City on the Volga: Saratov and its attractions
On the shore of the Volgograd reservoir is located one of the largest and oldest Russian cities — Saratov. The times when Griboedov called Saratov “wilderness” and “village” have long passed. Today it is a city with thousands of people, monumental architecture and dozens of attractions that will be of interest to every tourist.
About the city of Saratov
Saratov is a city with a long history. The exact year of its creation is still unknown, but scientists agree that the founding date of Saratov falls on the year 1590. This means that today the settlement on the banks of the Volga is already 426 years old.
Initially, Saratov was not a city at all, but a wooden guard fortress, which was built to protect the southern state borders. The fortress was subjected to fire several times and was erected again. The status of the city of Saratov received in 1708.
Until the end of the XVIII century, the city was famous for fishing. This explains the significance of the city coat of arms, which depicts starlets. Of course, in modern Saratov there is no longer a fishery, but it was decided to leave the coat of arms in memory of the history of Saratov. In addition, the city was known as a major trading center: at the beginning of the 20th century, the trade in milling products, grain and salt was well developed here.
Industry was developing no less actively, and at the beginning of the 20th century, Saratov became the most populous city in the Volga region. There were built plants relating to the military and space industry, so for a long time foreigners were forbidden to visit the city. But now the situation has changed. Saratov is open for tourism and is pleased to offer its guests to explore its many attractions.
Modern Saratov is a major center of economics, culture and education of federal significance, therefore, it is often called the unofficial capital of the Volga region. By the way, it is on the 20th place in the list of attractive cities for life, which includes 164 settlements. Every visitor of the city has the opportunity to make sure of this. To do this, just visit the most interesting places and sights of Saratov. Residents of the city proudly declare: their «capital» will not leave indifferent even the most demanding tourist.
So, what to see in Saratov? You can start with the main Saratov attractions. This is a whole street where tourists visiting the city are most eager to get to — Kirov Avenue. The prospect did not always exist: these places began to be actively built up only in the middle of the 18th century by German colonists. They built houses and workshops, traded their products, but were later forced to move to the upper market. The street grew and expanded, and in half a century it became the center of the city. It became known as Kirov Avenue in 1935. In modern Saratov, this is a well-maintained pedestrian street lined with paving tiles and framed by well-kept trees.
The significance of this place for the city is huge. This is where the most valuable monuments of culture, history and architecture of Saratov are located. These include the State Conservatory, the Capital Pawnshop, the house of the Nikitin brothers, the house of E.S. Polyakova, Krasulin’s apartment house, Zamotkin’s house, Catholic Bishop’s house, Astoria Hotel (now Volga) and many other buildings. These are unique buildings of the past centuries, which are ranked among the cultural heritage of not only the city, but also the district, and even the federal scale. On the same avenue are located the monuments “So many gold lights” and “Saratov accordion”, loved by all the Saratov residents and guests of the city.
Saratov State Conservatory. L.V. Sobinova — the most majestic and prominent building of the central street, which is also considered one of the symbols of Saratov. It was erected in 1902 for the needs of the music school. The neo-gothic style of the conservatory with windows-rosettes and a roof of a special shape has been preserved to this day: on the building you can see the figures of chimeras, images of bunches of grapes and singing owls. At one time, concerts of famous music figures were held here: M. Rostropovich, S. Rakhmaninov, L. Sobinov, S. Prokofiev, F. Chaliapin and others.
The Nikitin House built at the end of the 19th century is located at the intersection of Kirov Avenue and ul. Volskaya. This building perpetuates the memory of prominent cultural figures, the founders of the Russian circus — the brothers Akim, Peter and Dmitry Nikitin. All their life they were engaged in the development of Russian circus art, they built 30 circus buildings not only in their own country, but also abroad. The younger of the brothers, Peter, was an honorary citizen of Saratov, lived for a long time in a mansion on Kirovsky Avenue and ended his life there. At the house you can see a memorial tablet in memory of the founders of the Russian circus.
Another monumental structure of the avenue is the building of the Astoria Hotel, which is an example of the architecture of the beginning of the 20th century and is made in the style of late modernism. The building has the official status of an object of cultural heritage of the Russian Federation.
After wandering along the central avenue of Saratov, you can plunge deep into the history of the city. It seems that this is the center of architectural values of the city, but in fact noteworthy sights of Saratov are located in other parts of the city, where you should definitely look in if there is such an opportunity.
Saratov architecture is a special cultural heritage of the city. The historical part of Saratov has preserved unique buildings of 200 years old, some of which belong to cultural monuments of federal significance. While walking along the narrow streets of the city, you can familiarize yourself with the look of the old Saratov and capture in your memory samples of the old Russian architecture.
Architectural sights of Saratov are very numerous, and to see them all, it will take more than one day. But if you don’t have much time, but you still want to see the monuments of ancient artistic culture, be sure to visit the following places:
- The Church “Soothe My Sorrows”, named after the icon of the Mother of God, is located in the very center of the city, next to Kirov Avenue, so do not be lazy to go here if you walk along the central street of Saratov. This beautiful building built in the beginning of the 20th century will greatly remind you of the Intercession Church on Red Square in Moscow. So it is: it is a small copy of the famous cathedral. Today, the church is ranked as a cultural object of regional importance;
- Church of the Intercession of the Holy Virgin, located at the intersection of Gorky and Big Mountain. The construction of the first building of the temple dates back to the middle of the XIX century: then a three-throne wooden church was erected. A little later, the construction of a new, stone church with 5 domes was started, and the church acquired the look that it currently has. The temple was completely restored after partial destruction, which it underwent in 1931, and functions on a par with the rest of the city’s cathedrals;
- Holy Trinity Cathedral is one of the oldest temples of the Volga region. Trinity Cathedral is located in a beautiful place of Saratov — near the waterfront. The history of the temple begins at the end of the XVI century, when Moscow archers settled in the barely rebuilt fortress, bringing with them Orthodoxy. For centuries, the church has been destroyed several times, but each time it has been rebuilt. Today it is completely reconstructed and belongs to the main architectural heritage of Saratov.
- The former building of a steam sausage factory is a unique brick building of the beginning of the 20th century at the corner of Chelyuskin and Oktyabrskaya streets. It was built by German colonists — brothers Kizner — and was famous for its widely developed food production. For more than 200 years, the building has pretty much decayed, but in 2010 the former factory acquired a new owner, who drew to the reconstruction of the architectural monument of experienced restorers. Thanks to their work, the historical appearance of the building was completely restored: here you can even see authentic pavement stones from the 19th century;
There are more modern sights in the city that are not inferior in their cultural value to buildings of the XIX century, for example, the famous Saratov highway bridge that connects Saratov with the city of Engels. The bridge was commissioned in 1965 and at that time was the longest in Europe. Now Saratovsky Bridge is included in the list of the 20 most popular attractions of the Volga Federal District.
Walks and entertainment in Saratov
For those who are tired of informational historical excursions, in Saratov there are places where you can relax from the bustle of the city with the whole family. This is, of course, about the Saratov parks. The most popular recreation area in Saratov is the City Culture and Recreation Park, which occupies more than 17 hectares of land, about 4 of which are occupied by centuries-old oaks. There is an amusement park in the park, and in the shade of the trees you can relax, feed squirrels, watch the swans swimming peacefully on the surface of park ponds.
Another favorite place of citizens and guests of Saratov, where you can go with small children, is Lipki Park. There is also an attraction and numerous cafes. However, even a simple walk through the garden, especially in summer, will bring visitors a huge amount of positive emotions, because this is one of the most beautiful places in the city.
You can walk along the embankment of Saratov, which is proudly called the Cosmonauts Embankment — in memory of the landing of Yuri Gagarin on Saratov land. By the way, there is a monument to the first cosmonaut on the embankment too. From this place there is a beautiful view of the Volga and the bridge to Engels. The embankment attracted the newlyweds, so wedding processions regularly travel here: here is a monument to two lovers, to whom the newly-made husband and wife traditionally hang ribbons as a sign of their love.
Be sure to visit Victory Park to honor the memory of those who fell in the Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, see the famous Saratov monument «Cranes» and exhibits of the museum of military glory.
If you come to Saratov, be sure to take time to go to the city circus named after the Nikitin brothers. First, it is a monument of cultural heritage: the first building of the circus was built in 1876. Secondly, it regularly hosts interesting presentations that will appeal not only to children, but also to adults.
Saratov is a city with a long history and unique architecture. Here, at every corner, it breathes the atmosphere of past centuries, and each of the guests of the unofficial Volga region can feel it. At the same time, it is a modern, developing in all directions city, in which it will be interesting to everyone, regardless of his age and life views.