San (river)

Coordinates: 50°44′15″N 21°50′43″E / 50.73750°N 21.84528°E / 50.73750; 21.84528
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San River, Sanok, 2005
Vistula river map.png
San River in Vistula watershed
CountryPoland (457 km), Ukraine (1 km)
Physical characteristics
SourceUzhok pass
 • locationPiniashkovy Mount, Bukovec Mountains, Ukraine
 • coordinates49°00′19″N 22°52′43″E / 49.00528°N 22.87861°E / 49.00528; 22.87861
 • elevation900 m (3,000 ft)
 • location
Dąbrówka Pniowska, Sandomierz Basin, Poland
 • coordinates
50°44′15″N 21°50′43″E / 50.73750°N 21.84528°E / 50.73750; 21.84528
Length458 km (285 mi), S → N
Basin size16,877 km2 (6,516 sq mi)
 • average129 m3/s (4,600 cu ft/s)
Basin features
ProgressionVistulaBaltic Sea
Monument erected at the spring of San river, on Ukrainian-Polish border.
Leakage from the Lake Solina
Midsummer fire (Sobótka) at San river

The San (Polish: San; Ukrainian: Сян Sian; German: Saan) is a river in southeastern Poland and western Ukraine, a tributary of the river Vistula, with a length of 458 kilometres (285 mi) (it is the 6th-longest Polish river) and a basin area of 16,877 km2 (14,426 km2 of it in Poland).[1]


*San in proto-Indo-European languages means 'speed' or 'rapid stream'. In Celtic languages, san means 'river'.[2][3][4][5][6]


The San arises in the Carpathian Mountains near the village of Sianky, at an elevation of 900 metres (3,000 ft), exactly on the Polish-Ukrainian border[7] (49°00′10″N 22°52′30″E / 49.00278°N 22.87500°E / 49.00278; 22.87500) and on the continental watershed, and forms the border between Poland and Ukraine for approximately its first 50 km (31 mi). Poland's largest artificial lake, Lake Solina, was created by a dam on the San River near Lesko.


Left tributaries

  1. Wołosaty
  2. Solinka
  3. Hoczewka
  4. Osława
  5. Sanoczek
  6. Baryczka
  7. Wisłok

Right tributaries

  1. Czarna
  2. Olszanka
  3. Tyrawka
  4. Stupnica
  5. Wiar
  6. Wisznia
  7. Rada
  8. Shklo
  9. Lubaczówka
  10. Lubienia
  11. Trzebośnica
  12. Tanew
  13. Bukowa

History of the region[edit]

Historical records first mention the river in 1097 as Sanъ, reku Sanъ, k Sanovi; then as nad Sanomъ (1152) and Sanu (1287). On the old maps of the Ruthenian Voivodeship, Poland 1339–1772 it was referred to as "San" (1339), San (1372), "Szan" (1406), "Sanok" (1438), "Saan" (1439), "Sayn" (1445), "San" (1467), "Szan" (1517), and "Schan" (1526).[8]

Humans had first settled the southeastern region of present-day Poland (the Subcarpathian Voivodeship or Podkarpacie) in prehistoric times. In the pre-Roman era various tribes, including the Celts, Goths and Vandals (Przeworsk culture and Puchov culture)[9] overran the area. After the fall of the Roman Empire, Hungarians and Slavs invaded the area.

The San valley must have become an important trade-route and axis of human settlement as early as the 9th or 10th century.[citation needed] The region subsequently became part of the Great Moravian state. Upon the invasion of the Hungarian tribes into the heart of the Great Moravian Empire around 899, the Lendians of the area declared their allegiance to the Hungarian Empire. The region then became a site of contention between Poland, Kievan Rus and Hungary starting in around the 9th century. This area was mentioned for the first time in 981 (by Nestor), when Volodymyr the Great of Kievan Rus took the area over on his way into Poland. In 1018 it returned to Poland, in 1031 reverted to Rus, and in 1340 was recovered by Casimir III of Poland.

During the years 966–1018, 1340–1772 (the Ruthenian Voivodeship) and 1918–1939, the region was part of Poland. Between 1772 and 1918 it belonged to the Austrian empire, which became the Austro-Hungarian empire when the double monarchy was introduced. This region, including the area west and east of the Subcarpathian Voivodship, was controlled by Austria for almost 120 years. During that time it was known as Galicia.

Ukrainians traditionally associated the San with their ethnographic western frontier: this is reflected in the State Anthem of Ukraine (which describes Ukraine as extending from the San to the Don) and the March of Ukrainian Nationalists (which calls for a Ukraine from the San to the Caucasus). The Poland–Ukraine border today follows the San for approximately the first 50 km of its course.

The San River, which has seen many battles in its history, was a battle site at the beginning of World War II in 1939. At the outset of the German invasion of Poland, Polish forces attempted to defend a line along the San from September 6, until German forces broke out of their bridgeheads on September 12.


See also[edit]


  1. ^ Statistical Yearbook of the Republic of Poland 2017, Statistics Poland, p. 85-86
  2. ^ "Puisqu'il est impossible de les enumerer tous citons moins: Brda, Brenna, Bzura, Drwęca, Mroga, Nida, Raba, San, etc. Bzura selon Jan Rozwadowski correspond avec Brigulos, Drwęca aves Druentia, Durance, Nida avec Nidder, Raba avec Raab, San avec Sadne et Seine." [in:] Ethnologia Polona. Instytut Historii Kultury Materialnej (Polska Akademia Nauk). 1981. p. 49.
  3. ^ "[...] San lateinische Graphie wie bei Sandomierz, Santok usw. Vgl. altind. sindhu- "Fluß", den irischen GN Shannon und den Maizzufluß Sinn" [in:] Irena Kwilecka. Etnolingwistyczne i kulturowe związki Słowian z Germanami. Instytut Słowianoznawstwa PAN. 1987. ISBN 83-04-02472-1 S. 64.
  4. ^ "An adouci en san, eau, rivière; stach, sinueux, qui tourne. Allusion au cours sinueux de la Charente". op. cit. Antiq. de France. [in:] Revue des ëtudes historiques. Société des études historiques. 1835. p.242.; Senne, nom propre de rivière. - Scène, ». L liou on l'on joue. — Seine, sf, sorte de «lot. 17. Cen», sm, impôt. — San, np Sen», sm, jugement [...]". [in:] Dictionnaire de pédagogie et d'instruction primaire. Ferdinand Edouard Buisson. 1883. p. 980.
  5. ^ "Le terme sawn « cleft, gully » est rapproché du breton san, saon s.f. « aqueduct, san-dour »." Études celtiques. Société d'Éditions "Les Belles Lettres", 1985 p. 337.
  6. ^ "La racine san est à la base des patronymes: Sangnier, Sagne, Sagnolle, Lassassaigne et Delassassaigne dont un ancentre a habitè près d'un marais." [in:] Paul Bailly. Toponymie en Seine-et-Marne: noms de lieux. Editions Amatteis, 1989. p. 77.
  7. ^ "PLFOTO - internetowe forum fotograficzne". Retrieved 2 February 2016.
  8. ^ Adam Fastnacht, Slownik Historyczno-Geograficzny Ziemi Sanockiej w Średniowieczu (Historic-Geographic Dictionary of the Sanok District in the Middle Ages), Kraków, 2002, ISBN 83-88385-14-3. V. 2. San
  9. ^ "It is possible to separate the group of La Tène culture (Celtic settlement) in the Upper Tisza Basin. For the time being there are about 160 sites noted. They can be divided into several distinct categories which include the following: settlements, production areas, sepulchral sites, i.e., burial grounds and single graves as well as various hoards (deposits of coins and tools). Moreover, there are three oppida: Zemplin, Bükkszentlászló and Galish-Lovačka. The chronology of the whole group lies between LT B1-LT D1/D2. Especially interesting is the problem of correspondence between this group and the group of sites in southeast Poland. Material connections are also documented in ancient sources. They allow to identify the group from Upper Tisza as the Anarti tribe and the group from southeast Poland as the Anartophracti, which is a part of the former." [in:] Marek Olędzki. La Tène culture in the Upper Tisza Basin =La Culture de la Tene dans le Bassin de la Haute Tisza. Ethnographisch-archaeologische Zeitschrift. ISSN 0012-7477