Volgograd Region was founded on December 27, 1943. The territory of the Region is 112 877 sq. km populated by 2 599 000 citizens. Volgograd Region is a part of the Southern Federal District and borders with Saratov, Rostov, Astrakhan and Voronezh Regions, the Republic of Kalmykia and Kazakhstan. The capital city is Volgograd with 1 017 000 population. Volgograd is 910 km far from Moscow. Volgograd Region is in the same time zone with Moscow. The climate is extremely continental and arid with variable and unstable weather. Region is characterized by winters with little snow and hot and dry summers. The January average ranges between —8-12C, the July average is +23C.
Volgograd — historically Tsaritsyn — was founded in 1589 as a guard fortress in the south-east of Russia to protect the Volga trade route and as a shield against attacks of nomads on Russian lands. The fortress was erected in the place of a ship dragging trail between two rivers — Volga and Don. The town was called after the river Tsaritsa. In 1925 Tsaritsin was renamed into Stalingrad. The bloody Battle of Stalingrad of 1942-43 became the turning point in the Second World War in general. In commemoration of this contribution the Volgograd State Museum — Panorama «Battle of Stalingrad» carefully keeps a memorial document received from American president Franklin Roosevelt and a sword of English king George VI.
Volgograd Region of present time is one of the best places for family recreation. Amount of sunny days per year reaches 120. The region has 190 rivers and rivulets. Bathing is nice both in large rivers, like Volga and Don with their sandy beaches, and in smaller, including Khopyor, Medveditsa, Ilovlya and Akhtuba with their picturesque valleys.
Volgograd Region would be interesting to all kinds of tourists — fishermen and hunters would enjoy the Volgo-Akhtubinskaya flood-land rich with fish and game, the tourist centre and the fisher’s village «Letuchaya Ryba» (Flying Fish) in Karshevitoe village of Leninsky District. Those who prefer family recreation close to nature are welcome to visit any of seven Nature Parks — «Donskoy», «Shcherbakovsky», «Tsimlyanskie Peski» and others. Those who need to improve their health should head for the Lake Elton — a source of therapeutic salts and peloids. Speleologists would be attracted by manmade scantily explored caves of the Urakov bugor (hillock). Keen historians and archaeologists could spend good time in Volgograd museums and in the «Old Sarepta» Museum-Reserve and the Ethnographic Cossack Museum. Of course, nobody could pass and stay untouched by the Mamayev Hill and the grand sculpture «Mother-Russia calls for!» dedicated to the victory of the Soviet people in the Great Patriotic War.
A few dozens kilometers away from the Elton Lake there is a bitter and salty lake Bulukhta. It is not as famous as its «older siblings» — saline lakes Baskunchak and Elton. One of the reasons is that water level is low, which hinders bathing in the lake. On the other hand it is far from any civilization and paved roads. The closest settlement — Katrichev is 30 km away and for many kilometers around Bulukhta you would not see any direction signs, roads or people. To add to the extreme in spring you would stumble on alkali soil on your way there. But those who have the courage to make the way to the lake would be astonished by the wild steppe nature undisturbed by men. Here you would find numerous gopher populations and steppe birds. For example, nests of the rare imperial eagle listed in the Red Book of Russia are often found very close to the road.
One more attraction for travelers of the wild is the ancient Hindu-Persian temple in the name of Agni the God of Fire, which was excavated by archaeologists near stanitsa (Cossack village) Trehostrovskaya. Ancient human settlements were discovered in gullies Khlebnaya and Kachalinskaya. In summers Trehostrovskaya sees multitudes of campers from Moscow, Saint Petersburg and other cities.
Among the Bronze Age burial grounds special attention should be paid to a farmstead Cherepashki in Leninsky District of the Region. This archaeological site dates back to the period 3 — 1 B.C. — XIV A.D. Ceramics fragments found here are thought to belong to burial jars of the Sarmatian times and the red-clay ceramics of the Golden Horde is the evidence of a later settlement of the XIV century A.D. This archaeological site is the first one with clearly distinguished borders on the ground within the Volga-Akhtubinskaya flood-land. Earlier it was thought that there were no sites like this in this area due to annual flooding.
Tourists interested in boat sports would be attracted by a night-time canoe regatta along the Ilovlya-Don route. The route could be nominally divided into 2 stages: «extreme» and «high-speed». The «extreme» stage 26 km long takes place on the Ilovlya River and the «high-speed» 24 km long along the Don River. The regatta is aimed both at experienced canoers and novice tourists who are willing to put their skills to a test for the first time. Crews may consist both of special schools and clubs members as well as of private persons. Anyone could participate regardless of his experience or age. Hence, various types of vessels are provided for different categories of participants.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.