląg Canal will find accommodation in the area without any problems. Hotels and guesthouses, as well as agritourism farms, offering comfortable rooms and great food, await everyone who wants to relax in this beautiful place.


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