The Kama River

THE KAMA (Russian: река́ Ка́ма) is a major river in Russia, the largest in Western Ural, and the longest left tributary of the Volga.

The overall length is 1 805 km (1125 miles). The Kama river basin includes 73 718 rivers (93% of them are 10 km and shorter). The largest tributaries to the Kama are Kosa, Vishera, Sylva, Chusovaya, Belaya, Ik, Izh, Zay, Vyatka and Myosha Rivers. The cities situated on the banks of the Kama are Solikamsk, Berezniki, Perm, Sarapul, and Naberezhnye Chelny. It is fairly well used trade route. Passenger routes connect Perm and Moscow, Nizhniy Novgorod, Ufa, and Astrakhan. Picturesque scenery and beautiful banks of the river attract numerous tourists.

There are 3 bridges over the Kama river in Perm: the main city communal bridge, the railroad bridge, and the Krasavinsk transport bridge.

Rising in the Upper Kama Upland of Udmurtia, the Kama flows north, then east, south, and southwest for 1,122 miles (1,805 km) until it enters the Volga River below Kazan, in the Samara Reservoir. It drains a basin of 202,000 square miles (522,000 square km). The spring maximum flow following the snowmelt accounts for nearly 60 percent of the annual flow; freeze-up lasts from mid-November or early December until April. The Kama is one of the most important rivers of Russia - historically as the routeway to the Urals and Siberia and economically as part of the vast Volga system of waterways.

There are large barrages and hydroelectric stations at Perm, at Chaykovsky near Votkinsk, and at Nizhnekamsk, downstream.

Fish: sterlet, sturgeon, bream, carp, crucian carp, white bream, ide, bleak, pike-perch, perch, ruff, chub, pike, eelpout, catfish.

The Kama is known as the symbol of Perm Krai, the blue road of Prikamie, the waterway of Perm. The origin of the name "Kama" is still indefinite. One of the versions refers to the legend about the powerful Kama who in different situations appears as a heroic defender, kind deity, or evil magician. According to the scientific explanation, the word "Kama" (from Udmurt "Kema") means "long", "prolonged". Indeed, the length of the river is over 1800 km (1125 miles).

Many poets, writers, and artists have admired the beauty of the Kama. Poets Vasiliy Kamenskiy and Vladimir Radkevitch call it lovingly Kama-Kamushka, the Kama-Mother, the Blue-eyed Mother-Kama. The people who live along the River, call it the Kama-Worker, the Kama-Beauty.


Volga and Kama: Which river is considered to be the main?

Data collected through hydrologic exploration starting 1875 shows that Volga is the tributary of the Kama River.

Hydrological data proves Kama outgoes Volga in many showings

River basins at watersmeet of Kama and Volga rivers are practically the same.  But the number of Kama’s tributaries is higher: Kama includes as many as 73700 small rivers and channels, while Volga does only 66500. The origin of Kama River is located higher than the one of Volga, as Kama’s drainage basin enframes the Ural Mountains.

Kama – the old river

Kama River’s valley is much older than the Upper Volga’s. Kama had already been running its waters to the Caspian Sea while Volga lied covered with ice. Consequently, the Lower Volga is Kama’s valley extension.

Mikhail Osorgin remembering his childhood, spent on the Kama River, writes: “We, living on the Kama River, think of Volga condescendingly: tributary, as any other, runs from Tver to Kazan, while Kama runs from the Ural to the Caspian Sea. Kama is the mother, Volga is the daughter”.