The Volga (/ˈvɒlɡə, ˈvlɡə/; Russian: Во́лга, IPA: [ˈvoɫɡə] (listen)) is the longest river in Europe. Situated in Russia, it flows through Central Russia to Southern Russia and into the Caspian Sea. The Volga has a length of 3,531 km (2,194 mi), and a catchment area of 1,360,000 km2 (530,000 sq mi).[3] It is also Europe's largest river in terms of discharge and of drainage basin. It is widely regarded as the national river of Russia. The old Russian state, the Rus' Khaganate, arose along the Volga between the late-8th and mid-9th centuries AD.[4] Historically, the river served as an important meeting place of various Eurasian civilizations.[5][6][7]

The Volga at Yaroslavl
Map of the Volga drainage basin
Native nameВолга
LocationEastern Europe
CountryRussian Federation
CitiesTver, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, Cheboksary, Kazan, Ulyanovsk, Samara, Saratov, Volgograd, Astrakhan
Physical characteristics
  locationValdai Hills, Tver Oblast
  coordinates57°15′4.7″N 32°28′5.1″E
  elevation228[1] m (748 ft)
MouthCaspian Sea
Astrakhan Oblast
45°50′N 47°58′E[2]
−28[1] m (−92 ft)
Length3,531 km (2,194 mi)[3]
Basin size1,360,000 km2 (530,000 sq mi)[3]
  average8,060 m3/s (285,000 cu ft/s)
  minimum5,000 m3/s (180,000 cu ft/s)
  maximum48,500 m3/s (1,710,000 cu ft/s)
Basin features

The river flows in Russia through forests, forest steppes and steppes. Four of the ten largest cities of Russia, including the nation's capital, Moscow, are located in the Volga's drainage basin.

Some of the largest reservoirs in the world are located along the Volga. The river has a symbolic meaning in Russian culture - Russian literature and folklore often refer to it as Волга-матушка Volga-Matushka (Mother Volga).