Astrakhan Oblast is a land with ancient history, the center of many events described in Russia's chronicles. This region has a rich and diverse nature, a rare ethnic composition and has accumulated centuries of cultural potential. The region's main city is Astrakhan, which is proudly known as the Capital of the Caspian, the Keeper of Living History and Pearl of the Lower Volga region.
A developed service infrastructure, numerous ancient and modern cultural and architectural monuments and centuries of southern hospitality have turned Astrakhan Oblast into a center for lovers of environmental, cultural-educational, ethnographic and other types of tourism. The contrasting climate, beautiful landscapes and the hospitality of the local people are why visitors come to Astrakhan Oblast from all over the world.
You can't visit Astrakhan without seeing its main treasure — the Astrakhan Kremlin. This is one of the few preserved ancient fortresses in Russia, a unique architectural complex built in the 16th century. Today the Kremlin is an open-air museum with unique exhibitions, interactive excursions and programmes. Visitors can walk along the walls, take part in a historic quest and immerse themselves in the history of the ancient city. As a souvenir of the city, visitors can mint a coin themselves with an image of the white-stone Kremlin and other symbols of the region.
Merchant houses, luxurious mansions, banks and trade buildings have been preserved in the center of the old White City. The facades of the mansions have been decorated with forged or carved elements, which you will never tire of looking at. Many of them have been made in Astrakhan's eclectic style, which absorbed the styles of different times; from Naryshkin Baroque and Russian Rococo to elements of eastern architecture.
A spectacular example of wooden architecture from the late 19th century, which miraculously is the only remaining one in the whole Lower Volga, is the Tetyushinova Merchant House. This two-story carved house, straight out of the pages of Russian fairy tales, was built in 1872. Today it is home to a museum and cultural center, where visitors can experience interactive tours with a merchant family, a masterclass on making Slavic charms, tea drinking on the merchant's veranda and exhibitions of traditional folk art.
The central embankment of the Volga shows off its marvelous old buildings, carved lights and original fountains. But the main attraction here is the vast beauty of the Volga, the Queen of Russian rivers, the region's main waterway. The embankment is the heart of the city's cultural life. Musical and theatrical events are held here; it is the favorite place for locals and visitors to walk along.
To immerse yourself in the history of this ancient region, you should visit its museums; lovers of history and ethnography should visit Sarai Batu, Capital of the Golden Horde, a legendary ghost town that spreads into the Astrakhan steppe. You can feel the atmosphere of the Middle Ages and touch the walls of buildings built using 16th century technology.
The Volga Delta is a special place where you can see a large number of different animals and birds. Many of the plants that grow here are listed in the Red Data Book. The unique nature of the Volga Delta has given Astrakhan Oblast a real wonder — the largest wild lotus fields in the world grow on the Caspian seashore. Visitors who come here from July to September can witness a unique spectacle — the flowering of the Caspian Rose. The soft and gentle aroma of this exotic flower will be long remembered, while unique photographs of this lotus sea will be an ideal souvenir.Another true wonder of nature is Baskunchak salt lake. This is the biggest and saltiest known lake in the world. From May to September, visitors can swim in this miracle lake and also walk along it. It is impossible to drown in it, while its therapeutic mud is just as good as that in the Dead Sea. Not far from the lake is Great Bogdo, the only mountain in the area. The mountain is associated with many legends, hidden in the surrounding caves and grottoes; it has long been a place of pilgrimage for Buddhists as it is considered a place blessed by Buddha himself. It is worth coming here in spring to enjoy the flowering wild tulips and poppies.