Volga River

Catchment area of ​​the Volga

The Volga Ulyanovsk

The Volga (Russian Волга, Tatar Идел / Idel, Mordvin Рав, Chuvash Атăл, mari Юл, ancient Greek Ῥᾶ Rha ) is a river in the European part of Russia. With 3530 km long, it is Europe's longest and largest river and one of the longest rivers in the world.

The Volga rises in the Valdai Hills at 228 m, initially flows eastward, in the further course southward through the East European level and ends at 28 m below sea level ( Kronstadt level) into the Caspian Sea. The difference in height between the source and mouth is 256 m.

The Volga has about 200 major tributaries, their catchment area of 1.36 million square kilometers area contains a total of 151,000 rivers, streams, and intermittent streams. In the lower reaches in Volgograd, the mean annual runoff is 264 billion cubic meters.

About the Volga - Baltic Canal, the Volga is connected to the west by the Baltic Sea, on the branching of this channel to the North White Sea - Baltic Canal to the White Sea, and thus also with the Arctic Ocean. About the Volga - Don Canal and the west flowing Don it is connected with the Black Sea and the Mediterranean.


Source and upper reaches

The Volga rises and runs in the western part of Russia. Your source is located in the Valdai Hills in the village Wolgowerchowje ( Волговерховье, 228 m).

After the water of the Volga flowed from the Valdai Hills down, it reaches Rzhev and flows from now on to the northeast. From here on small barges can navigate the river. Downstream, the city of Tver is located (1931-1990 Kalinin ), which was founded in 1135 and is located on the highway from Moscow to Saint Petersburg. The Volga flows on through the Iwankowoer reservoir to Dubna, where the Moscow - Volga Canal opens. The reservoir of Dubna was built for domestic water storage for Moscow. About Kimry the river reaches the Uglich Reservoir, which is dammed by a dam in Uglich. Further north, flows through the Volga the Rybinsk Reservoir, the oldest dam on the Volga. In this lake Mologa, Suda, Scheksna and the Volga-Baltic channel flow.

Middle reaches

Behind the dam is Rybinsk (1946-1957 Shcherbakov and Andropov 1984-1991 ), the largest cargo port on the upper Volga. The Volga River now flows to the southeast and reaches Yaroslavl, one of the oldest cities of central Russia in the 11th century. The industry now based here derives most sewage flows untreated into the river. About 70 km downstream is Kostroma, an ancient city (founded in 1152 ) at the mouth of the river of the same name. Behind Kineschma the Volga is dammed again, here is the 80 km long Gorkier reservoir. In Nizhny Novgorod Oka flows from the right into the Volga River, which now flows to the east. In Novocheboksarsk in the Chuvash Republic, the Volga is dammed to Tscheboksarsker reservoir. In the 1980s, tens of thousands living upriver Mari were resettled to make way for the lake. At the reservoir is Cheboksary. 150 km further east is the city of Kazan, the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan, where the Volga turns to the south. The city is located at the upper end of the 550-km Kuibyshev reservoir, which is 6450 km ², the largest reservoir on the Volga and in Europe. Here ends the Kama into the Volga. On the shore the cities of Ulyanovsk lie (formerly Simbirsk ) and Togliatti ( Tolyatti also written ). On the Volga loop (Russian Samarskaja luka ) is Samara ( Kuibyshev 1935-1990 ), a city of millions. Here flows the Volga Samara from the left. At the end of the Volga loop is Sysran.

Lower reaches and estuary

The Saratov Reservoir, which begins here, was dammed in Balakowo. Below this industrial city empties the Great Irgis into the Volga. Between Balakowo and Saratov, the Volga Germans who used to live before they were deported during World War II to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Even today, however, remember the cities of Engels and Marx on the left bank of the German colonization. Only in this section, the Volga is still as it was before. The characteristic shape of mountain and meadow landscape - in the form of up to 375 m high plate Volga in the west and the flat indented shore meadow in the east - is from Kazan to Volgograd usual, but the reservoirs inundate parts of the shore regions. Only between Balakowo and Marx, the Volga is still natural.

Across from Engels and thus west of the Volga River Saratov, a university town of about 880,000 inhabitants. Here the 600 km Volgograd Reservoir, on whose banks is the city Kamyshin begins. Below the dam are the towns Wolschski and Volgograd (formerly Tsaritsyn, Stalingrad ), the latter of which extends about 80 km on the west bank of the Volga.

In Wolschski where the Volga Delta begins branches of the estuary Akhtuba of the Volga, which is by far the longest of these arms and parallel ( north-east ) runs to the river. The Volga Volgograd reached behind the so-called Volga bend, where it bends to the southeast.

In the southern part of the city of Volgograd ( since 1931 Krasnoarmeiski district, previously separate village of Zarephath, 1920 Krasnoarmeisk ) branches of the Volga - Don Canal to the west. He puts over the Don represents the connection to the Azov and Black Sea, and thus to the Mediterranean and was 1950-1957 mainly dug by camp inmates. Below Volgograd Volga flows gradually into the Caspian depression, the south-east connects to the East European level.

Around the beginning of the main area of the Volga Delta is the city of Astrakhan (formerly Itil ), from where on the Volga Delta aufästelt in numerous estuaries. Parts of the delta are under protection because the area is an important stopover for migratory birds and habitat for numerous other species of animals. One of the great estuary of the Volga in the west include Bachtemir and Tabola between which the Volga flows, a little further east ends of the long estuary Akhtuba.

The shore of the Caspian Sea is reached about 75 to 100 km to the south or south-east of Astrakhan by the branches of the Volga. The mouth height lakefront is 28 m below sea level, which gives a slope of 256 m between source and mouth.

Early Age settlements

Archaeological finds show that since ancient times people settled on the Volga. So were in different eras, the major residential and commercial cities Großbulgar (near the city of Bolgar in Tatarstan ), Sarai (near Volgograd) and Itil ( Astrakhan) along the banks of the river. By some historians, the fertile area is considered to the estuary as the cradle of Indo-European peoples. The earlier peoples of the river offered a Thoroughfare, which has allowed them to conquer the territories to enter to Central Asia and to trade there. The Varangians used the Volga for their trade route from Sweden to Persia. The old Turkish name of the Volga Atil or Itil is narrated by Menander with Attila ( Ἀττίλας ).


Are located on the Volga River some reservoirs of the Volga - Kama cascade, of which these are the biggest Volga reservoirs ( downriver considered ):

  • Iwankowoer Reservoir (also Moscow Sea / Volga reservoir) (327 km ², 1.12 billion cubic meters )
  • Uglich Reservoir (249 km ², 1.2 billion m³)
  • Rybinsk Reservoir ( 4580 km ², 25.4 billion cubic meters )
  • Gorkier Reservoir (also Nizhny Novgorod reservoir; 1590 km ², 8.7 billion m³)
  • Tscheboksarsker Reservoir (also Cheboksary Reservoir ) ( 2274 km ², 13.8 billion cubic meters )
  • Kuibyshev Reservoir ( 6450 km ², 58 billion m³)
  • Saratov Reservoir (1831 km ², 12.9 billion cubic meters )
  • Volgograd Reservoir ( 3117 km ², 31.5 billion cubic meters )


Among the tributaries of the Volga belong with respective orographic mapping (l = left side, R = right side ), length, mouth position and size of the catchment ( downstream considered ):

  • Dubna (r ), 167 km, at Dubna in the Iwankowoer Reservoir, 5350 km ²
  • Mologa ( l), 456 km, at Wessjegonsk in the Rybinsk Reservoir, 29.7 thousand km ²
  • Scheksna ( l), 139 km, in Cherepovets in the Rybinsk Reservoir 19,000 km ²
  • Kotorosl (r ), 132 km, in Yaroslavl, 6370 km ²
  • Kostroma ( l), 354 km, to Kostroma in the reservoir Gorkier 16,000 km ²
  • Unscha ( l), 426 km, below Makarjew in the Gorkier Reservoir, 27.8 thousand km ²
  • Oka (r ), 1500 km, in Nizhny Novgorod 245,000 km ²
  • Sura (r ), 841 km, at Jadrin in the Tscheboksarsker Reservoir, 67.5 thousand km ²
  • Vetluga ( l), 889 km, at Kosmodemjansk in the Tscheboksarsker Reservoir, 39.4 thousand km ²
  • Kama ( l), 1805 km, at Tschistopol in the Kuibyshev Reservoir, 507,000 km ²
  • Samara ( l), 594 km in Samara in the Saratov Reservoir, 46.5 thousand km ²
  • Big Irgis ( l), 675 km in Volsk 24,000 km ²