- Project Runeberg -  Through the Caucasus to the Volga /
245

(1931) [MARC] Author: Fridtjof Nansen Translator: Gerald C. Wheeler - Tema: Russia
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THE VOLGA
245
right down to the end of the last century belonged
to the Moravian Brothers. Instead of the widow’s
never-failing flour-bin and cruse of oil, this Sarepta
is famous for its mustard. From here and a long
way north past Saratov to Volsk there is along the
east side of the Volga a line of German colonies
with many villages, founded by Catherine II in the
later iBth century. These colonists, who still speak
pure German, are very good agriculturists.
Sixty kilometres east of Sarepta, on the other side
of the many arms of the Volga, Hes the village of
Tsarev. Here stood earlier Sarai, where in the i3th
century Batu, Chingis Khan’s grandson, set up his
golden tent, and it became the capital ofthe Mongols’
Golden Horde, and their once so mighty state.
Some 30 kilometres farther north from Sarepta
along the river, which here måkes a great bend, Hes
Tsaritsin, now known as Stalingrad. It is hereabouts
that the Don comes nearest to the Volga ; the distance
between them is about 50 kilometres, and here there
was from olden times a porterage over to Sarkel,
the strongly fortified Khazar town on the Don,
which could be navigated down to the Black Sea.
It was most pleasant to come out onto the broad
deck in the morning, greeted by bright sunshine
and glittering water, and take one’s coffee and
breakfast as the land slipped by on both sides. The
cooking on board was most excellent, and refresh
ments and meals could be ordered when wc
wished, and served up under the awning on deck.
Wc invited the very pleasant captain to take his
meals with us; he was a good seaman who had
been taking these great boats up and down the

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