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Astrakhan

Astrakhan', Астрахань, a major city in southern European Russia, capital of Astrakhanskaya oblast'. The city lies on the Volga river, close to where it empties into the Caspian Sea. Astrakhan' contains a kremlin dating from the 1580s, a cathedral (early 18th century), and a university. The city was probably settled under the Mongol dynasties of the 13th century. Ivan IV[?] conquered Astrakhan' in 1556, thus opening the entire Volga River to Russian traffic, and it became an important trade center.

Population (1999): 483,700.

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