Astrakhan is an atmospheric provincial capital. Built in 1558 after Ivan the Terrible defeated the local Tatar khanate, Astrakhan is the successor of two imperial capitals, Saray and Itil, key stops for the Silk Route and sea trade. With the completion of the impressive Moscow-Volga Canal in 1937, the capital was finally linked to the great system of waterways that runs from St Petersburg on the Gulf of Finland all the way to Astrakhan on the Caspian Sea. As a result, it is possible today to follow the entire trade route along the Volga, from Moscow all the way to Astrakhan, the ancient capital of the Tatars.


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