AskDefine | Define astrakhan

Dictionary Definition



1 the fur of young lambs
2 a city in southwestern Russia on the delta of the Volga River

User Contributed Dictionary

see Astrakhan



Named from the Central-Asian city and region Astrakhan.


  • /æstrə'kæn/


  1. Closely-curled black or grey fleece of very young karakul lambs from Astrakhan.
  2. cloth resembling the above mentioned fur, often made from wool and mohair and used for trimmings.


  1. He was dressed in uniform--a black uniform trimmed with gray astrakhan. - Richard Connell's "The Most Dangerous Game"
  • 1914 : James Joyce, The Dead
    He was dressed in a long green overcoat with mock astrakhan cuffs and collar and wore on his head an oval fur cap.
  • 1929, Virginia Woolf, A Room of One's Own, Penguin Books, paperback edition, page 33
    Was the cavalry officer slim and elegant, and dressed in astrakhan?

Extensive Definition

Astrakhan (; ; from an Old Turkic-Hun word: As-Tarkhan Persian: حاجی‌ترخان Haji-Tarkhan) is a major city in southern European Russia and the administrative center of Astrakhan Oblast. The city lies on the Volga River, close to where it discharges into the Caspian Sea. Population: 502,800 (2004 est.); 504,501 (2002 Census); 509,210 (1989 Census).

Medieval history

Astrakhan' was originally called As-Tarkhan, which is another name for Ras Tarkhan (meaning "Lord of the Alans", a Scythian tribe.) Astrakhan' is situated in the Volga Delta, rich in sturgeon and exotic plants. The fertile area formerly contained the capitals of Khazaria and the Golden Horde. Astrakhan' itself was first mentioned by travellers in the early 13th century as Xacitarxan. Tamerlane burnt it to the ground in 1395. From 1459 to 1556, Xacitarxan was the capital of Astrakhan Khanate. The ruins of this medieval settlement were found by archaeologists 12 km upstream from the modern-day city. In 1556, the khanate was conquered by Ivan the Terrible, who had a new fortress built on a steep hill overlooking the Volga. In 1569, Astrakhan' was besieged by the Ottoman army, which had to retreat in disarray. A year later, the Sultan renounced his claims to Astrakhan, thus opening the entire Volga River to Russian traffic. In the 17th century, the city was developed as a Russian gate to the Orient. Many merchants from Armenia, Persia, India and Khiva settled in the downtown, giving it a multinational and variegated character.

Modern history

Sister Cities

astrakhan in Afrikaans: Astrachan
astrakhan in Arabic: أستراخان
astrakhan in Bosnian: Astrahan
astrakhan in Bulgarian: Астрахан
astrakhan in Catalan: Àstrakhan
astrakhan in Czech: Astrachaň
astrakhan in Danish: Astrakan
astrakhan in German: Astrachan
astrakhan in Estonian: Astrahan
astrakhan in Modern Greek (1453-): Άστραχαν
astrakhan in Spanish: Astracán (Rusia)
astrakhan in Esperanto: Astraĥan
astrakhan in Persian: آستراخان
astrakhan in French: Astrakhan
astrakhan in Galician: Astrakhan - А́страхань
astrakhan in Korean: 아스트라한
astrakhan in Croatian: Astrahan
astrakhan in Indonesian: Astrakhan
astrakhan in Ossetian: Астрахань
astrakhan in Italian: Astrachan'
astrakhan in Hebrew: אסטרחן
astrakhan in Kazakh: Астархан
astrakhan in Latin: Astrachanum
astrakhan in Lithuanian: Astrachanė
astrakhan in Hungarian: Asztrahány
astrakhan in Dutch: Astrachan
astrakhan in Japanese: アストラハン
astrakhan in Norwegian: Astrakhan
astrakhan in Polish: Astrachań
astrakhan in Portuguese: Astracã
astrakhan in Romanian: Astrahan
astrakhan in Russian: Астрахань
astrakhan in Slovenian: Astrahan
astrakhan in Serbian: Астрахан
astrakhan in Finnish: Astrahan
astrakhan in Swedish: Astrachan
astrakhan in Tatar: Әстерхан
astrakhan in Ukrainian: Астрахань
astrakhan in Chinese: 阿斯特拉罕
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