Eleven of the twenty largest cities of Russia, including the capital, Moscow, are located in the Volga's watershed.
Some of the largest reservoirs in the world can be found along the Volga.
The area downstream of the Volga, widely believed to have been a cradle of the Proto-Indo-European civilization, was settled by Huns and other Turkic peoples in the first millennium AD, replacing the Scythians.
The ancient scholar Ptolemy of Alexandria mentions the lower Volga in his Geography (Book 5, Chapter 8, 2nd Map of Asia).
The Volga Delta has a length of about 160 kilometres (99 miles) and includes as many as 500 channels and smaller rivers.
The largest estuary in Europe, it is the only place in Russia where pelicans, flamingos, and lotuses may be found.
Rising in the Valdai Hills 225 meters (738 ft) above sea level northwest of Moscow and about 320 kilometers (200 mi) southeast of Saint Petersburg, the Volga heads east past Lake Sterzh, Tver, Dubna, Rybinsk, Yaroslavl, Nizhny Novgorod, and Kazan.