This page was last updated 4 Mar 2011 -- rak.

Reserved for map or photo of the Volga

The Volga is the longest river in Europe. It begins in the Valdai Hills north-west of Moscow and south-east of Saint Petersburg. In its lower reaches it flows past, Samara, Saratov, and, then Volgograd (formerly Stalingrad). Farther on it empties into the Caspian Sea below Astrakhan. The Volga freezes for most of its length for three months each year.

Many, if not most, of the German colonists in 1764-67 weere brought down from the north on this river. They settled in some 300 colonies or villages scattered on both sides of the river immediately south of Saratov, then the provincial capital. Some of those early colonies on the eastern side were north of Saratov. On the western side there were rolling low hills -- much like the terrain of Marion County, Kansas. On the eastern side there are endless plains -- much like central and western Kansas.

My grandmother did not like to talk much at all about her life in Russia, but she always spoke in awe of this mighty river. My great grandfather Kraus is said to have done his military service on Russian naval ships plying the waters of the Volga.

When I saw the River in 2001, I too was awestruck. It was so much bigger than any river I had ever seen that it seemed like an ocean moving through the land!

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