- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
234

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THROUGH THE CAUGASUS TO THE VOLGA
234
to the Black Sea and the Mediterranean in the
south-west. As it is now, there is steamship con
nection almost all the way from the Baltic to the
Caspian. Of the 1 30 tributaries of the Volga, there
are twelve navigable, and the whole distance of its
navigable waters is 29,770 kilometres.
Starting from its source in the Valdai heights in
the province of Tver in the north-west, the Volga,
over a length of 3,694 kilometres, falls altogether
262 metres to the Caspian Sea; but mostly it runs
through a flat land, so that the average speed of
its current is small, usually about 0-80-1-2 metres
a second, or 2-9-4-3 kilometres an hour. When
the water is high, the speed may rise to over twice
as much, but when the water is low in autumn it
becomes much less than this average. It has been
found that the melting water in the spring takes
fifty days to flow from Rybinsk to Astrakhan, a
distance of 2,747 kilometres. This gives a speed of
about 2-3 kilometres an hour, or 0-64 metre a
second. In its lower part, south of Samara and
Saratov, the breadth of the river reaches 2 kilo
metres or more ; with its delta it comes out into the
Caspian 170 kilometres broad.
Up and down this mighty waterway there is an
unceasing movement of innumerable boats, ships,
rafts, lighters, and steamers, with thousands of
people, and with precious cargoes of the crops and
products of the rich land. Along the banks lic many
wealthy and large towns, with the bustle and noise
of human life. In various stretches of its long
valley and plain great and mighty kingdoms have

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