Volga trade route
In the Middle Ages, the Volga trade route connected Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia with the Caspian Sea, via the Volga River. The Rus used this route to trade with Muslim countries on the southern shores of the Caspian Sea, sometimes penetrating as far as Baghdad; the route functioned concurrently with the Dnieper trade route, better known as the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, lost its importance in the 11th century. The Volga trade route was established by the Varangians who settled in Northwestern Russia in the early 9th century. About 10 km south of the Volkhov River entry into Lake Ladoga, they established a settlement called Ladoga. Archaeological evidence suggests Rus trading activities along the Volga trade route as early as the end of the 8th century; the earliest and the richest finds of Arabic coins in Europe were discovered on the territory of present-day Russia along the Volga, at Timerevo in the district of Yaroslavl. A hoard of coins found at Petergof, near Saint Petersburg, contains twenty coins with graffiti in Arabic, Turkic runic and Old Norse runic, the latter accounting for more than half of the total.
These coins include Sassanid and Arabo-Sassanid dirhams, the latest of them dated to 804-805. Having examined major finds of Arabic coins in Eastern Europe, Valentin Yanin conclusively demonstrated that the earliest monetary system of early Russia was based on the early type of dirham minted in Africa. From Aldeigjuborg, the Rus could travel up the Volkhov River to Novgorod to Lake Ilmen and further along the Lovat River. Taking their boats around 3 kilometers over a portage, they reached the sources of Volga; the traders brought furs and slaves through territory held by Finnish and Permian tribes down to the land of the Volga Bulgars. From there, they continued by way of the Volga, to the Khazar Khaganate, whose capital Atil was a busy entrepot on the shore of the Caspian Sea. From Atil, the Rus merchants traveled across the sea to join the caravan routes leading to Baghdad. Around 885-886, ibn Khordadbeh wrote about the Rus merchants who brought goods from Northern Europe and Northwestern Russia to Baghdad: In ibn Khordadbeh's account, the Rus are described as "a kind of the Saqaliba", a term used to refer to Slavs, anti-Normanist scholars have interpreted this passage as indicative of the Rus being Slavs rather than Scandinavians.
In the interpretation of the Normanist scholars, the word Saqaliba was frequently applied to all fair-haired, ruddy-complexioned population of Central and Northeastern Europe, so ibn Khordadbeh's language is ambiguous here. Modern scholars have clashed over the interpretation of ibn Khordadbeh's report that the Rus used Saqlab interpreters. Anti-Normanists construed this passage as evidence that the Rus and their interpreters shared a common Slavic mother tongue. Slavic, was a lingua franca in the Eastern Europe at that time; the Persian geographer ibn Rustah described the Rus communities living along Volga: In 921-922, ibn Fadlan was a member of a diplomatic delegation sent from Baghdad to Volga Bulgars, he left an account of his personal observations about the Rus of the Volga region, who dealt in furs and slaves. Johannes Brøndsted interpreted ibn Fadlan's commentary as indicating that these Rus retained their Scandinavian customs regarding weapons, ship-burials, religious sacrifices. Ibn Fadlan's account includes a detailed description of the Rus praying and making sacrifices for success in trade: On the other hand, the Rus came under foreign influence in such matters as dead chief's costume and in the habit of overloading of their women with jewelry: The Volga trade route lost its importance by the 11th century due to the decline of silver output in the Abbasid caliphate, thus, the trade route from the Varangians to the Greeks, which ran down the Dnieper to the Black Sea and the Byzantine Empire, gained more weight.
The Icelandic saga Yngvars saga víðförla describes an expedition of Swedes into the Caspian launched around 1041 from Sweden by Ingvar the Far-Travelled, who went down the Volga into the land of the Saracens. The expedition was unsuccessful, afterwards, no attempts were made to reopen the route between the Baltic and Caspian seas by the Norsemen. Brøndsted, Johannes; the Vikings.. Penguin Books. Golden, P. B. "Rus." Encyclopaedia of Islam. Eds.: P. Bearman, Th. Bianquis, C. E. Bosworth, E. van Donzel and W. P. Heinrichs. Brill. Logan, Donald F.. The Vikings in History 2nd ed. Routledge. ISBN 0-415-08396-6 Noonan, Thomas Schaub. "When Did Rus/Rus' Merchants First Visit Khazaria and Baghdad?" Archivum Eurasiae Medii Aevi 7, pp. 213–219
The Radhanites were medieval merchants, some of Jewish origin. Only a limited number of primary sources use the term, it remains unclear whether they referred to a specific guild, or to a clan, or generically to Jewish merchants in the trans-Eurasian trade network. Jewish merchants operated in trade between the Christian and Islamic worlds during the early Middle Ages. Many trade routes established under the Roman Empire continued to function during that period – through their efforts, their trade network covered much of Europe, North Africa, the Middle East, Central Asia and parts of India and China. Several etymologies have been suggested for the word "Radhanite". Many scholars, including Barbier de Meynard and Moshe Gil, believe it refers to a district in Mesopotamia called "the land of Radhan" in Arabic and Hebrew texts of the period; some maintain. Still others think the name derives from the Persian terms rah "way, path" and dān "one who knows", meaning "one who knows the way". English-language sources added the suffix -ite to the term, as is done with ethnonyms or names derived from place names.
Cecil Roth and Claude Cahen, among others, make the same claim about the Rhône River valley in France, Rhodanus in Latin and Rhodanos in Greek. They claim that the center of Radhanite activity was in France as all of their trade routes began there; the activities of the Radhanites are documented by ibn Khordadbeh – the postmaster, chief of police for the province of Jibal, under the Abbasid Caliph al-Mu'tamid – when he wrote Kitab al-Masalik wal-Mamalik, in about 870. Ibn Khordadbeh described the Radhanites as multilingual, he outlined four main trade routes utilized by the Radhanites in their journeys. Radhanites carried commodities that combined small bulk and high demand, including spices, perfumes and silk, they are described as transporting oils, steel weapons and slaves. These merchants speak Arabic, Roman, the Frank and Slav languages, they journey from West to East, from East to West on land by sea. They transport from the West eunuchs, female slaves, brocade, castor and other furs, swords.
They take ship from Firanja, on the Western Sea, make for Farama. There they load their goods on camel-back and go by land to al-Kolzum, a distance of twenty-five farsakhs, they embark in the East Sea and sail from al-Kolzum to al-Jar and al-Jeddah they go to Sind and China. On their return from China they carry back musk, camphor and other products of the Eastern countries to al-Kolzum and bring them back to Farama, where they again embark on the Western Sea; some make sail for Constantinople to sell their goods to the Romans. Sometimes these Jew merchants, when embarking from the land of the Franks, on the Western Sea, make for Antioch. There they embark on the Euphrates and reach Baghdad, whence they sail down the Tigris, to al-Obolla. From al-Obolla they sail for Oman, Sindh and China; these different journeys can be made by land. The merchants that start from Spain or France go to Sus al-Aksa and to Tangier, whence they walk to Kairouan and the capital of Egypt. Thence they go to ar-Ramla, visit Damascus, al-Kufa, al-Basra, cross Ahvaz, Kerman, Sind and arrive in China.
Sometimes they take the route behind Rome and, passing through the country of the Slavs, arrive at Khamlidj, the capital of the Khazars. They embark on the Jorjan Sea, arrive at Balkh, betake themselves from there across the Oxus, continue their journey toward Yurt and from there to China. During the Early Middle Ages the Islamic polities of the Middle East and North Africa and the Christian kingdoms of Europe banned each other's merchants from entering their ports. Corsairs of both sides raided the shipping of their adversaries at will; the Radhanites functioned as neutral go-betweens, keeping open the lines of communication and trade between the lands of the old Roman Empire and the Far East. As a result of the revenue they brought, Jewish merchants enjoyed significant privileges under the early Carolingians in France and throughout the Muslim world, a fact that sometimes vexed local Church authorities. While most trade between Europe and East Asia had been conducted via Persian and Central Asian intermediaries, the Radhanites were among the first to establish a trade network that stretched from Western Europe to Eastern Asia.
More remarkable still, they engaged in this trade and over an extended period of time, centuries before Marco Polo and ibn Battuta brought their tales of travel in the Orient to the Christians and the Muslims, respectively. Indeed, ibn Battuta is believed to have traveled with the Muslim traders who traveled to the Orient on routes similar to those used by the Radhanites. While traditionally many historians believed that the art of Chinese paper-making had been transmitted to Europe via Arab merchants who got the secret from prisoners of war taken at the Battle of Talas, some believe that Jewish merchants such as the Radhanites were instrumental in bringing paper-making west
Shamanism is a practice that involves a practitioner reaching altered states of consciousness in order to perceive and interact with what they believe to be a spirit world and channel these transcendental energies into this world. A shaman is someone, regarded as having access to, influence in, the world of benevolent and malevolent spirits, who enters into a trance state during a ritual, practices divination and healing; the word "shaman" originates from the Tungusic Evenki language of North Asia. According to ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen, "the word is attested in all of the Tungusic idioms" such as Negidal, Udehe/Orochi, Ilcha, Orok and Ulcha, "nothing seems to contradict the assumption that the meaning'shaman' derives from Proto-Tungusic" and may have roots that extend back in time at least two millennia; the term was introduced to the west after Russian forces conquered the shamanistic Khanate of Kazan in 1552. The term "shamanism" was first applied by Western anthropologists as outside observers of the ancient religion of the Turks and Mongols, as well as those of the neighbouring Tungusic- and Samoyedic-speaking peoples.
Upon observing more religious traditions across the world, some Western anthropologists began to use the term in a broad sense. The term was used to describe unrelated magico-religious practices found within the ethnic religions of other parts of Asia, Africa and completely unrelated parts of the Americas, as they believed these practices to be similar to one another. Mircea Eliade writes, "A first definition of this complex phenomenon, the least hazardous, will be: shamanism ='technique of religious ecstasy'." Shamanism encompasses the premise that shamans are intermediaries or messengers between the human world and the spirit worlds. Shamans are said to treat ailments/illness by mending the soul. Alleviating traumas affecting the soul/spirit restores the physical body of the individual to balance and wholeness; the shaman enters supernatural realms or dimensions to obtain solutions to problems afflicting the community. Shamans may visit other worlds/dimensions to bring guidance to misguided souls and to ameliorate illnesses of the human soul caused by foreign elements.
The shaman operates within the spiritual world, which in turn affects the human world. The restoration of balance results in the elimination of the ailment. Beliefs and practices that have been categorized this way as "shamanic" have attracted the interest of scholars from a wide variety of disciplines, including anthropologists, historians, religious studies scholars and psychologists. Hundreds of books and academic papers on the subject have been produced, with a peer-reviewed academic journal being devoted to the study of shamanism. In the 20th century, many Westerners involved in the counter-cultural movement have created modern magico-religious practices influenced by their ideas of indigenous religions from across the world, creating what has been termed neoshamanism or the neoshamanic movement, it has affected the development of many neopagan practices, as well as faced a backlash and accusations of cultural appropriation and misrepresentation when outside observers have tried to represent cultures to which they do not belong.
The word shamanism derives from the Manchu-Tungus word šaman, meaning'one who knows'. The word "shaman" may have originated from the Evenki word šamán, most from the southwestern dialect spoken by the Sym Evenki peoples; the Tungusic term was subsequently adopted by Russians interacting with the indigenous peoples in Siberia. It is found in the memoirs of the exiled Russian churchman Avvakum; the word was brought to Western Europe in the late 17th century by the Dutch traveler Nicolaes Witsen, who reported his stay and journeys among the Tungusic- and Samoyedic-speaking indigenous peoples of Siberia in his book Noord en Oost Tataryen. Adam Brand, a merchant from Lübeck, published in 1698 his account of a Russian embassy to China; the etymology of the Evenki word is sometimes connected to a Tungus root ša- "to know". This has been questioned on linguistic grounds: "The possibility cannot be rejected, but neither should it be accepted without reservation since the assumed derivational relationship is phonologically irregular."
Other scholars assert that the word comes directly from the Manchu language, as such would be the only used English word, a loan from this language. However, Mircea Eliade noted that the Sanskrit word śramaṇa, designating a wandering monastic or holy figure, has spread to many Central Asian languages along with Buddhism and could be the ultimate origin of the Tungusic word; this proposal has been critiqued since 1917. Ethnolinguist Juha Janhunen regards it as an "anachronism" and an "impossibility", nothing more than a "far-fetched etymology."21st-century anthropologist and archeologist Silvia Tomaskova argues that by the mid-1600s, many Europeans applied the Arabic term shaitan to the non-Christian practices and beliefs of indigenous peoples beyond the Ural Mountains. She suggests that shaman may have entered the various Tungus dialects as a corruption of this term, been told to Christian missionaries, explorers and colonial administrators with whom the people had increasing contact for centuries.
Ethnolinguists did not develop as a discipline nor achieve contact with these communities until the late 19th century, may have mistakenly "read backward" in time for the origin of this word. A shamaness is somet
The Byzantine Empire referred to as the Eastern Roman Empire or Byzantium, was the continuation of the Roman Empire in its eastern provinces during Late Antiquity and the Middle Ages, when its capital city was Constantinople. It survived the fragmentation and fall of the Western Roman Empire in the 5th century AD and continued to exist for an additional thousand years until it fell to the Ottoman Turks in 1453. During most of its existence, the empire was the most powerful economic and military force in Europe. Both the terms "Byzantine Empire" and "Eastern Roman Empire" are historiographical terms created after the end of the realm. Several signal events from the 4th to 6th centuries mark the period of transition during which the Roman Empire's Greek East and Latin West diverged. Constantine I reorganised the empire, made Constantinople the new capital, legalised Christianity. Under Theodosius I, Christianity became the Empire's official state religion and other religious practices were proscribed.
Under the reign of Heraclius, the Empire's military and administration were restructured and adopted Greek for official use in place of Latin. Thus, although the Roman state continued and its traditions were maintained, modern historians distinguish Byzantium from ancient Rome insofar as it was centred on Constantinople, oriented towards Greek rather than Latin culture, characterised by Eastern Orthodox Christianity; the borders of the empire evolved over its existence, as it went through several cycles of decline and recovery. During the reign of Justinian I, the empire reached its greatest extent after reconquering much of the Roman western Mediterranean coast, including North Africa and Rome itself, which it held for two more centuries; the Byzantine–Sasanian War of 602–628 exhausted the empire's resources and contributed to major territorial losses during the Early Muslim conquests of the 7th century, when it lost its richest provinces and Syria, to the Arab caliphate. During the Macedonian dynasty, the empire expanded again and experienced the two-century long Macedonian Renaissance, which came to an end with the loss of much of Asia Minor to the Seljuk Turks after the Battle of Manzikert in 1071.
This battle opened the way for the Turks to settle in Anatolia. The empire recovered during the Komnenian restoration, by the 12th century Constantinople was the largest and wealthiest European city. However, it was delivered a mortal blow during the Fourth Crusade, when Constantinople was sacked in 1204 and the territories that the empire governed were divided into competing Byzantine Greek and Latin realms. Despite the eventual recovery of Constantinople in 1261, the Byzantine Empire remained only one of several small rival states in the area for the final two centuries of its existence, its remaining territories were progressively annexed by the Ottomans over the 15th century. The Fall of Constantinople to the Ottoman Empire in 1453 ended the Byzantine Empire; the last of the imperial Byzantine successor states, the Empire of Trebizond, would be conquered by the Ottomans eight years in the 1461 Siege of Trebizond. The first use of the term "Byzantine" to label the years of the Roman Empire was in 1557, when the German historian Hieronymus Wolf published his work Corpus Historiæ Byzantinæ, a collection of historical sources.
The term comes from "Byzantium", the name of the city of Constantinople before it became Constantine's capital. This older name of the city would be used from this point onward except in historical or poetic contexts; the publication in 1648 of the Byzantine du Louvre, in 1680 of Du Cange's Historia Byzantina further popularised the use of "Byzantine" among French authors, such as Montesquieu. However, it was not until the mid-19th century that the term came into general use in the Western world; the Byzantine Empire was known to its inhabitants as the "Roman Empire", the "Empire of the Romans", "Romania", the "Roman Republic", as "Rhōmais". The inhabitants called themselves Romaioi and as late as the 19th century Greeks referred to Modern Greek as Romaiika "Romaic." After 1204 when the Byzantine Empire was confined to its purely Greek provinces the term'Hellenes' was used instead. While the Byzantine Empire had a multi-ethnic character during most of its history and preserved Romano-Hellenistic traditions, it became identified by its western and northern contemporaries with its predominant Greek element.
The occasional use of the term "Empire of the Greeks" in the West to refer to the Eastern Roman Empire and of the Byzantine Emperor as Imperator Graecorum were used to separate it from the prestige of the Roman Empire within the new kingdoms of the West. No such distinction existed in the Islamic and Slavic worlds, where the Empire was more straightforwardly seen as the continuation of the Roman Empire. In the Islamic world, the Roman Empire was known as Rûm; the name millet-i Rûm, or "Roman nation," was used by the Ottomans through the 20th century to refer to the former subjects of the Byzantine Empire
Jews or Jewish people are an ethnoreligious group and a nation, originating from the Israelites and Hebrews of historical Israel and Judah. Jewish ethnicity and religion are interrelated, as Judaism is the traditional faith of the Jewish people, while its observance varies from strict observance to complete nonobservance. Jews originated as an ethnic and religious group in the Middle East during the second millennium BCE, in the part of the Levant known as the Land of Israel; the Merneptah Stele appears to confirm the existence of a people of Israel somewhere in Canaan as far back as the 13th century BCE. The Israelites, as an outgrowth of the Canaanite population, consolidated their hold with the emergence of the kingdoms of Israel and Judah; some consider that these Canaanite sedentary Israelites melded with incoming nomadic groups known as'Hebrews'. Though few sources mention the exilic periods in detail, the experience of diaspora life, from the Ancient Egyptian rule over the Levant, to Assyrian captivity and exile, to Babylonian captivity and exile, to Seleucid Imperial rule, to the Roman occupation and exile, the historical relations between Jews and their homeland thereafter, became a major feature of Jewish history and memory.
Prior to World War II, the worldwide Jewish population reached a peak of 16.7 million, representing around 0.7% of the world population at that time. 6 million Jews were systematically murdered during the Holocaust. Since the population has risen again, as of 2016 was estimated at 14.4 million by the Berman Jewish DataBank, less than 0.2% of the total world population. The modern State of Israel is the only country, it defines itself as a Jewish and democratic state in the Basic Laws, Human Dignity and Liberty in particular, based on the Declaration of Independence. Israel's Law of Return grants the right of citizenship to Jews who have expressed their desire to settle in Israel. Despite their small percentage of the world's population, Jews have influenced and contributed to human progress in many fields, both and in modern times, including philosophy, literature, business, fine arts and architecture, music and cinema, science and technology, as well as religion. Jews have played a significant role in the development of Western Civilization.
The English word "Jew" continues Iewe. These terms derive from Old French giu, earlier juieu, which through elision had dropped the letter "d" from the Medieval Latin Iudaeus, like the New Testament Greek term Ioudaios, meant both "Jew" and "Judean" / "of Judea"; the Greek term was a loan from Aramaic Y'hūdāi, corresponding to Hebrew יְהוּדִי Yehudi the term for a member of the tribe of Judah or the people of the kingdom of Judah. According to the Hebrew Bible, the name of both the tribe and kingdom derive from Judah, the fourth son of Jacob. Genesis 29:35 and 49:8 connect the name "Judah" with the verb yada, meaning "praise", but scholars agree that the name of both the patriarch and the kingdom instead have a geographic origin—possibly referring to the gorges and ravines of the region; the Hebrew word for "Jew" is יְהוּדִי Yehudi, with the plural יְהוּדִים Yehudim. Endonyms in other Jewish languages include the Yiddish ייִד Yid; the etymological equivalent is in use in other languages, e.g. يَهُودِيّ yahūdī, al-yahūd, in Arabic, "Jude" in German, "judeu" in Portuguese, "Juif" /"Juive" in French, "jøde" in Danish and Norwegian, "judío/a" in Spanish, "jood" in Dutch, "żyd" in Polish etc. but derivations of the word "Hebrew" are in use to describe a Jew, e.g. in Italian, in Persian and Russian.
The German word "Jude" is pronounced, the corresponding adjective "jüdisch" is the origin of the word "Yiddish". According to The American Heritage Dictionary of the English Language, fourth edition, It is recognized that the attributive use of the noun Jew, in phrases such as Jew lawyer or Jew ethics, is both vulgar and offensive. In such contexts Jewish is the only acceptable possibility; some people, have become so wary of this construction that they have extended the stigma to any use of Jew as a noun, a practice that carries risks of its own. In a sentence such as There are now several Jews on the council, unobjectionable, the substitution of a circumlocution like Jewish people or persons of Jewish background may in itself cause offense for seeming to imply that Jew has a negative connotation when used as a noun. Judaism shares some of the characteristics of a nation, an ethnicity, a religion, a culture, making the definition of, a Jew vary depending on whether a religious or national approach to identity is used.
In modern secular usage Jews include three groups: people who were born to a Jewish family regardless of whether or not they follow the religion, those who have some Jewish ancestral background or lineage, people without any Jewish ancestral background or lineage who have formally converted to Judaism and therefore are followers of the religion. Historical definitions of Jewish identity have traditionally been based on halakhic definitions of matrilineal descent, halakhic conversions; these definitions of, a Jew date back to the codification of the Oral
The Caspian Sea is the world's largest inland body of water, variously classed as the world's largest lake or a full-fledged sea. It is an endorheic basin located between Europe and Asia, to the east of the Caucasus Mountains and to the west of the broad steppe of Central Asia; the sea has a surface area of 371,000 km2 and a volume of 78,200 km3. It has a salinity of 1.2%, about a third of the salinity of most seawater. It is bounded by Kazakhstan to the northeast, Russia to the northwest, Azerbaijan to the west, Iran to the south, Turkmenistan to the southeast; the Caspian Sea is home to a wide range of species and may be best known for its caviar and oil industries. Pollution from the oil industry and dams on rivers draining into the Caspian Sea have had negative effects on the organisms living in the sea; the wide and endorheic Caspian Sea has a north–south orientation and its main freshwater inflow, the Volga River, enters at the shallow north end. Two deep basins occupy its southern areas.
These lead to horizontal differences in temperature and ecology. The Caspian Sea spreads out over nearly 750 miles from north to south, with an average width of 200 miles, it covers a region of around 149,200 square miles and its surface is about 90 feet below sea level. The sea bed in the southern part reaches as low as 1,023 m below sea level, the second lowest natural depression on Earth after Lake Baikal; the ancient inhabitants of its coast perceived the Caspian Sea as an ocean because of its saltiness and large size. The word Caspian is derived from the name of the Caspi, an ancient people who lived to the southwest of the sea in Transcaucasia. Strabo wrote that "to the country of the Albanians belongs the territory called Caspiane, named after the Caspian tribe, as was the sea. Moreover, the Caspian Gates, the name of a region in Iran's Tehran province indicates that they migrated to the south of the sea; the Iranian city of Qazvin shares the root of its name with that of the sea. In fact, the traditional Arabic name for the sea itself is Baḥr al-Qazwin.
In classical antiquity among Greeks and Persians it was called the Hyrcanian Ocean. In Persian middle age, as well as in modern Iran, it is known as Daryā-e Khazar. Ancient Arabic sources refer to it as Baḥr Gīlān meaning "the Gilan Sea". Turkic languages refer to the lake as Khazar Sea. In Turkmen, the name is Hazar deňizi, in Azeri, it is Xəzər dənizi, in modern Turkish, it is Hazar denizi. In all these cases, the second word means "sea", the first word refers to the historical Khazars who had a large empire based to the north of the Caspian Sea between the 7th and 10th centuries. An exception is Kazakh, where it is called Kaspiy teñizi. Renaissance European maps labelled it as Mar de Bachu, or Mar de Sala. Old Russian sources call it the Khvalis Sea after the name of Khwarezmia. In modern Russian, it is called Каспи́йское мо́ре, Kaspiyskoye more; the Caspian Sea, like the Black Sea, is a remnant of the ancient Paratethys Sea. Its seafloor is, therefore, a standard oceanic basalt and not a continental granite body.
It became landlocked about 5.5 million years ago due to a fall in sea level. During warm and dry climatic periods, the landlocked sea dried up, depositing evaporitic sediments like halite that were covered by wind-blown deposits and were sealed off as an evaporite sink when cool, wet climates refilled the basin. Due to the current inflow of fresh water in the north, the Caspian Sea water is fresh in its northern portions, getting more brackish toward the south, it is most saline on the Iranian shore. The mean salinity of the Caspian is one third that of Earth's oceans; the Garabogazköl embayment, which dried up when water flow from the main body of the Caspian was blocked in the 1980s but has since been restored exceeds oceanic salinity by a factor of 10. The Caspian Sea is the largest inland body of water in the world and accounts for 40 to 44% of the total lacustrine waters of the world; the coastlines of the Caspian are shared by Azerbaijan, Kazakhstan and Turkmenistan. The Caspian is divided into three distinct physical regions: the Northern and Southern Caspian.
The Northern–Middle boundary is the Mangyshlak Threshold, which runs through Chechen Island and Cape Tiub-Karagan. The Middle–Southern boundary is the Apsheron Threshold, a sill of tectonic origin between the Eurasian continent and an oceanic remnant, that runs through Zhiloi Island and Cape Kuuli; the Garabogazköl Bay is the saline eastern inlet of the Caspian, part of Turkmenistan and at times has been a lake in its own right due to the isthmus that cuts it off from the Caspian. Differences between the three regions are dramatic; the Northern Caspian only includes the Caspian shelf, is shallow. The sea noticeably drops off towards the Middle Caspian; the Southern Caspian is the deepest, with oceanic depths of over 1,000 metres exceeding the depth of other reg
Astrakhan State University
Astrakhan State University is a university located in Astrakhan, Russian Federation. It was founded in 1932; the traditional functions of Astrakhan State University include training specialists and fundamental researches. ASU in figures: 6 Institutions. ASU develops its international links. Jointly with its partners from Finland, Japan, France, Iran, United States and from other countries, Astrakhan State University carries out the following programs: short-term language courses, student exchanges, joint research and innovative projects, joint courses for students, international conferences. ASU realizes its agreements on “double diplomas” signed with Université de Sophia Antipolis and with Clark University; the agreements concern joint Masters’ programs. ASU has been chosen by Harvard University as a pilot site in Russia to organize an educational program in international competitiveness; the two-year experience gained by ASU’s Russian Language Summer School for American students has made it possible for the parties to sign a cooperation agreement till 2012.
ASU has become one of 16 basic Russian Universities to form the University of the Shanghai Cooperation Organisation. A UNESCO Chair operates at ASU. ASU’s students can study the main European and Eastern languages