Rivers of the World the Volga River

About the Volga river, history and geography of the longest river in Europe which runs through Russia.



The Volga is Europe's longest river, winding 2,292 mi. from northern Russia to the Caspian Sea.

"Mother Volga" has an economic value greater than all other Soviet Union rivers combined. It begins as a stream flowing through a chain of small lakes in the swampy Valdai Hills, writhes and twists in all directions, and finally settles into a generally southeastern course.

The Volga has probably been tampered with more than any other river in the world. Since 1930, numerous dams have converted the Volga into a series of lakes and reservoirs; the three largest of these lakes cover a total area of about 5,615 sq. mi., roughly the size of the state of Connecticut. Canals have opened Volga traffic to Moscow, to the Baltic and White seas, and to the Don River, which in turn opens to the Black Sea.

However, these canals, as well as many irrigation projects, have reduced the river's outflow and consequently lowered the Caspian Sea. To correct this problem, Soviet scientists are contemplating a new channel, blasted with nuclear devices, that will siphon water from the north-flowing Pechora River and increase the Volga's flow.

In the 2nd century A.D., the Greeks discovered that the Volga flowed into the Caspian Sea. Geographer Claudius Ptolemy correctly described it around 150 A.D.

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