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The Volga River flows from north-west to south-east, passes through 15 regions of Russia, and flows into the Caspian Sea. High shores alternate with cozy sandy beaches. Forests embracing the riverbed give way to wide steppe expanses. The ancient Volga cities beckon with their unique atmosphere, domes of temples, and monasteries.
The Volga River is both lights in houses, and the work of huge enterprises, and green fields. And, of course, a wonderful vacation: beaches, fishing, river cruises. You can see so many different places in one trip!
The first passenger ships appeared on the Volga in the middle of the 19th century. In 1854 the first passenger route “Tver-Rybinsk” was opened, then it was extended to Yaroslavl. The steamers were built of iron, with large paddle wheels on the sides. In the 1st and 2nd class, there were one general male and one general female cabins, and the passengers of the 3rd class traveled in the open air. Today river cruises on the Volga are one of the most popular types of recreation. Most of the tours are sold out long before the start of navigation.
The length and width of the Volga
The Volga River begins with a small underground spring that springs near the Volgoverkhovye village in the Tver Region – the same Valdai Upland, which we all remember from school textbooks on geography. The brook gains strength and becomes a mighty river. It flows through many Russian and European regions.
The length of the Volga is 3530 kilometers. Before the construction of the reservoirs, it was even greater – 3690 kilometers and the longest river in Europe.
The widest place is considered to be the Kuibyshev reservoir in the area of the small Kamskoye Ustye village in Tatarstan, where the Volga meets the Kama. The 40-kilometer-long water surface is almost impossible to see on the other shore.
Even the Persians, led by Tsar Darius, went on campaigns along the Volga against the Scythian tribes. In the treatises of the ancient Greek philosopher Herodotus, the river is called Oar. It is believed that this is one of the first mentions of our Mother Volga, made back in the 5th century BC.
The Volga had a lot of names. The ancient Romans called her Ra, which means “generous.” Arab peoples Atelou is “the river of all rivers”. Turkic tribes – Itil, which simply means “river”. Until now, this name has been preserved among some peoples. And the modern name of the great Russian river comes from the Old Slavonic word “vlga”, which means “moisture”.
At all times, the Volga fed and watered people, was the main transport route, a place of rest. But not infrequently, spring floods on the Volga brought destruction to entire villages. It was possible to tame her temper by creating a system of reservoirs with hydroelectric power plants. There are nine in total.
A small stream near the Tver village makes its way through the reeds, runs through the forest, dives into the lakes, and flows out of them as a real river, which is gaining its mighty strength kilometer after kilometer. The Upper Volga flows through the Tver, Moscow, Yaroslavl, Ivanovo, Kostroma, and Nizhny Novgorod regions. Tourists love to visit their old Russian cities during the river cruises. One of the most ancient is Uglich, the first mention of it dates back to 937.
In this part, the Volga is still not so wide, it flows between the banks, buried in forests, through the greenery of which the golden domes of ancient churches break through. All beauty cannot be conveyed!
Rybinsk Reservoir on the Upper Volga is one of the largest artificial lakes in Russia. To build it, the residents of more than 600 villages and the city of Mologa had to be relocated to new places. Flood thousands of hectares of meadows, fields, forests, 140 churches, and 3 monasteries.
The Middle Volga begins at Nizhny Novgorod, where its largest right tributary, the Oka, flows into it. A gorgeous view of these rivers opens from the wall of the Nizhny Novgorod Kremlin.
The Volga becomes full-flowing, in some places the width reaches two kilometers. Then it flows to the east through the Nizhny Novgorod region, the Republic of Mari El, Chuvashia, and Tatarstan, after Kazan it turns south. Summer is getting hotter and drier, and spring and autumn are getting shorter. In the middle part of the Volga, as a rule, there are steep right banks and gentle sandy left ones. But there are also clayey, almost steep slopes, sometimes very high.
At Novocheboksarsk there is the Cheboksary hydroelectric power station, the last one built on the Volga. One of the most unusual museums operates here, it is dedicated to the construction of a hydroelectric power station and the development of hydropower in general.
It begins in the Republic of Tatarstan, where the Kama flows into the Volga. Further on its way – Ulyanovsk and Togliatti, Samara, where the river, bending around the Zhigulevskie mountains, forms a bend – Samara Luka. The unique and very beautiful place attracts not only tourists but also scientists. Further downstream there are Saratov, Volgograd, and Astrakhan.
Sailing along the Lower Volga, the vastness of the great Russian river is especially felt, along the banks there are endless steppes, mighty cliffs from which stunning views open.
But a real fairy tale awaits in the Astrakhan region, in the Volga delta – the largest in Europe. Here you can meet handsome flamingos, pelicans, and hundreds of other birds. In August, admire the fields of blooming lotus. And, of course, arrange a cool fishing trip. But fishing is strictly regulated, and the entire flora and fauna of the delta are under protection – a conservation area was created here in 1919.
More than half of the water reserves in the Volga are melted snow (60 percent), therefore, from year to year, the river’s fullness depends on how snowy the winter was. About a third is groundwater, and 10 percent is rain.
The Volga monument was erected to the river in Rybinsk city in 1953. The 12-meter sculpture of a woman with a wave of her hand seems to greet ships, on the other hand, is a scroll of drawings, and a seagull is circling below. At night, the monument is beautifully illuminated. But you cannot approach it – the monument stands in a forbidden place – on an island between the locks and the building of the Rybinsk hydroelectric power station.
The Volga River even has its holiday. On May 20, Russia celebrates Volga Day. It was first staged in Nizhny Novgorod to draw attention to the problem of river conservation. Then other cities joined. On this day, on the banks of the Volga, volunteer clean-ups are held, environmental quests and garbage collection competitions are organized. As well as photo exhibitions, meetings of scientists, fairs, and concerts.
On the territory of the Moscow region, the length of the Volga is only 9 kilometers (flows in the north in the Dubna region). But how important they are. Through the Moscow Canal, water flows to the Moscow River from the Ivankovskoye reservoir on the Volga, without which it would be impossible to supply the capital and full-fledged shipping within the city.
The oldest bridge across the Volga (railway) is located near Syzran and is called Alexandrovsky. It was opened in 1880. It was a grandiose event, about which French, English, German newspapers vied with each other: “The largest in Europe”, “The pride of Russian construction art”, “Russian miracle”. It was a direct rail track from Europe to the Urals, to Siberia, and Central Asia.
What kind of fish are found
By the variety of fish – the Volga is one of the richest rivers. More than 20 percent of all fish caught in Russian rivers come from here. Carp, pike perch, bream, perch, burbot, roach, rudd, gold and silver carp, silver carp – a good catch for your favorite ear or redhead.
In addition to the usual inhabitants, some specimens will most likely surprise you. For example, the beluga. This fish can weigh up to one and a half tons and live up to 100 years. In our time, to see such a giant in the Volga is a great rarity, but earlier the beluga easily reached the Volga hydroelectric power station along the river. Today it can be found only on the Volga in the Astrakhan region, where it comes to spawn from the Caspian Sea. In total, according to scientists, more than 70 species of various fish live in the Volga basin.
Most popular fishing spots
“Cool” places on the Volga are almost everywhere. On the Upper Volga, the Rybinsk reservoir is considered the best; fishermen from all over central Russia come here. You can catch small Verkhovkos, impressive carps, as well as predators – perch, pike perch, pike, catfish.
On the Middle Volga, there are many good places in the Nizhny Novgorod region on the Gorky reservoir. For example, a small bay of the Sanakhta River near the village of Maloye Ryabinino, or the village of Porobotnoye near the confluence of the Unzha River into the Volga – this place is also called Derevyashka, because there is a flooded forest nearby.
On the Lower Volga, one of the most popular places is the Volga-Akhtuba floodplain, it is dotted with pits and pools that river inhabitants love so much. It always bites here. There are many fish places in the Astrakhan region, which are also found in the Red Book: Russian sturgeon, beluga, sterlet.
You can arrange fishing on the Volga on the shore with a fishing rod, and go to the islands with a tent, or you can combine your favorite hobby with a comfortable rest at the fishing base.