Illustrated Description Of Russia

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Horse-Boat, with Barges, on the Volga

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Horse-Boat, with Barges, on the Volga

Horse-Boat, with Barges, on the Volga
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Though the situation of the Volga, remote from the great marts of Europe, Asia, and Africa, with its embouchure in the Caspian, renders it of much less commercial importance than it would be under other circumstances, it is still the main artery of Russia, and the grand route of the internal traffic of the empire. It has been estimated that in the first thirty years of the present century, from six to seven hundred vessels a year came down the Volga to Astrakhan, while from three hundred to four hundred and sixty sailed from that port to others on the upper course of the river. Unfortunately, it would seem as if the Volga had been for some considerable period decreasing in depth; and it is said that of late years sandbanks have accumulated so much, particularly between Nijnei-Novgorod and Kazan, that the vessels laden with salt from Perm, which in the early part of last century used to bring cargoes of from one hundred and thirty to one hundred and fifty thousand pounds, can now only convey cargoes o f abou t ninety thousand pounds ; and, in the portion of its course now referred to, it is navigated with difficulty even by the two-masted vessels of Astrakhan.

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Sears, Robert. An Illustrated Description of the Russian Empire. New York: Robert Sears, 1855