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Upper Meža near Črna
Origin Mt. Olševa near Eisenkappel
46°28′9″N 14°41′13″E / 46.46917°N 14.68694°E / 46.46917; 14.68694
Mouth Drava near Dravograd
46°35′11″N 15°1′20″E / 46.58639°N 15.02222°E / 46.58639; 15.02222Coordinates: 46°35′11″N 15°1′20″E / 46.58639°N 15.02222°E / 46.58639; 15.02222
Basin countries Carinthia, Austria
Length 43 km (27 mi)[1]
Source elevation 1,358 m (4,455 ft)
Basin area 537.2 km2 (207.4 sq mi)

The Meža (Slovene) or Mieß (German) is a river in the Austrian state of Carinthia and in Slovenia, a right tributary of the Drava.


It has its source on the Austrian side of the border north of Mount Olševa in the Karawanks range, becomes subterranean a kilometre from its source, and reappears on the surface in Koprivna west of Črna na Koroškem in Slovenia. From Črna the river turns northwards and flows between the slopes of the Peca massif and the St. Ursula Mountain to Mežica and Poljana. From here the river again flows eastwards to Prevalje, and Ravne na Koroškem, and into the Drava River at Dravograd.

In its first part the Meža falls rapidly and is a typical Alpine river with its tributaries from the Kamnik Alps and the Karawanks mountain range. After Črna it becomes a slow meandering lowland river. Its main tributary is the Mislinja River, which joins the Meža River only a couple of hundred meters before the confluence with the Drava.

19th century postcard of the Ravne Steelworks

The Meža Valley (Mežiška dolina or Mießtal) within the southern Karawanks range was part of the Austrian Duchy of Carinthia up to 1919, before it was ceded to the Kingdom of Serbs, Croats and Slovenes according to the Treaty of Saint-Germain-en-Laye. Together with the adjacent Mislinja Valley and the Municipality of Jezersko, it forms the traditional Carinthia (Koroška) region of independent Slovenia since 1991.

The Meža is noted for being the most polluted river in Slovenia. In 1982 the singer-songwriter Marijan Smode wrote a song about it titled Mrtva reka (The Dead River). This song has even been published in primary school textbooks. The main polluter has been the Ravne Steelworks (Železarna Ravne) conglomerate.


  1. ^ "Reke, dolge nad 25 km, in njihova padavinska območja" [Rivers, longer than 25 km, and their catchment areas] (in Slovene and English). Statistical Office of the Republic of Slovenia. 2002. 

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