Orenburg Oblast is in the very south of Russia on the border with Kazakhstan. If you look at a map, it looks like a flying dragon. Orenburg Oblast is a region of endless steppe. You can experience a real winter and the legendary Russian frost, but you won't freeze here: you will be protected by the region's traditional souvenir—the Orenburg Shawl.
The Orenburg Shawl is the region's colorful brand. The local goat down hair is the thinnest in the world. This is demonstrated by sellers who like to show a trick by pulling the shawl through a narrow golden ring. Although it is seems very large at first glance, the shawl goes through it easily.
You can have your picture taken in Orenburg with one foot in Europe and the other in Asia. Most road bridges crossing Oblast's main river, the Ural, have information boards telling you which side of the world you are on.
A population of Przewalski's horses was reintroduced in the Orenburg Nature Reserve. The first horses were released by Vladimir Putin. Yuri Gagarin, the world's first Cosmonaut, studied at the Air Force Pilot School in Orenburg.
Orsk Jasper is a semi-precious stone that is mined in the east of the region. According to some scientists, the Jasper was formed when there were no mountains here, only sea. The mine has been in operation for more than 250 years.
About 200 km to the north east of Orsk is one of the most famous mountains in Orenburg Oblast—Verblyuzhka (Camel) Hill. This 20 meter high hill made of multicolored quartz crystals and standing all alone among endless fields truly resembles a camel. Not far from here is Shalkar-Ega-Kara Lake. It dries out approximately every 10 years, while every three years it freezes right to the bottom. And each time it survives and continues to live. Its average depth is only 1 meter, so you can fish here even without a boat.
Another natural wonder in Orenburg Oblast is the Baytukskie Palatki. This is a group of granite buttes that tower over the steppe surrounded by pine trees.
The Iriklinskoye Reservoir was built on the Ural River in the north of Oblast. The coastal area of the reservoir stretches for 400 km and its depth reaches 35 m. If you are lucky, you might see an endangered fish—lake trout or sterlet. Lots of tourists come to the lake when the weather is good in summer, put up tents, and have barbecues. In winter, hundreds of anglers try their luck at winter fishing on the ice.
The western part of Oblast is taken up by Buzuluksky Bor National Park—a huge pine forest covering almost 1,000 square kilometers. Particular attention should be paid towards the two oldest pine trees that are almost 350 years old. Even three people holding hands can't reach all the way round them. You can see elk, wild boar, bats and, if you're lucky, roe deer or lynx. The area has many resorts suitable for any budget.