Enter China without a visa, watch a rocket launch and find dinosaur bones all in the same day when you visit Amur Oblast. Make sure that you plan your time sensibly, don't get lost in the endless taiga and don't use up all your smartphone memory on photos of endangered animals in the Amur nature reserves. You won't find any annoying tourists in Amur Oblast and the roads pass through beautiful steppe land, past hills and rivers. After leaving the oblast's capital of Blagoveshchensk, you will quickly find yourself at one with nature.
The main attraction is the city's river bank, from where you can see the Chinese city of Heihe on the other side. The embankment is home to a number of points of interest: a statue of the governor of Eastern Siberia Nikolay Muravyov-Amursky, an iron bull, a monument dedicated to the first settlers, and a triumphal arch built in 1891 to mark the visit of Crown Prince Nicholas II. The local history museum, which at 115 years old is the oldest in Far Eastern Russia, can be found on Lenin Street.
One of the "Wonders of Amur" – the Blagoveschensk Cathedral – houses the Albazin icon of the Mother of God "The Word made Flesh" painted in the late 15th century. It is believed that this sacred relic protects the country's borders from invaders.
Ninety minutes drive from the city is Lake Rotanye, famous for its therapeutic muds. Another lake near Blagoveschensk which must be visited can be found in the village of Ivanovka. In August, the Red Book listed "Flower of Wisdom" (the Nelumbo komarovii or Siberian Lotus) flowers on this artificial lake. It flowers for 4 to 7 days and is something that many people dream of seeing. On the banks of the Zeya reservoir, you can visit a state nature reserve, home to roe deer, moose and the Far Eastern red deer.
The main sight in Svobodny is the narrow gauge children's railway, the longest in Russia. It is called a children's railway because it used to connect Svobodny with a children's camp in Bardagon village.
The town also looks up to the stars: the Vostochny Cosmodrome is being built fifty kilometers from the town, as well as the town of Tsiolkovsky for employees of the spaceport. So far, the first construction phase is complete – the launch pad for Soyuz rockets and cosmodrome infrastructure. Completion of the second and third construction phases will allow for the launch of manned missions, and flights to the moon are planned to start in 2029.
One of the main attractions in Amur Oblast is the burning mountains on the banks of the Amur River in Shimanovsky district near the village of Novovoskresenovka. The mountains "burn" because of the coal lying at a depth of 10 to 15 m. The coal self-ignited 300 years ago when it came into contact with the air, and is still smoldering to this day.
Amur Oblast contains almost 30 protected areas and three nature reserves – Nora, Zeya and Khingan – which attract nature lovers to the region.
Nora nature reserve is situated between the Nora and Selemdzha rivers. The protected area is home to the largest population in the world of Siberian Roe Deer. Khingan nature reserve is the best place in Russia's Far East for the raccoon dog. Rare types of birds also nest here: the Oriental White Stork and Daurian and Ussuri Cranes. The main trees in the nature reserve are the black birch and Mongolian oak, which are only found in the east.
Not that long ago, archaeologists in Amur Oblast discovered about 20 ancient rock drawings – petroglyphs. Thirty kilometers from the village of Yerofey Pavlovich, you can see ten-meter high rocks. The petroglyphs show heavenly bodies, people and animals, including rhinoceros; they are clear evidence that rhinoceros once lived in Priamurye.
830 kilometers from Blagoveschensk, near the village of Pervomayskoe in Tyndinsky district, home to almost half the population of Amur Oblast Evenks, the Evenki Village tourist complex has been built that demonstrates the national culture of the indigenous minorities of the North. It contains a number of buildings: a workshop, a modern Evenki family house, a bath house, a food and clothes store, a hunter's house and hut, and a tent made from bark that is covered in fur and leather.