Akhtubinsk, Astrakhan Region (Russia)

Akhtubinsk is located in the northwestern part of the Astrakhan region on the left bank of the Akhtuba River (a tributary of the Volga River), 100 km south of Volgograd and about 300 km north of Astrakhan.

According to Calculatorinc.com, the city was founded in 1956, however, the history of these places dates back to the reign of Ivan the Terrible. The main factor in the formation of settlements on the banks of the Akhtuba River was the rich salt deposits of the Elton and Baskunchak lakes. Today Akhtubinsk is a large port city. Also in its vicinity is the famous Chkalov Flight Test Center, where aircraft tests are carried out. In the city itself, the temple of the Vladimir Icon of the Mother of God is interesting, references to which are found in historical documents of the late 18th century, the church of Michael the Archangel of the early 19th century and the memorial complex “Wing of Icarus” with a park that was built in honor of the dead test pilots.

50 km east of Akhtubinsk is the largest salt lake in Europe – Baskunchak. Its area is 106 sq. km. To date, 80% of Russian salt is mined on Lake Baskunchak. In 1997, the Bogodinsky-Baskunchaksky Reserve was created on the shores of the lake.with an area of 18478 hectares – one of the most interesting places in the Astrakhan region. 570 species of plants grow on the territory of the park, mainly grasses and semi-shrubs characteristic of steppes and semi-deserts, and 41 species of mammals, 210 species of birds, 20 of which are listed in the Red Book of the Russian Federation, and 12 species of reptiles. There are two hiking trails in the park. In summer, tourists can swim in the salty waters of Lake Baskunchak, and the concentration of salt here is so high that the human body is kept on the surface. There are deposits of healing clay along the shores of the lake. To the south of Lake Baskunchak is Mount Big Bogdo. It is also part of the nature reserve. Mount Big Bogdo is the highest point of the Caspian lowland. Its foot lies at an altitude of 20 m below sea level, and the top is at an altitude of 130 m above sea level, that is, the absolute height of the mountain is 150 m. The mountain is a salt dome. Its eastern slopes are red due to the high iron content, and the western slopes, as a result of centuries of weathering, have been “covered” with numerous depressions and niches, which create the effect of a “singing mountain”. Among the local Kalmyks and Kazakhs, Big Bogdo Mountain is reputed to be sacred, various legends are composed about it. In the vicinity of the mountain, there are vast karst fields with dozens of mysterious caves that attract tourists. The largest of them – the Big Baskunchakskaya cave – has a length of 1.5 km. “Green Garden”. This is a whole forest oasis, stretching among the steppes. Forests were planted here in the middle of the 20th century to study the growth of trees in semi-desert conditions. Birds of prey nest in the forests – falcons, buzzards and owls. It is worth remembering that you can be on the territory of the reserve only after obtaining permission from the park administration, located at the address: Akhtubinsk city, Melioratorov microdistrict, 19-1.

On the western shore of Lake Baskunchak in the village of Nizhny Baskunchak there is a sanatorium “Baskunchak”. The sanatorium operates on the basis of sulfide silt mud and sodium chloride waters of Lake Baskunchak. With the help of mud and brine baths, skin diseases, diseases of the circulatory system, endocrine system, musculoskeletal system, nervous and genitourinary systems are treated. It offers guests cozy rooms, a dining room, a cafe, a gym and a sauna with a swimming pool. Fishing is very popularon the rivers Akhtuba and Volga. Fishing enthusiasts come here throughout the year. Fishermen live in special camp sites or in their own tents. The best time for fishing in these parts is from the end of July to the end of September. Rest in the period from late May to mid-July is not recommended due to the abundance of blood-sucking insects. In addition to the absence of midges and a milder climate, August and September attract tourists with an abundance of vegetables and fruits. In the waters of Akhtuba and Volga you can catch pike, pike perch, asp, carp, perch, bream, carp and catfish. In addition, the summer months are the season for catching crayfish, and from the end of August, the hunting season for waterfowl begins.

Akhtubinsk, Astrakhan Region (Russia)

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