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For other uses of "Astrakhan", see Astrakhan (disambiguation).
Astrakhan (English)
Астрахань (Russian)
-  City  -
Astrahan collage.png
Map of Russia - Astrakhan Oblast (2008-03).svg
Location of Astrakhan Oblast in Russia
Astrakhan is located in Astrakhan Oblast
Location of Astrakhan in Astrakhan Oblast
Coordinates: 46°19′25″N 48°02′12″E / 46.32361°N 48.03667°E / 46.32361; 48.03667Coordinates: 46°19′25″N 48°02′12″E / 46.32361°N 48.03667°E / 46.32361; 48.03667
Coat of Arms of Astrakhan.png
Flag of Astrakhan.png
Coat of arms
Administrative status (as of December 2010)
Country Russia
Federal subject Astrakhan Oblast
Administratively subordinated to city of oblast significance of Astrakhan[1]
Administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast, city of oblast significance of Astrakhan[1]
Municipal status (as of December 2010)
Urban okrug Astrakhan Urban Okrug[2]
Administrative center of Astrakhan Urban Okrug[2]
City Head[citation needed] Mikhail Stolyarov[3]
Representative body City Duma[citation needed]
Area 208.69 km2 (80.58 sq mi)[4][5]
Population (2010 Census) 520,339 inhabitants[6]
Rank in 2010 33rd
Density 2,493/km2 (6,460/sq mi)[7]
Time zone MSK (UTC+03:00)[8]
Founded 1558[9]
City status since 1717[10][11]
Postal code(s)[12] 414000-414057
Dialing code(s) +7 8512[citation needed]
Official website
Astrakhan on WikiCommons

Astrakhan (Russian: Астрахань; IPA: [ˈastrəxənʲ]) is a city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on two banks of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level. As of the 2010 Census, its population was 520,339;[6] up from 504,501 recorded in the 2002 Census[13] and 509,210 recorded in the 1989 Census.[14]

The oldest economic and cultural center of the Lower Volga,[15] it is often called the southernmost outpost of Russia[16] and the Caspian capital. The city is a member of the Eurasian Regional Office of the World Organization "United Cities and Local Governments"[17] Its population is diverse and includes one hundred ethnicities and fourteen religious denominations.[15]

The city is located in the upper part of the Volga delta, on eleven islands of the Caspian Depression. The distance to Moscow by road is 1,411 kilometers (877 mi).[18]


Medieval history[edit]

Main article: Xacitarxan

Astrakhan is situated in the Volga Delta, which is 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 travelers 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 town, giving it a cosmopolitan character.

Modern history[edit]

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 the Great 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 the seat of a governorate, 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. It was granted town status in 1717.[citation needed] In 1702, 1718, and 1767, it suffered severely from fires; in 1719 it was plundered by the Safavid Persians; and in 1830, cholera killed much of the populace.

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 March 1919 after a failed workers' revolt against Bolshevik rule, thousands of people were executed by the Cheka under orders from Sergey Kirov. Some victims had stones tied around their necks and were thrown into the Volga.[19]

During Operation Barbarossa, the German invasion of the Soviet Union in 1941, the A-A line running from Astrakhan to Arkhangelsk was to be the eastern limit of German military operation and occupation. The plan was never effected, as Germany captured neither the two cities nor Moscow. 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 armored 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 attacked the city, flying several air raids and bombing the city's oil terminals and harbor installations.

Mayoral election of 2012[edit]

After fraud was alleged in the mayoral election of 2012 and the United Russia candidate was declared the winner, organizers of the 2011–2012 Russian protests supported the defeated candidate, Oleg V. Shein of Just Russia, in a hunger strike. Substantial evidence of fraud was cited by the protesters but an official investigation failed to find significant violations.[3] The activists from Moscow found it difficult to gain traction over the issue with local residents who, like most Russians, accept political corruption as a given that is useless to protest.[20] The emissaries from Moscow persisted, buoyed by celebrities who support the reform movement, drawing 5,000 to a rally on April 14.[21]

Administrative and municipal status[edit]

Astrakhan is the administrative center of the oblast.[citation needed] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the city of oblast significance of Astrakhan—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, the city of oblast significance of Astrakhan is incorporated as Astrakhan Urban Okrug.[2]


Astrakhan features a temperate continental "Aralian" semi-arid climate with cold winters and hot summers. Astrakhan is one of the driest cities in Europe. Rainfall is scarce but relatively evenly distributed throughout the course of the year with, however, more precipitation (58%) in the hot season (6 hottest months of the year), which determines the "Aralian" type (as opposed to the "Turkmenon" type, with the wet season during the cold months).

It's this even distribution of rainfall and the relatively low annual temperature that causes the city to fall under this climate category as opposed to an arid climate.

Winters tend to be cold in the city, though by Russian standards, Astrakhan features relatively balmy winters. Summers in the city can be hot, with high temperatures in excess of 40 °C (104 °F). The mean annual temperature amplitude (difference between the mean monthly temperatures of the hottest and coldest months) is thus equal to 29.2 °C (52.6 °F) (25.6 °C (78.1 °F) in July and −3.6 °C (25.5 °F) in January), so the climate is truly continental (amplitudes superior or equal to 21 °C (70 °F) determines continental climates, while in semi-continental climates amplitudes vary between 18 °C (64 °F) and 21 °C (70 °F)). Spring and fall are basically transitional seasons between summer and winter.

Climate data for Astrakhan
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 14.0
Average high °C (°F) −0.1
Daily mean °C (°F) −3.6
Average low °C (°F) −6.5
Record low °C (°F) −31.8
Precipitation mm (inches) 16
Snowfall cm (inches) 5
Avg. precipitation days (≥ 1.0 mm) 4 3 4 3 3 3 3 3 3 3 4 4 40
Mean monthly sunshine hours 86.8 106.4 164.3 225.0 294.5 315.0 331.7 310.0 252.0 179.8 84.0 58.9 2,408.4
Source:,[22] Hong Kong Observatory[23] for data of avg. precipitation days and sunshine hours


Main building of the Astrakhan State University

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


Narimanovo Airport[edit]

The city is served by Narimanovo Airport. It is managed by OAO Aeroport Astrakhan. After its reconstruction and the building of the international sector - opened in February 2011 - Narimanovo Airport is one of the most modern regional airports in Russia. There are direct flights between Astrakhan and Aktau, Baku, Yerevan and Moscow.

Train connections[edit]

Astrakhan is linked by rail to the north (Volgograd and Moscow), the east (Atyrau and Kazakhstan) and the south (Makhachkala and Baku). There are direct trains to Moscow, Volgograd, Saint Petersburg, Baku, Kiev, Brest and other towns.

Local transport[edit]

Astrakhan no longer has a tramway system. Public local transport is mainly provided by trolleybuses, buses and minibuses which is called marshrutkas.

Notable people[edit]

International relations[edit]

Twin towns and sister cities[edit]

Astrakhan is twinned with:



  1. ^ a b c Law #67/2006-OZ
  2. ^ a b c Law #43/2004-OZ
  3. ^ a b David M. Herzenhorn (April 10, 2012). "Moscow Protesters Try to Expand Movement". The New York Times. Retrieved April 11, 2012. 
  4. ^ Росстат. База данных показателей муниципальных образований.
  5. ^ Генеральный план города Астрахань. Основные технико-экономические показатели.
  6. ^ a b Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). "Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1" [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года (2010 All-Russia Population Census) (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved June 29, 2012. 
  7. ^ The value of density was calculated automatically by dividing the 2010 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 population.
  8. ^ Правительство Российской Федерации. Федеральный закон №107-ФЗ от 3 июня 2011 г. «Об исчислении времени», в ред. Федерального закона №248-ФЗ от 21 июля 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в Федеральный закон "Об исчислении времени"». Вступил в силу по истечении шестидесяти дней после дня официального опубликования (6 августа 2011 г.). Опубликован: "Российская газета", №120, 6 июня 2011 г. (Government of the Russian Federation. Federal Law #107-FZ of June 31, 2011 On Calculating Time, as amended by the Federal Law #248-FZ of July 21, 2014 On Amending Federal Law "On Calculating Time". Effective as of after sixty days following the day of the official publication.).
  9. ^ Энциклопедия Города России. Moscow: Большая Российская Энциклопедия. 2003. p. 28. ISBN 5-7107-7399-9. 
  10. ^ [The Information portal of Astrakhan]
  11. ^ Курбатов А. А. История Астраханского края (с древнейших времён до конца XIX века): Монография.-: Астрахань, 2007.- 184с.
  12. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (Russian)
  13. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (May 21, 2004). "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] (XLS). Всероссийская перепись населения 2002 года [All-Russia Population Census of 2002] (in Russian). Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  14. ^ Demoscope Weekly (1989). "Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 г. Численность наличного населения союзных и автономных республик, автономных областей и округов, краёв, областей, районов, городских поселений и сёл-райцентров" [All Union Population Census of 1989: Present Population of Union and Autonomous Republics, Autonomous Oblasts and Okrugs, Krais, Oblasts, Districts, Urban Settlements, and Villages Serving as District Administrative Centers]. Всесоюзная перепись населения 1989 года[All-Union Population Census of 1989] (in Russian). Институт демографии Национального исследовательского университета: Высшая школа экономики [Institute of Demography at the National Research University: Higher School of Economics]. Retrieved August 9, 2014. 
  15. ^ a b Официальный сайт органов местного самоуправления.
  16. ^ «Российская газета» — Спецвыпуск № 4762.
  17. ^ Члены ОГМВ Евразия
  18. ^ Автомобильный портал грузоперевозок.
  19. ^
  20. ^ David M. Herszenhorn (April 12, 2012). "Opposition Finds Apathy Over Election in Russia City By DAVID M. HERSZENHORN". The New York Times. Retrieved April 13, 2012. 
  21. ^ David M. Herszenhorn (April 14, 2012). "Moscow Protesters Take Their Show on the Road". The New York Times. Retrieved April 15, 2012. 
  22. ^
  23. ^ "Climatological Information for Astrahan, Russia" - Hong Kong Observatory


  • Государственная Дума Астраханской области. Закон №67/2006-ОЗ от 4 октября 2006 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Астраханской области», в ред. Закона №49/2014-ОЗ от 4 сентября 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в статьи 17 и 18 Закона Астраханской области "О статусе губернатора Астраханской области" и Закон Астраханской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Астраханской области"». Вступил в силу по истечении 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Сборник законов и нормативных правовых актов Астраханской области", №47, 19 октября 2006 г. (State Duma of Astrakhan Oblast. Law #67/2006-OZ of October 4, 2006 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Astrakhan Oblast, as amended by the Law #49/2014-OZ of September 4, 2014 On Amending Articles 17 and 18 of the Law of Astrakhan Oblast "On the Status of the Governor of Astrakhan Oblast" and the Law of Astrakhan Oblast "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Astrakhan Oblast". Effective as of after ten days from the day of the official publication have passed.).
  • Государственная Дума Астраханской области. Закон №43/2004-ОЗ от 6 августа 2004 г. «Об установлении границ муниципальных образований и наделении их статусом сельского, городского поселения, городского округа, муниципального района», в ред. Закона №58/2014-ОЗ от 1 октября 2014 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Астраханской области "Об установлении границ муниципальных образований и наделении их статусом сельского, городского поселения, городского округа, муниципального района"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней со дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Астраханские известия", №34, 12 августа 2004 г. (State Duma of Astrakhan Oblast. Law #43/2004-OZ of August 6, 2004 On Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations and on Granting Them the Status of Rural, Urban Settlement, Urban Okrug, Municipal District, as amended by the Law #58/2014-OZ of October 1, 2014 On Amending the Law of Astrakhan Oblast "On Establishing the Borders of the Municipal Formations and on Granting Them the Status of Rural, Urban Settlement, Urban Okrug, Municipal District". Effective as of the day which is 10 days after the official publication.).

External links[edit]