City (pop., 2006 est.: 850,086), western Russia. Located on the Volga River, it was founded in 1590 as a fortress to protect the trade route along the Volga. It was moved to a new site in 1616 and again in 1674 after the fortress was destroyed in a revolt. Linked to Moscow by railroad in the 1870s, Saratov became a major commercial centre. Its road bridge across the Volga (opened 1965) is one of the longest in Europe. A major industrial centre, it produces electric and petrochemical equipment and machine tools. Its educational institutions include a university (founded 1909) and a music conservatory.