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Astrakhan (English)
Астрахань (Russian)
—  Inhabited locality  —
Astrakhan panoramaofcenter.jpg
The Volga embankment in downtown Astrakhan.
Map of Russia - Astrakhan Oblast (2008-03).svg
Location of Astrakhan Oblast on the map of Russia
Astrakhan is located in Astrakhan Oblast
Location of Astrakhan on the map of Astrakhan Oblast
Coordinates: 46°21′N 48°03′E / 46.35°N 48.05°E / 46.35; 48.05Coordinates: 46°21′N 48°03′E / 46.35°N 48.05°E / 46.35; 48.05
Coat of Arms of Astrakhan.png
Coat of arms
Flag of Astrakhan.png
Administrative status
Country Russia
Federal subject Astrakhan Oblast
Administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast[citation needed]
Municipal status
Municipal Status Urban okrug
City Head[citation needed] Sergey Bozhenov[citation needed]
Representative body City Duma[citation needed]
Area 500 km2 (193.1 sq mi)[citation needed]
Population (2002 Census) 502,800 inhabitants[1]
Rank 33
- Density 1,006 /km2 (2,600/sq mi)[2]
Time zone MSK/MSD (UTC+3/+4)
Founded 1558[citation needed]
Postal code(s) 414000..414057[citation needed]
Dialing code(s) +7 8512[citation needed]
Official website

Astrakhan (Russian: А́страхань; Tatar: Әстерхан, Ästerxan; Persian: حاجی‌ترخان Haji-Tarkhan) is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the left bank of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 23 metres below sea level. Population: 502,800 (2004 est.); 504,501 (2002 Census); 509,210 (1989 Census).


Medieval history

Astrakhan' is situated in the Volga Delta, rich in sturgeon and exotic plants. The fertile area formerly contained the capitals of Khazaria and the Golden Horde. Astrakhan' itself was first mentioned by travellers in the early 13th century as Xacitarxan. Tamerlane burnt it to the ground in 1395. From 1459 to 1556, Xacitarxan was the capital of Astrakhan Khanate. The ruins of this medieval settlement were found by archaeologists 12 km upstream from the modern-day city.

In 1556, the khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new fortress, or kremlin, built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga. In 1569, Astrakhan' was besieged by the Cossack Ottoman army, which had to retreat in disarray. A year later, the Sultan renounced his claims to Astrakhan, thus opening the entire Volga River to Russian traffic. In the 17th century, the city was developed as a Russian gate to the Orient. Many merchants from Armenia, Persia, India and Khiva settled in the downtown, giving it a multinational and variegated character.

Modern history

Astrakhan in the 17th century.

For seventeen months in 1670–1671 Astrakhan' was held by Stenka Razin and his Cossacks. Early in the following century, Peter the Great constructed a shipyard here and made Astrakhan the base for his hostilities against Persia, and later in the same century Catherine II accorded the city important industrial privileges.

The city rebelled against the tsar once again in 1705, when it was held by the Cossacks under Kondraty Bulavin. A Kalmuck khan laid an abortive siege to the kremlin several years prior to that.

In 1711, it became a capital of a guberniya, whose first governors included Artemy Petrovich Volynsky and Vasily Nikitich Tatishchev. Six years later, Astrakhan served as a base for the first Russian venture into Central Asia. In 1702, 1718, and 1767, it suffered severely from fires; in 1719 it was plundered by the Persians; and in 1830 the cholera swept away a large number of its people.

Astrakhan's kremlin was built from the 1580s to the 1620s from bricks pillaged at the site of Sarai Berke. Its two impressive cathedrals were consecrated in 1700 and 1710, respectively. Built by masters from Yaroslavl, they retain many traditional features of Russian church architecture, while their exterior decoration is definitely baroque.

In the autumn of 1942, the region to the west of Astrakhan became one of the easternmost points in the Soviet Union reached by the invading German Wehrmacht, during Case Blue, the offensive which led to the Battle of Stalingrad. Light armoured forces of German Army Group A made brief scouting missions as close as 100 km to the city before withdrawing. In the same period, the Luftwaffe flew several air raids on the oil terminals and harbour installations of the city.


Astrakhan has five institutions of higher education. Most prominent prominent among these are Astrakhan State Technical University and Astrakhan State University.

Notable people


The city is served by Narimanovo Airport.

International relations


Twin towns

Astrakhan is twinned with:


  1. ^ Федеральная служба государственной статистики (Federal State Statistics Service) (2004-05-21). "Численность населения России, субъектов Российской Федерации в составе федеральных округов, районов, городских поселений, сельских населённых пунктов – районных центров и сельских населённых пунктов с населением 3 тысячи и более человек (Population of Russia, its federal districts, federal subjects, districts, urban localities, rural localities—administrative centers, and rural localities with population of over 3,000)" (in Russian). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года (All-Russia Population Census of 2002). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 2009-08-19. 
  2. ^ The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2002 Census population by the area specified in the infobox. Please note that this value may not be accurate as the area specified in the infobox does not necessarily correspond to the area of the entity proper or is reported for the same year as the Census (2002).

External links

Travel guide

Up to date as of January 14, 2010

From Wikitravel

Uspensky Cathedral
Uspensky Cathedral

Astrakhan is a city in Russia.


The city is located on the Volga River near the mouth of the Caspian Sea, and it has a population of around 500,000.

Get in

Direct trains run from Moscow to Astrakhan every other day. Platzkart coach seats cost RUR 1,300 one way.

There is no coach service from Astrakhan to Moscow.

  • Ribnii Rinok (Fish Market). Located close to the train station and bus terminal, this is a quintessential Astrakhan find. Here you can find every sort of smoked, dried (vyalenaya) and other fish at very affordable prices.  edit
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1911 encyclopedia

Up to date as of January 14, 2010
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From LoveToKnow 1911

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Up to date as of January 15, 2010

Definition from Wiktionary, a free dictionary

See also astrakhan




  • IPA: /æstrə'kæn/

Proper noun


  1. a Tatar city and region in Russia, located on the Volga River, conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1556.
  2. (archaic) astrakhan fleece
    • 1891: Heavy bands of Astrakhan were slashed across the sleeves and fronts of his double-breasted coat — Arthur Conan Doyle, ‘A Scandal In Bohemia’ (Norton 2005 p.14)



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