Astrakhan (; Tatar: Ã„sterxan; from an Old Turkic-Hun word: As-Tarkhan Persian: ?????????? Haji-Tarkhan) is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea. Population: 502,800 (2004 est.); 504,501 (2002 Census); 509,210 (1989 Census).
Astrakhan was originally called As-Tarkhan, which interestingly, is another name for Ras Tarkhan (meaning "Lord of the Alans", the Alans were a Scythian, Iranian/Aryan, tribe.)Astrakhan is situated in the Volga Delta, rich in sturgeons and exotic plants. The fertile area formerly contained the capitals of Khazaria and the Golden Horde. Astrakhan itself was first mentioned by travellers in the early 13th century as Xacitarxan. Tamerlane burnt it to the ground in 1395. From 1459 to 1556, Xacitarxan was the capital of Astrakhan Khanate. The ruins of this medieval settlement were found by archaeologists 12 km
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