Astrakhan

Astrakhan could be the beginning or culmination of your exhilarating Volga tour of Russia! Situated at the Volga River's southern outlet on the Caspian Sea, Astrakhan is a centuries-old port, originally under Tatar khanates and Mongolian lords, and later under the Russian Empire and Soviet Union. It is an ethnically and religiously diverse city – this prime location attracted merchants, travelers, and conquerors from across Eurasia. Welcome to the "Triangle of Christ, Mohammad, and Buddha," a beautiful seaside gateway to your very own Caspian getaway!

The great, white Astrakhan Kremlin, constructed on a river island atop the city's highest hill, will enrapture you at first sight. Outside the complex cozy square plazas lie scattered amongst surging fields of flowers and trees. Walk by a giant monument to Lenin as you pass under the great Prechistenskie Gates, which support a bell tower that serves as Astrakhan's symbol. Be taken aback by the imposing 300-year-old Assumption Cathedral, designed in classic Russian Orthodox style. You can head inside, or take time to wander some more throughout the massive fortress: flowing greenery guides you down paths toward more churches and historical buildings. From the top of the Kremlin, revel in an unforgettable view of Astrakhan, the Volga, and the Caspian.

Astrakhan also sports a vast array of exciting and relaxing activities. Grab a towel, your swimsuit, and a book! During summer time, the beaches are crowded with citizens and tourists lounging about or taking a swim in the Caspian Sea. And don't worry about food: you won't go hungry with the many nearby restaurants that offer fresh Volga seafood cooked in various regional styles. Ride into town to check out one of Astrakhan's many bars, coffee houses, or hangout spots, where you will likely meet a crowd of the city's warm and inviting locals. Later, take a stroll down one the city streets to indulge in some delicious ethnic treats before heading to a show at the recently constructed Musical State Theater of Opera and Ballet – the city is reputed to have some of the best performances around!

Whether the beginning or the end of your Volga tour, Astrakhan is sure to provide an incomparable opportunity to enjoy legendary Caspian travel!