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Look into the History of Astrakhan

If you travel to the southern parts of European Russia, you will find a large city known as ‘Astrakhan’. This important city serves as the administrative center of the Astrakhan Oblast and is home to roughly 500 000 people. Astrakhan is situated on the banks of the Volga River not far from the point where it empties into the Caspian Sea. Its name, which is taken from the old Turkic-Hun word “As-Tarkhan”, is just one of the many small indications that this now large Russian city enjoys a very long and interesting history.

This bustling metropolis is established in an area that is rich in plant and animal life. Before the establishment of the city, the area was the main base of trade for Khazaria and the Golden Horde. The earliest reference to a city here was made in the 13th century, and by 1395 it had already been razed to the ground, only to be rebuilt and improved on soon afterwards. Its luxurious position on the Volga Delta ensured that the city enjoyed continuous use and it was often given the privilege of acting as the capital city of the region. The ruins of the medieval settlement known as Xacitarxan, which existed between 1459 and 1556, have been uncovered today just 12 kilometers away from the city’s present location.

The city of Astrakhan in Russia really started to gain importance and wealth in the 17th century after it was opened up to Russian traffic. It soon became Russia’s primary gateway to the orient and a number of merchants from Persia, Khiva, India and Armenia settled in the area when they saw that such a move would be very prosperous. Because of this, Astrakhan has long enjoyed a very cosmopolitan atmosphere.

Today this very ancient city has a very modern feel to it. Trade continues to flourish – though recent years have seen a decrease in the number of citizens instead of the increase one might expect. Older parts of the city are filled with wonderful examples of Russian architecture while the multi-cultural influences of the city’s inhabitants can be seen in virtually every nook and cranny. Three notable attractions include Astrakhan’s Kremlin and the two impressive cathedrals which were consecrated in the early 1700s. So visit this great city and learn more about its history, people and culture for yourself!

 



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