The history of Saratov
In the 13th century the territory of modern Saratov (Russia) was occupied by the town of the Golden Horde, Ukek. In the end of the 14th century the army led by Timur Tamerlane defeated the Golden Horde and robbed the once-thriving town.
However, historians believe that Ukek was not completely devastated. Near the Mongol town a new Tatarian settlement Sari-Tau was founded. In 1590, Russians built their Saratov not in the middle of nowhere but on the spot of previous Sari-Tau. It is obvious as even the names of two cities sound alike.
The postcard depicting Saratov in the beginning of the 20th century. Nemetskaya Street. The hotel “Russia” can be seen on the left, the hotel “Europe” is situated on the right
Long before Russians and Tatarians came to this territory, the place had been inhabited by the ancient nomads, which were Sarmatians. During a whole millennium (from the 6th century B.C to the 4th century A.D.) they were building a huge empire and left many burial mounds, filled with domestic implements.
Sarmatians thought horses were gods since their lives depended on these animals. They depicted horses or horsemen on jewellery made of silver and gold, various amulets and horse harness.
Later, due to the Migration Period, Sarmatians mingled with other peoples from Caucasus, Western Europe and certainly Ancient Rus’.
Must-see places in Saratov
Saratov Bridge. by Edmund Gall (CC, flickr)
If you happen to visit Saratov, walk along the local embankment and take a look at the bridge above the Volga River connecting Saratov and Engels. Its length is 2800 m (9186 ft).
Kirov Avenue is regarded as an architectural landmark of the city. There you can find “Lipki” park, Saratov conservatory and the monument to N.G. Chernyshevsky, who was a utopianist and greatly influenced the European progressive philosophy of the 19th century.
Saratov Conservatory (Kirova Prospekt). By Edmund Gall (CC, flickr)
The Holy Trinity Cathedral (1702), built in the “Russian baroque” style, is the oldest stone building in Saratov.
Having a rich exhibit collection, the Radishchev Museum in Saratov is considered to be the oldest provincial museum in Russia.
Park Pobedy is an open-air museum where you can see military equipment, including tanks, hospital trains, battle planes and other equipment from the period of World War II.
Wooden Saratov. By Iammna (CC, flickr)
The Orthodox Church “Soothe My Sorrows”
Church Soothe My Sorrows. By Meagan (CC, flickr)
Being built in the beginning of the 20th century, this Saratov church is a smaller copy of the famous Pokrovsky Cathedral, which is situated on Red Square in Moscow (Saint Basil’s Cathedral).
The cathedral was built in the honour of God’s Mother. It is widely believed that her icon was painted on Holy Mount Athos.
You should definitely try Saratov kolach
Kolachi are a traditional type of bread in Russia, which are made of wheat. Historically, they were baked on special occasions. Kolach should not stale for a long time, it should remain spongy and tasty. There was even a special test. People sat on a kolach and then it had to get into its initial form.
Saratov kolach became known throughout Russia because it was baked from wheat flour, which was produced only in Saratov.
Later special wheat varieties were cultivated, they laid the foundation of the mass production of Saratov kolachi.
Market in Saratov. By Tatters (CC, flickr)
The song that made Saratov famous throughout Russia
The women of Saratov. By Edmund Gall (CC, flickr)
In 1958, the Khrushchev “thaw” was marked by the coming-out of the movie “It Happened in Penkovo”. Although this film depicts a classical love triangle, it is filled with the joy from building a postwar life.
The movie had introduced a song, which in the following years became a folk song:
“There are so many golden lights
In the streets of Saratov.
There are so many single men,
But I love a married one…”
PS There is a place, not far from Saratov, where the first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin landed.