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Astrakhan (Russian: Астрахань, IPA: [ˈastrəxənʲ]; Tatar: Cyrillic Әстерхан, Latin Ästerxan), is the largest city and administrative centre of Astrakhan Oblast in Southern Russia. The city lies on two banks of the Volga, in the upper part of the Volga Delta, on eleven islands of the Caspian Depression, 60 miles (100 km) from the Caspian Sea, with a population of over 529,739 residents. At an elevation of 28 meters (92 ft) below sea level, it is the lowest city in Russia. Astrakhan was formerly the capital of the Khanate of Astrakhan (a remnant of the Golden Horde), and was located on the higher right bank of the Volga, 7 miles (11 km) from the present-day city. Situated on caravan and water routes, it developed from a village into a large trading centre, before being conquered by Timur in 1395 and captured by Ivan the Terrible (who believed it to be the site of the Fountain of Youth) in 1556. In 1558 it was moved to its present site. The oldest economic and cultural center of the Lower Volga, it is often called the southernmost outpost of Russia, and the Caspian capital. The city is a member of the Eurasian Regional Office of the World Organization "United Cities and Local Governments". The great ethnic diversity of its population gives a varied character to Astrakhan.

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