1911 Encyclopædia Britannica/Tsaritsyn

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TSARITSYN, a town of Russia, in the government of Saratov, situated on the right bank of the Volga, where it suddenly turns towards the south-east, 40 m. distant from the Don. Pop. (1900), 67,650. Tsaritsyn is the terminus of a railway which begins at Riga and, running south-eastwards, intersects all the main lines which radiate from Moscow to the south. It is also connected by rail with Kalach on the Don, where merchandise from the Sea of Azov is disembarked. Corn from middle Russia for Astrakhan is transferred from the railway to boats at Tsaritsyn; timber and wooden wares from the upper Volga are unloaded here and sent by rail to Kalach; and fish, salt and fruits sent from Astrakhan by boat up the Volga are here unloaded and despatched by rail to the interior of Russia. The town has grown rapidly since the completion of the railway system, and has a large trade in petroleum from Baku. Tsaritsyn is also the centre of the trade in the mustard of Sarepta, Dubovka and the neighbourhood. The fisheries are important. The buildings of the town include a public library, and the church of St John (end of 16th century), a fine specimen of the architecture of its period. Here are iron, machinery and brick works, tanneries, distilleries, and factories for jam, mustard and mead. Market gardening is an important industry.

A fort was erected here in the 16th century to prevent the incursions of the free Cossacks and runaway serfs who gathered on the lower Volga, as also the raids of the Kalmucks and Circassians. In 1606 Tsaritsyn took part in the rising in favour of the false Demetrius, and Stenka Razin took the town in 1670. The Kalmucks and Circassians of the Kubañ attacked it repeatedly in the 17th century, so that it had to be fortified by a strong earthen and palisades wall, traces of which are still visible.