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City (pop., 2002: 506,400), southwestern Russia. It is situated on several islands in the delta of the Volga River. It was the capital of a Tatar khanate that became independent of the Golden Horde in the 13th century, and its location on caravan and water routes made it a trading centre. Ivan IV (the Terrible) conquered Astrakhan in 1556, giving Russia control of the Volga. The Turks burned the city in 1569. It served as the base for the campaign of Peter I (the Great) against Persia and later was given special trade privileges. Sites of interest include a fortress and a cathedral.
This entry comes from Encyclopædia Britannica Concise. For the full entry on Astrakhan, visit Britannica.com.