Hello, and welcome to Saratov! We are happy to greet you in our city located in a wonderful valley on the right bank of the great river Volga.
Geography: Location, Population, Climate and Nature
Location. Saratov is a major city and is the administrative centre of the Saratov Region. To find the city on the map you should look in the south-western European part of Russia on the right bank of the Volga River (51�33' N, 46�00' E). The city stretches along the Volga for 50 km and occupies a territory of 377.93 square km between three mountains: Sokolovaya, Lysaya, and Altynnaya.
The city is divided into six districts: Leninskiy, Zavodskoy, Oktyabrskiy, Kirovskiy, Volzhskiy, and Fruzenskiy. Areawise, Leninskiy is the largest district while Frunzenskiy is the smallest but most populous, due to its very high density.
As for the name Saratov, the strongest theory suggests that it was derived from the Tatar words "Sary Tau", meaning "yellow mountain".
Population. With a population of 878,900, Saratov is the fifteenth largest city in Russia. In 1991 it was home to more than 900,000 people, but Saratov has had a slight population loss. Saratov is a multinational city; the people who live here are a mixture of Russian, Tatar, Ukrainian, Bashkir, German, Caucasian and other nationalities. Perhaps due to this national diversity, it is said that the most attractive women live in Saratov (and it is an established fact ).
Climate. The climate in Saratov is moderate, typical of the Lower Volga region. In the past winters were very cold, and frost and snow were common, but more recently that seems to have changed. The city still occasionally suffers intensely cold weather when the temperature falls to -28�C, but generally winters are not very cold - it is much more likely to rain (especially around New Year's Eve, so white Christmases are a long-awaited event here as well ). If visiting Saratov in winter, you should take a raincoat and good waterproof shoes, otherwise walking on the sleety pavement can be hazardous. During the second half of winter the weather becomes stable with thick snow cover and moderate frost.
Between the end of December and the beginning of April, the Volga is covered with firm, durable ice thick enough for people to go ice-fishing.
Summer can be crazy in the Saratov region. Rains are almost as frequent as sunny and hot days. The latter come in the second half of July and stay until the end of summer. These days the weather sometimes gets sweltering; fortunately we have many beaches on the Volga banks and islands which make good places to escape the exhausting heat. Thus, +35�C and low humidity at daytime are normal for this part of the season.
Nature. Parks and Gardens. The Main City (Gorodskoy) Park is a favourite site for the Saratov-Russia.net team to walk around and meditate. It is a real botanic museum of unique dendrology. There are more than 70 sorts of trees and bushes in the park, both of local origin and more exotic. Walking along the lanes one can easily meet elms, lindens, poplars, birches, and even blue spruces, rowan, willows and other rare plants.
A really unique exhibit of this museum is an oak wood with an area of 4 hectares that consists of more than 500 century-old oaks! Some trees were planted more than 180 years ago by captive French soldiers after the Patriotic war of 1812. All visitors are permitted to walk among 25-metre-high trunks and feed squirrels that climb up and down the trees and cadge seeds and nuts, sold by vendors at the entrance and within the park.
The oak wood, together with six artificial ponds, make an integrated ecosystem and add much to the harmony of the park landscape. Take a row over the ponds and enjoy the scenery of the park.
Lipki (Lindens) Park was established 181 years ago, and today it is the oldest park in the city. Located in the very centre of the city it is almost buried in verdure and remains the favourite place of Saratov citizens, especially young people, for hanging around. Despite its name the park is planted with various trees and bushes: chestnuts, poplars, different lianas and, of course, lindens.
Walking along the shady lanes you can reach the fountain that was built quite recently and looks rather bizarre. The central figure is twisted around its axis and is constructed of glass sheets laid one upon another.
Ravens and squirrels make up the fauna of the park. But unlike the Main City Park the latter here live in an open-air cage and it's prohibited to feed them.