Ural River

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Author:Laxman Burdak, IFS (Retd.)

Ural ends at Caspian Sea

Ural, known as Yaik (Russian: Яик) before 1775, is a river flowing through Russia and Kazakhstan.


It originates in the southern Ural Mountains and ends at the Caspian Sea. Along with the Volga, the Ural River is one of the major rivers feeding the Caspian Sea.


The river was called Jajykon by Ptolemy in the 2nd century AD.[1] This name has a Turkic origin and is currently official in Kazakhstan and in the Bashkir language. In later European texts it is sometimes mentioned as Rhymnus fluvius[2] and in the Russian chronicle of 1140 as Yaik.[3] The river was renamed Ural in the Russian language in 1775, by Catherine II of Russia.

In the 10–16th centuries, the city of Saray-Jük (or Saraichik, meaning "small Sarai") on the Ural River (now in Atyrau Province of Kazakhstan) was an important trade center on the Silk Road.

In the 13th century, it became a stronghold of the Golden Horde. It was destroyed in 1395 by the army of Timur but then rebuilt to become the capital of Nogai Horde in the 15–16th centuries. It was finally reduced to a village in 1580 by the Ural Cossacks.[4][5]

Jat History connections

  • The region up to Ural mountains was called Sakastan.[6]


  1. Yu. Kulakovsky. "Chapter 2. The map of European Sarmatia" (in Russian).
  2. Philippus Ferrarius, Michel-Antoine Baudrand (1738). Novum lexicon geographicum: in quo universi orbis, urbes, regiones ... flumina novis & antiquis nominibus appellata, suisque distantiis descripta recensetur (in Latin). p. 109.
  3. B.A. Rybakov (1972). Русские летописцы и автор Слова о полку Игореве (in Russian). Nauka. Paul Brummell (2008). Bradt Kazakhstan. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 316. ISBN 1-84162-234-6.
  4. 800 km on Ural River (in Russian)
  5. Paul Brummell (2008). Bradt Kazakhstan. Bradt Travel Guides. p. 316. ISBN 1-84162-234-6.
  6. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/The migrations of the Jats to the North-Western countries
  7. The Jats:Their Origin, Antiquity and Migrations/Jat-Its variants, p.240-241