The Volga River is the longest river in Europe and the eighteenth longest river on the planet traversing a total distance of 2,294 miles with a drainage basin of about 532,821 square miles. The river flows predominantly in the expansive Russian territory and drains its waters into the Caspian Sea. Most of Russia’s major cities including Moscow are located along the Volga River which indicates that the river played a considerable role in influencing settlement in the early days.
The Source Of The Volga River
The Volga River has its source located in the Valdai Hills which are found in the northwest of the capital of Moscow, and the hills are 738 feet above the sea level. A monument has been built with the full protection of the state in that particular area in the village of Volgoverkhovye to protect the source from human interference and pollution. The Volga River is fed by a series of close to 200 tributaries, some big and some small streams that flow from different parts of the country to join up with the river on various confluence points. Due to its size, the Volga has been divided into three parts, the Lower Volga which is the lowest section of the river towards the Caspian Sea, the Middle Volga which is the region between Saratov Oblast and Udmurtia, and finally the Upper Volga which encompasses the regions that are high up towards the sources.
Tributaries Of The Volga River
Of the many tributaries that flow into the Volga, there are two main ones that stand out regarding size and length. The first main tributary is the Kama River and has its source located in Udmurtia which is 1,180 feet above the sea level. The Kama River is the larger of the two main tributaries and covers a distance of 1,122 miles before joining up with the Volga from the left. The second tributary is the Oka River which has its source in the Oryol Oblast region which stands at about741 feet above the sea level. The Oka flows for a total distance of 932 miles before joining up with the Volga from the right side. Other tributaries are the Vetluga River which is a left tributary of the Volga and is 552 miles long and the Sura River a right tributary that covers a distance of 523 miles.
Interesting Facts About The Volga River
A considerable section of the Volga freezes up for three months every winter making navigation impossible over that period, but at the same time it opens up places for skiing. Although more than 200 tributaries feed the Volga, it also gets much of its water from the melting of snow up in the highlands. The Volga is the slowest river of its size, and this is partly due to the many dams and reservoirs that have been built along its length, it has a total of 10 dams and eight reservoirs that were built to provide electricity and facilitate irrigation. Some sections of the Volga are so wide that it is impossible to see the other side of the river.