Swiss Rivers & Lakes
· River Kleine Emme
River Reuss originates at the north face of St. Gotthard massif in Central Switzerland, forces itself through Schöllenen canyon (a natural obstacle that blocked the way from Lucerne to southern Switzerland and Italy until the 13th century), runs down all of canton Uri to feed Lake Lucerne.
The city of Lucerne sits right at the end of the lake. Shortly after leaving Lake Lucerne River Reuss, a natural barrier forces the river to turn right to the north-east and not much later again to the left / north. Wohlen and Bremgarten are two minor towns on the way down to Brugg, where it joins River Aare.
Orange: drainage area of Rivers Reuss and Kleine Emme
River Kleine Emme originates in the Lucerne (eastern) part of the prealpine hills between the valleys of Rivers Aare and Reuss. Just to bewilder nowadays tourists, the inhabitants of the region refused to find two different names for their main rivers running to the west and to the east. So the only distinction (if at all used) is the adjective "Grosse" [grand] for the western Emme joining River Aare and "Kleine" [small] for the eastern Emme joining River Reuss.
The valley of River Kleine Emme is not called Emmen valley, however, as one might expect. Its name is Entlebuch, derived from a village in the valley.
River Kleine Emme is relatively short and joins River Reuss just below Lucerne at a town called Emmen. When the first railway line from Olten to Lucerne was built, Emmen was a still a small village and the train line passed it by in the west in order to find an optimal way through the hills that force Rivers Reuss and Emme to turn to the east at this point. So the train station built right next to the bridge over River Emme was called Emmenbrücke [Emmen Bridge] and most people in Switzerland know the town that has grown considerably during the 20th century by this name, though its official name is still just Emmen.
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