The Caspian Sea.
The Volga River, the longest river in Europe, flows into the Caspian Sea. Originating in the Valdai Hills about 225 kilometers east of St. Petersburg, Russia, the Volga courses over 3,500 kilometers (about 2,200 miles) before it drains into the Caspian Sea, a landlocked body of water located between Europe and Asia.
The Volga River holds immense historical, cultural, and economic significance for Russia. Over the centuries, it has served as a crucial trade route, connecting the nation’s central region to the southern territories. Several large cities, including Nizhny Novgorod, Kazan, and Volgograd, are situated along its banks, each bearing witness to the river’s impact on the region’s development and prosperity.
The Volga’s expansive watershed includes a series of large, reservoir-like lakes, the Volga’s “seas,” created by damming during the Soviet era. These reservoirs contribute to a diverse array of habitats that support numerous wildlife species. The river is also instrumental in the region’s industry, providing water for irrigation, hydroelectric power, and domestic use.
As it empties into the Caspian Sea, the Volga River creates extensive delta wetlands, home to over 200 species of birds and a variety of fish species. This delta, with its unique biodiversity, is recognized as a Ramsar Wetland of International Importance.
The Volga River, with its tremendous length, vast watershed, and varied landscapes, remains a central lifeline for Russia, connecting its people, culture, and economy to the wider world.