Astrakhan Region was established on December 27, 1943 with a total territory of 44 100 km that places it 6th by size among eight regions of Povolzhye (the Volga region). Population of the Region is 1 005 200 citizens. The capital city is Astrakhan inhabited by 503 100 men. Astrakhan is 1434 km far from Moscow. The whole Astrakhan Region is in the Moscow time zone. Astrakhan Region is a part of the Southern Federal District and borders with Volgograd Region in the north, Kazakhstan in the east and the Republic of Kalmykia in the west and south-west.
The climate of the Region is extremely continental and arid; the weather is variable and unstable. Summers are hot but they are compensated by rather warm and mild springs and autumns, especially in the periods from April through May and from August through October. Average January temperature is —10C (northern areas) and —6C (southern areas); average July temperature +25C. Astrakhan is the land of contrasts — where hot steppe neighbors with coolness of the great Volga River and wormwort and saltwort semi-deserts turn into green meadows of Akhtubinskaya flood-land and the Volga Delta.
Historically Astrakhan Region is the home of the Tatars, the Nogais and the Turkmen, but now the majority of the Region population is Russian. At the same time Astakhan Region is home for the largest Kazakh community on the Russian Federation territory (about 14% of the total population). Nevertheless original inhabitants of the Region carefully preserve their cultural heritage. Hence, in Astrakhan you would find the Tatar National Culture Society «Duslyk» (Friend) with its youth club «Umid». With their support Astrakhan hosts the annual all-region Tatar Song Contest «Tatar Monnary» and the Folk and Ethnographic Contest «Tradicii Zhivaya Nit’» (Live Tradition) with its subject being a traditional household of Astrakhan Region people.
Astrakhan is famous for its Kremlin that is a unique architecture ensemble of the XVI century with its walls and towers built of the Golden Horde stones. Another point of interest is the Astrakhan State United History and Architecture Museum (former province museum) founded in 1837 with its excursions «Old Astrakhan» and «Great Silk Road», Astrakhan State Art Gallery named after P.M. Dogadin, the unique Museum of Medicine Development and the Memorial House Museum of the Ulyanovs.
Special attention should be devoted to the House Museum of B.M. Kustodiev. The painter spent his childhood in Astrakhan, hence many images embodied in his paintings were «born» here. There is also the House Museum of V. Khlebnikov that besides the Khlebnikov’s family library and documents keeps the poets household and personal belongings. The Museum library possesses genuinely valuable books and magazines related to Khlebnikov.
As believed by some historians Atil — the capital of the Khazar Khaganate of the VIII — X centuries — used to stand in the vicinity of today’s Astrakhan. However, scientists failed to identify the exact city location, thus Astrakhan’s official history goes back to a Tatar settlement of the XIII century mentioned in chronicles. Nevertheless excavations on the Region territory have been on-going for many years and lead to a discovery and excavations of an ancient town of the IX century in Kamyzyaksky District of the Region (Sevosdelka village). Archaeologists discovered there a lot of intact household items. Since then most of tourist routes are mapped to include this site.
Apart from traditions and cultural heritage the Region is also proud of its natural reserves, game reserves and hunting infrastructure. Here you could find a long list of the Red Book bird species, including Dalmatian pelican, great white heron, mute swan and erne and many others. Among 30 state natural attractions specific interest could be paid to the Tinaki ilmen-lake rich with therapeutic muds. It is the basis for the Russia-famous balneal resort.
Special significance for the region has the Volgo-Akhtubinskaya flood-land that turns into a wide delta with its waters being a spawning area for a number of commercial fish species. The perfect time to fully enjoy spearfishing or hunting for water-fowl is the period of mid-summer through mid-autumn. You could also go on a cruise along Volga and Akhtuba and starting early July and all the way through mid-September you could take a tour to the unique lotus fields in the Volga river delta. In terms of fishing Volga is a true fisherman’s «paradise». Submarine world of the main Russian river strikes with diversity of species you could find, namely bream, perch-pike, bass, pike, cat-fish, redeye and, of course, the all-Russia favourite vobla. There is no such thing as off-season in the Volga Delta — fishing is good at any season. The Caspian Sea itself is rich with sturgeon species — starlet, beluga, starred sturgeon and Russian sturgeon.
Besides fish the Volga Delta is a true bird kingdom. This territory is not only the home for many birds, but also a temporary shelter for migrating species. Total number of upland and water fowl exceeds 230 species, which would sure satisfy even the most demanding hunter. And on the seashore you could spot Caspian seal (eared seal) rookery, stumble upon a wild boar in reeds and watch saiga — the relic antelope — graze on steppe and semi-desert plains.
The region would be glad to offer its guests a large number of recreation centres, resorts, excursion programs and special fishing and hunting tours. Almost all recreation centres are intended for family vacation. Guests are welcome to use comfortable beaches, terraces for picnics and numerous cafes. Wee campers would not feel left out — there are playgrounds where they could stay busy while grownups hunt for their trophy.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.