The cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin first landed in Saratov Oblast. The city of Saratov, with its moderately temperate climate, sits on the banks of the Volga River, where it was once a Russian major trading center. The cultural capital of the Volga region contains many beautiful paintings, such as the works of Ivan Aivazovsky and Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, and a collection of samovars. Outside the capital, you can find the unique Lion House, with its beautiful painted interior, and open-air thermal spas.
Saratov Oblast is famous around the world. This is where Yuri Gagarin landed after his first space flight. However, not many people know that the first cosmonaut lived and studied in Saratov, and this is where he first took to the skies with the Saratov flying club. An obelisk has been erected in the village of Smelovka in Engels District at the landing site, and major festivities are held there every year on Cosmonaut Day. The National Gagarin Museum can be found in Saratov.
Saratov Oblast is associated with many scientific and cultural figures—the writer Nikolay Chernyshevsky, the artist Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, the composer Alfred Schnittke and the inventor of the "Russian lamp" Pavel Yablochkov. Oblast appears in the memoirs of the great biologist Nikolai Vavilov, the artist Mikhail Vrubel, the writer Mikhail Bulgakov, the Nobel laureate Nikolay Semyonov, and the poet Gavrila Derzhavin. This is where Pyotr Stolypin began his political career.
In Saratov, you can immerse yourself in the unique atmosphere of the merchant town, the cultural capital of the Volga region. Its central streets are a real historic installation. You can see examples of classicism, modern, eclecticism, and even neo-Gothic architecture. These buildings create an unforgettable architecture ensemble that is unique for a Volga city.
It is hard to find another Volga city with as many theaters as Saratov. The Saratov Opera and Ballet Theater hosts the annual international Sobinovsky music festival; the first children's theater in the world—Saratov Kiselev Youth Theater—presents wonderful new shows every season. The Saratov theater school was attended by Oleg Tabakov, Oleg Yankovsky, Yevgeny Mironov, and many other famous cultural figures.
Saratov Oblast is well-known for its cultural and historic heritage. You can see the works of world-famous artists, such as Ivan Aivazovsky, Ilya Repin, Kuzma Petrov-Vodkin, Victor Borisov-Musatov, and many others in the first public museum in the Russian provinces, which opened in1885 in Saratov. The region is also home to some unusual museums, such as the Museum of Sporting Glory, the Samovar Museum, the Saratov Accordion Museum, the Strawberry Museum, and the Water Melon Museum.
Saratov is a perfect place for a family holiday. Children will love the Saratov children's theaters and museums, the amusement parks and mini zoos, the horse riding clubs as well as the circus and the lemonarium.
Saratov Oblast hosts theatrical, musical, food, industrial, agricultural, historical, and sporting events.
In summer, residents and visitors to Oblast relax on the banks of the Volga River and its many tributaries. The region's nature attracts more and more people every year. People come here who are looking for adventure, to go rafting, fishing, hunting, or just to walk along the environmental trails and entertaining tourist routes.