/as"treuh kan'/; Russ. /u strddu khahn"/, n.a city in the S Russian Federation in Europe, at the mouth of the Volga. 461,000.
* * *City (pop., 2001 est.: 479,700), southwestern Russia.It is situated on several islands in the delta of the Volga River. It was the capital of a Tatar khanate that became independent of the Golden Horde in the 13th century, and its location on caravan and water routes made it a trading centre. Ivan IV (the Terrible) conquered Astrakhan in 1556, giving Russia control of the Volga. The Turks burned the city in 1569. It served as the base for the campaign of Peter I (the Great) against Persia and was given special trade privileges by Catherine II. Sites of interest include a fortress and a cathedral.
* * *▪ Russiaformerly Khadzhi-Tarkhan,city and administrative centre of Astrakhan oblast (province), southwestern Russia. Astrakhan city is situated in the delta of the Volga River, 60 miles (100 km) from the Caspian Sea. It lies on several islands on the left bank of the main, westernmost channel of the Volga. Astrakhan was formerly the capital of a Tatar khanate, a remnant of the Golden Horde, located on the higher right bank of the Volga, 7 miles (11 km) from the present-day city. Situated on caravan and water routes, it developed from a village into a large trading centre. It was conquered by Timur (Tamerlane) in 1395 and captured by Ivan IV the Terrible in 1556. In 1558 it was moved to its present site. A cathedral and castle (kremlin, 1582–89) are still in existence. The great ethnic diversity of its population gives a varied character to Astrakhan. A city of bridges and water channels, it is an important river port, but because of the shallowness of the northern Caspian, seagoing craft have to transship about 125 miles (200 km) by road from Astrakhan, which is reached by a dredged channel. The city is the base of a large fishing fleet and is important as a fish-canning and caviar-preserving centre. Other industries include clothing and footwear manufacture and ship repair. Astrakhan fur, from the karakul lamb of Central Asia, is so named because it was first brought to Russia by Astrakhan traders. There are medical and teacher-training institutes. Pop. (2006 est.) 498,953.oblast (province), Russia, occupying an area of 17,027 square miles (44,100 square km) along the lower Volga River. The Volga and its parallel distributary, the Akhtuba, form the axis of the oblast, ending in a large delta. The majority of the population lives in the delta area around the city of Astrakhan, the administrative centre. Vegetables and fruit are grown on the fertile fields enriched by the Volga. Fishing is important along the rivers and Caspian shore, but it has suffered from pollution and the falling sea level. A major nature reserve in the delta protects the unique vegetation—including the lotus (Nelumbium caspicum)—and abundant birdlife—including pelicans and herons. Outside the floodplain and delta is an arid steppe–semidesert region, with sand dunes, saline soils and lakes, and a sparse sage vegetation; it is used only for extensive cattle and sheep raising and large-scale salt extraction at Lake Baskunchak. Pop. (2002) 1,007,276.
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