The Spree is a river that flows through the German states of Saxony, Brandenburg and Berlin, as well as part of the Czech Republic. Approximately 400 kilometres (250 mi) in length, it is a left tributary of the Havel, which itself flows into the Elbe and then the North Sea. It is the river on which the original centre of Berlin was built.
The Spree rises in the Lusatian Highlands near the Czech border, running along the border for a short distance before leaving the mountains and passing through the old city of Bautzen in Upper Lusatia. It then passes Spremberg and Cottbus before entering the Spreewald, a large wetland in Lower Lusatia. The Spree flows into the Neuendorfer See at the northern edge of the Spreewald. From there it heads east to the Schwielochsee, and then north and west to Fürstenwalde. It then flows westwards to Köpenick in the southeastern part of Berlin, where it is joined by the Dahme. The final and best-known reach of the Spree flows through the centre of Berlin to join the Havel in Spandau. On its way through Berlin, the river passes Berlin Cathedral, the Reichstag and Schloss Charlottenburg. Museum Island, with its five major museums, is an island in the Spree; and the Badeschiff is a floating swimming pool moored in the Spree. → more...</onlyinclude>