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Destinations > Volga River District

Astrakhan

This city is the oldest economic and cultural center of the Caspian Depression, located in the upper part of the majestic Volga River. It is famous for the fishing industry, the world`s saltiest lake, and extensive history, which leaves nobody indifferent

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Union of Different People

and  Cultures

Astrakhan is an ancient city in the south of Russia, in the delta of Volga – the biggest river in Europe. It is an important cultural, economic and political center. Astrakhan was the capital of Tatar khanate till Ivan’s IV the Terrible conquered it in the 16th century. Located on the north coast of the Caspian Sea, it was a part of the Great Silk Way and nowadays it is the largest transport hub that unites different people and cultures.

Astrakhan’s historical sites, such as the cathedrals and the castles, built in the late 16th century still exist. Nowadays in the Kremlin of Astrakhan you can observe 22 magnificent monuments of the Russian medieval architecture. There you can visit St. Vladimir cathedral, Pokrovsky Cathedral, Trinity Cathedral, various catholic churches and Muslim mosques.

Astrakhan is the city of bridges and water canals; it plays an important role as a river port where water and land routes cross. The city is famous for its fishing industry, ship repair and Astrakhan’s karakul furs.

short city information

LOCAL TIME
UTC+4
CLIMATE
dry / semi-arid continental with cold winters and hot summers
POPULATION
530 thousand people
HOW TO GET
3,5 hours by plane from Moscow
HIGHLIGHT
Saray Batu, the salty lake Baskunchak, Altynzhar

types of tourism

A lady with binocular sightseeing

Excursion

Gilded onion domes with crosses of an orthodox church

Orthodox

Two people wearing traditional clothes

ethno

A tree, fields, hills, sun, different natural zones: mountains, tundra, taiga steppes, mixed forests

Nature

Things for sauna: wooden barrel, hat, towel

wellness

A man wearing a cap showing a fish in his hand

fishing

​JOURNEY INTO THE PAST

The Ancient Capital Saray Batu

​Saray Batu was a famous medieval city, the capital of the Golden Horde. It is situated upon the Akhtuba river, in the steppe, 140 km far from Astrakhan. The city was founded in the 1250s and since that time various Russian princes received their patent of authority (yarlyk) there. It was an enormous city by the standards of that period. In other words, it was the most important political and economic center of the Golden Horde. The city was destroyed but in 2010 Saray Batu was completely renovated on the recommendations of archaeologists and historians, so it impresses with its realism and atmosphere.
Old brown buildings of a medieval city of Middle East, a fortress wall and a square-shape building
Buildings of an old ruined city-museum in the Middle East, a brown fortress wall with cone-shaped towers with wooden support sticks inside, a lighthouse, a wooden wagon in front
A pool with water in a courtyard of an old medieval city, a wooden construction with pottery jars
A fresh fish in fisherman’s hands
A fresh fish on a net in hands of a fisherman
A can with high quality black caviar, sturgeon roe

Catch a big fish

Fishing

The Astrakhan region is a unique fishing area. Here an amazing nature has been formed with rich vegetation and animal world. The abundance of fish in this part of the great river Volga makes these places very popular. The chances of a rich catch are always high in the spring, and from July to October in particular. Success can be expected not only by professionals but also by beginners fishermen.

the lake of tears

Bogdo-Baskunchak Reserve

The travellers who come to Astrakhan in late spring or early summer can enjoy the opportunity to visit the world’s saltiest lake Baskunchak. You can swim in its salty water or find healing clay on the coast. The locals call this place “the Holy Lake” or “the Lake of Tears”. They say that its healing power is better than the one of the Dead Sea! For several centuries this lake supplied salt to the whole country.

Those who arrive at the Bogdinsko-Baskunchaksky nature reserve can see how salt production occurs. The flora and fauna of the reserve are rich in rare species. The highest point of the Caspian lowland – 151 m – is the Big Bogdo mountain made entirely of salt. There are about 30 caves inside. Some of these caves are over 1 km in length and over 30 meters in depth.

A white building with round white dome and decorations in Mideast style, a name in Cyrillic letters carved in white stone

altynzhar

Dive Into  Kazakh Culture

In one hour and a half drive out from Astrakhan you can get to Altynzhar – a historical center of Kazakh culture. Altynzhar in Kazakh’s language means “golden coast”. There you can explore the White Mausoleum and Kurmangaza house. This museum is a memorial of the life and work of world-famous musician and poet Kurmangaza. Many museums of Altynzhar exhibit the ethnographic collections which give vivid descriptions of the cultural traditions and the way of life of local people.

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