The Volga-Don canal. Connecting the Volga and the Caspian with Central Asia to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.

Volga-Don Channel (source: http://www.gearthhacks.com)

Description: The Volga-Don Canal (Russian: ) connects the Volga River and the Don River. A canal said to be "connecting Asia with Europe", joining of the five seas: the Baltic Sea, the Black Sea, the White Sea, the Sea of Azov and the Caspian Sea. Take this tour from Volgograd, former Stalingrad on the Volga river to the canal estuary into the Don river. The length of the waterway is 101 kilometers (63 miles) of which the 56 km (35 mi) is digged canals and the remaining 45 km (28 mi) is through rivers and reservoirs. The canal has 13 locks and rises 88 meter and then fall 44 meters along the total length of the canal. That way, the Don River raises 44 meters above the Volga River through their connection. To ensure adequate quantities and levels of water in the canal, there are 3 pumping stations (Karpovsky, Marinovsky, Varvarovskoy) that pumps water back to the canal from the Tsimlyanskoye vodokhranilishche (reservoir) south-west of the canal estuary into the Don River.. 

In 1569 the Turkish Sultan Selim II sent 22,000 troops up the Don to dig a canal between the two rivers. However, only a month later, the Turks retreated giving up the project. In 1697, Peter the Great decided to build the canal between the tributaries of the Volga and Don rivers, Reed and Ilovlya, but, because of a lack of resources and other problems, this was abandoned in 1701. In 1701, a second construction attempt was initiated, far north of the current canal, known as the Ivanovsky Canal. This canal was actually opened with 24 locks. 300 ships managed, under remarkably difficult navigation conditions, in 1707 to pass the canal. For more than 200 years, from 1709 to early 1930'es, mainly financial and changing political difficulties stopped the construction of the original canal and maintenance of the Ivanovsky canal. The current canal construction project was established in the mid-1930'es, but paused because of World War 2 / the Great Patriotic War. The Volga-Don Canal construction was resumed in February 1948 and completed only 4.5 years later where navigation was opened June 1, 1952. 

About the "Volga-Don-Canal" tour: Take a tour along the waterway which consist of several locks and reservoirs to cross to make the trip between the two main transportation rivers in mid Asia/Europe. Tour creator: Tom Kjeldsen, created august 2010. Recommended to be viewed as a 'Play tour' in Google Earth with terrain feature enabled. 




 Astrakhan  is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative centerof 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. Population: 520,339 (2010 Census);

Astrakhan is situated in the Volga Delta, 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 multinational and variegated character.

For seventeen months in 16701671 Astrakhan was held by Stenka Razin and hisCossacks. Early in the following century, Peter the Great constructed a shipyardhere 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 includedArtemy 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 Persians; and in 1830 the cholera swept away a large number of its people.

FOR CONTINUATION (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Astrakhan)








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