Magnificent astrakhan’s region
Astrakhan steppe, is Russian part of biggest steppe’s valley on Earth. Astrhansk region is one smaller part of Big steppe which spreads from Chinese Manchuria to delta of Danube.In old times all this area was called United steppe. The Great way of silk used to go there. Steppe were inhabited by Scythians, Huns, Mongols and many other nomad nations, who gave the name of founder of Mongols imperia Genghis Khan and great conqueror Tamerlan.
Steppe spread through wholeterritoryofAstrakhanregion along left coast of Volga, all along its mouth intoCaspian sea. In the summer the temperature reaches 50 degrease Celsius, valleys are burn by the sun and the end can’t be seen on the horizon, and then and now sandy hills are seen, with the biggest Great Brother with the height of 20m.
Natives inhabitants are proud of their “steppe boats” because they are placed among biggest dromedary camel in the world. They are today used, just like thousand years ago, for transport of cargo, and one camel of that kind costs 1000 euro. In steppe live descendants of nomads:Kalmyks, Saith, Nogais and Turkmens. Apart from them on astrakhan region also live Russians and Cossacks, which are majority in this region.
In astrakhan steppe is possible to meet with shepherds who ride on big cabardinian horses and from one to other pasture follow from few thousand sheep. Traveller in the steppe can meet with wild camels, herd of horses and antelopes, but also on herds of steppe wolves, but they are not dangerous for passengers because wolves herd are mostly far from people.
The only slope in Astrakhan region is “holly” hill Bogdo, characteristic red colour, mottled with many caves and rocks.Bogdo is a real museum under open sky. In year 1845 first petrified remains of amphibians , even sharks were found.Whole area now has the statute as Bogdinsko-Baskunčačk reservation.Lake Baskunčačk is among the most salty lakes in the world.Salt in lake is clear and today from there it is taken out 1,5 million tons of salt a year what is 80% of total exploitation of salt in Russia. Baskunčačka salt is healing, so on the coast of lake there is health resort where people arrive to breathe air rich in bromo and fitnocid. The layer of salt on the bottom of the lake is 6 km, and the lake is called “second dead sea” due to its healing features and possibility to hold on the surface even well fed tourists.
The desert is famous as rocket range because it is first ballistic missile inSoviet Uniontested in astrakhan steppe, on polygon Kapustin Jar, and later on the satellites were launched here, army practises, but the nuclear weapon was also tested here. Not far from Kapustin Jar there is closed town Znamensk (earlier called Kapustin Jar-1). For the lovers of extreme tourism local tourist agency offer special excursion to former Soviet polygon.
In this steppe Batu-kan, Genghis Kan’s grandson, in year 1242 established on the coast of Volga town Saraj, the capital of Golden hordes (80 kmnorth from today’s Astrahan).Town was destroyed in year 1395 during invasion by middle Asian leader Tamerlan, and its ruins stayed under the ground till 18th century when the scientists started to explore this unique monument. For recording of Russian film Horde (2012) the decorations were made which present the atmosphere of old capital, and on the request of citizens of this area, the decorations were not removed at the end of film record, so the backstage of town Saraj represent today tourist attraction.
Coast ofVolgais favourite place for fishermen alove rthe world.They can catch trophy examples of salmon, carp, perch and asp. If you don’t get the chance to fish onVolga, you should buy domestic dried and fresh fish.Astrakhanarea is famous for its watermelons whose price in the season (August-September) falls on 4 roubles per kilo. In the same period on delta ofVolgayou can see lotus blossom.
In order to visit hill Bogdo andlakeBaskunčakyou need permit for entrance to border zone because in that area passes state boarder betweenRussiaandKazakhstan. The procedure is extremely complicated if the foreigner wants to get the permit, so we advise you to do that with the help of tourist agency , and in that case all procedure lasts for 2 months, and the visit to steppe should be planned in advance.
To Astrahan orVolgogradyou can go by train, plane (the lowest price is 5000 roubles), by car or tourist boat. It is not easy to travel through steppe on foot, so you will need a horse, like thousand years till now, and in this case it will be “steel” horse which can go over all obstacles. In majority of towns you can hire a car, and also one day excursions are organized. Complex tourist routes along south ofRussiamostly don’t mean going to astrakhan’s steppe so it is better to order special excursion along astrakhan’s steppe.
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