Sarai (sərĪˈ) [key], former city, S European Russia, near present-day Volgograd. Founded in 1241 by Batu Khan, it was (13th–15th cent.) the capital of the Tatar Golden Horde, to which the Russians paid tribute for more than 200 years. The city declined after Czar Ivan III threw off the Tatar yoke in 1480.
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