VOLGA RIVER

The great river of Russia, witness of its history.

The Volga is the longest and largest river in Europe, and a symbol for Russians, who often call it “Mother Volga.” It springs from the Valdai heights located between Moscow and St. Petersburg, and spans most of European Russia, including 11 of the 20 most populated Russian cities, until its outlet into the Caspian Sea. The Volga is navigable along almost its entire course, and through its tributaries, lakes, and canals is connected to the Baltic, Black, and White seas, along with Moscow and St. Petersburg. It is has therefore been a major trading axis through the centuries. The Volga plays a role in many episodes throughout the history of Russia, its traditions, literature, arts, and folklore, while many sites of great artistic interest are situated along its banks, which change from the taiga in northern Russia to the arid steppes near the Caspian Sea. The white walls of the northern monasteries, the onion-shaped domes of the Golden Ring cities, and the high minarets of the Tatar mosques in Kazan provide a unique varied landscape reflecting the diversity of the Russian soul.