Southern Federal District
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).
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Federal district: Southern Federal District.
Main cities: Akhtubinsk, Znamensk, Kharabali, Narimanov.
Land and Resources: Astrakhan region is situated in the southern-eastern part. It is found in the Caspian lowlands, on the river Volga, in its highest point. In the west Astrakhan region borders on Kalmykiya, in the north - on Volgograd region, in the east - on Kazakhstan.
Climate: The climate is continental and arid. Average temperature in January is -10 С, in July + 25 С.
Transportation: Astrakhan is a large river and seaport. The main waterway of the country, the Volga, flows through Astrakhan and connects it with the Black, Baltic, Northern and Mediterranean seas. Here you can find transport junction of railway lines (towards Saratov, Kizlyar, Guriev) and freeways (towards Volgograd, Stavropol and other cities), international airport.
The historical predecessor of Astrakhan was the city of Hadzhy-Tarkhan, the centre of the Astrakhan Khanate, which had detached from the Golden Horde. In different years it had different names: Ashtarkhan, Gitorkhan, Tsitrokhan. In 1558 a wooden citadel was erected on the left bank of the Volga. It was the starting point of Astrakhan. And soon the Kremlin was done of brick. It was being built since 1582 to 1589. The Kremlin in Astrakhan is righteously considered to be an outstanding monument of Russian architecture and fortification of the sixteenth century. Being the main place of interest in Astrakhan, the Kremlin hasn`t lost its spiritual significance. The main adornment of the Kremlin is the Uspensky Cathedral erected in 1698-1710.
There are a lot of historical places in Astrakhan, especially in the centre of the town. Its quiet streets and old houses are inexplicably attractive.
Astrakhan was famous for its wood-working industry and a lot of timber was floated down the Volga. Russian tower architecture was to be observed in the streets of the city. Skilful craftsmen decorated the houses with masterfully carved ornaments.
The city is situated on 11 islands. Astrakhan is sometimes called Southern Venice for its numerous canals and channels connected with the Volga. Astrakhan may be also called the city of bridges: there are about 50 of them. Modern industrial bridges and small foot bridges, standard ferro-concrete bridges and bridges with elaborate old-fashioned cast-iron lace – they all remain the main feature of “the city on the water”.
The architectural style of modern Astrakhan with a lot of historical buildings makes it possible to call the city a historical museum under the open sky. It`s not by chance that Astrakhan is mentioned in the list of historical cities of Russia. Astrakhan was a large trade centre where Russia encountered the East: Indian, Persian and Armenian merchants erected their commercial town houses here.
In Astrakhan you can find five theatres, several museums presenting local lore and native traditions and a picture gallery.
One of the first things that people associate with Astrakhan is lotus, the most beautiful wonder-flower growing in the Volga delta and its lowlands. Lotus fields occupy 5 thousand hectares in delta.
The Astrakhan State Reserve is located in the delta of the Volga river. It is one of the oldest and most beautiful in the country, founded in 1919. Flora and fauna of Astrakhan region is unique. Various species of fish, birds and animals can be found here. Among them are Dalmatian pelican, mute swan, pheasant, sturgeons and others.
Ascension Cathedral in the Kremlin (1700–1710)
Trinity Cathedral (1697–1699)
Monument to Peter the Great in Astrakhan (2007)
The towers of the Astrakhan Kremlin.
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.astrobl.ru/ - Official website