Astrakhan is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on two banks of the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea at an altitude of 28 meters below sea level. Population: 520,339; 504,501; 509,210.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" Its population is diverse and includes one hundred ethnicities and fourteen religious denominations.The city is located in the upper part of the Volga delta, on eleven islands of the Caspian Depression. The distance to Moscow by road is 1,411 kilometers.