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Astrakhan

Astrakhan ăs´trəkăn, Rus. ä´strəkhənyə [key], city (1990 pop. 521,000), capital of Astrakhan region, SE European Russia. A Caspian Sea port on the Volga River's southern delta, it is a center for river transport thanks to a canal built for barge traffic. Astrakhan is also an important rail junction and a major transshipment center for oil, fish, grain, and wood. The capital of the khanate of Astrakhan (see Tatars ) from the 1460s, it was conquered by Ivan the Terrible in 1556. Astrakhan had a flourishing trade with Persia, Khiva, and Bukhara until 1917. It has a kremlin (1587–89) and a cathedral (1700–1710).

The Columbia Electronic Encyclopedia, 6th ed. Copyright © 2012, Columbia University Press. All rights reserved.

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