Astrakhan' (Астрахань), a major city in southern European Russia, capital of Astrakhan 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 (2002): 506,400.