Saratov ( ) is a major
It is the
administrative center of Saratov Oblast and a major port on the Volga River.
Population: In addition to
, the city also has many
The Legend of Saratov: Gelonus
, a legendary
city and the northernmost Greek
colony, may be conjectured to have been situated in the locality of
present-day Saratov. Gelonus is mentioned in Book 6 of the
Histories of Herodotus
, according to whom
in 512 B.C. the city was burnt down by the Emperor Darius I of Persia
. A more certain
ancestor city of Saratov was Ukek
During the reign of Tsar Feodor Ivanovich
several settlements were
built in order to fortify the state borders. During the summer of
1586 the fortress of Samara was
founded. In 1589, the fortress of Tsaritsyn (later
called Stalingrad and now called Volgograd) was built in the region where the Volga and the Don come closest to each other.
Saratov was built in 1590 midway between Samara and Tsaritsyn at
the instigation of count Grigory
. (Kazan on the upper Volga had been annexed in 1552 and
Astrakhan on the lower Volga in 1556. Following the end of the
Livonian War, these three forts strengthened Russia's hold on the
Volga.) Buildings for the town were constructed of wood in the
upper reaches of the Volga
prior to the foundation in situ
of the city. In spring the
constructions were disassembled, every log marked, and all the town
was delivered to the pre-defined place. Such a method allowed the
town to be built in its entirety within several weeks.
The name Saratov may be conjectured to derive from the Turkic
words Saryk Atov
‘hawks' island’.Another version of the name origin is "Sary Tau"
(Сары Тау) meaning Yellow Mountain in Tatar language
as the city is surrounded by a
few sandy hills.
Saratov became an important shipping port in the 1800s.
The Ryazan-Ural railroad
reached to Saratov in 1870. In 1896 (26 years later) it crossed the
city and stretched far behind the Volga River. A unique
train-ferry, owned by the Ryazan-Ural railroad, provided the
connection between two part of this railroad on two banks of the
river during 39 years, and since 1935 the Saratov railroad bridge
has started to execute bank-connection.
World War II Saratov was crossed by
Volzhskaya Rokada in South-North
direction (it was a special railroad providing the transportation
of troops, ammunition and different important cargoes for Stalingrad, holding its borders).
From Soviet times until 1991, Saratov was a "closed city", strictly
off limits to all foreigners. Situated on the Volga River, this was
a major military aircraft manufacturing site, the home of the first
man in space, Yuri Gagarin
, and a vital
part of the Soviet space programme.
Saratov was also the home of the Volga
. Until 1941, Pokrovsk, known today as Engels, Russia, and located just across the Volga from Saratov,
was the capital of a separate German republic.
Germans numbered 800,000 in the early 20th century.
The Volga Germans included industrialists, scientists, musicians
and architects, including those who built Saratov's universities
and conservatories. At the outbreak of World War II, half of the Volga Germans were
exiled to Siberia and Kazakhstan, and few ever returned to the region.
in the 1980s, many emigrated to Germany, but the
Roman Catholic St. Klementy Cathedral on Nemetskaya Street (seat of
the Diocese of
Tiraspol, founded in 1848) is a reminder of Saratov's German
past, though it was converted in the 1960s into a movie
The Saratov region is rich not only in natural and industrial
resources. The region is also famous for being one of the largest
cultural and scientific centres in Russia. In Saratov there are
six institutes affiliated with the
Academy of Sciences, 21 research institutes, 19 project
institutes, Saratov State
University, Saratov State
Socio-Economic University and many scientific and technological
laboratories attached to the largest industrial
is served by Saratov Tsentralny Airport, and also hosts the general aviation airfield
West and the aerospace manufacturing site Saratov South airport.
Sightseeing, arts, and culture
One of the city's most prominent landmarks is the 19th century
neo-Gothic Conservatory. When it was built in 1912, the
Conservatory was Russia's third such institution (after Moscow and
St. Petersburg). At the time (1912), Saratov, with a population of
240,000, was the third-largest city in present-day Russia.
The dramatic theatre in Saratov was founded in 1802 and is one of
Russia's oldest. It is one of Russia's national theatres. In Soviet
times, it used to be named after Karl Marx, but now it carries the
name of Ivan Slonov
actor, theatre director and teacher, who was born in the city. The
full name in Russian is Саратовский государственный
академический театр драмы имени И. А.
(I.A.Slonov Saratov State Academic Theatre).
Saratov is also famous for its Radischev Art Museum
, named after
contains more than 20,000 exhibits, including old Russian icons, as well as works by some of the finest Russian
painters (e.g. Aleksandra
, Pavel Kuznetsov
, Robert Falk
, Martiros Saryan
the city football team FC
play in the Russian Second Division. the city
basketball club is Avtodor
. The city ice
hockey team Kristall Saratov
in the Russian Major League
club Universal plays in the 2nd
Church in downtown Saratov
The Saratov region was the birthplace or at some point hometown of: