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Saratov is located in the heart of Volga River Valley Region. Once the capital of the Lower-Volga region, it is now the center of one of the biggest provinces in Russia.
One of the city's most prominent landmarks is the 19th century neo-Gothic Conservatory. When it was built in 1912, the Conservatory was Russia's third such institution (after Moscow and St. Petersburg). At the time (1912), Saratov, with a population of 240, 000, was the third-largest city in present-day Russia.
Natural conditions in Saratov province are not uniform: the north and northwest, on the right bank, is a forest-steppe, the rest of the right-bank region and almost all left-bank region, except for the extreme south, are steppes, and the southeast of the province is a semidesert. Saratov's climate is continental.
Saratov was founded in 1590. The name of the city comes from the Tatar word Sary-Tau (Yellow mountain). During its 400 year history Saratov has served as the crossroads for many historical events and outstanding people. In the late 19th century Saratov became a regional center for industry, trade, and culture. By that time, Saratov had become famous for its agricultural products, fishing and salt industries, as well as for manufacturing and metal processing.
The city's architecture has been influenced by both European and Asian cultures. The downtown has a large number of buildings built at the turn of the centuries in provincial modern, pseudo-gothic and Moscow baroque style. The university campus, the Covered market, the conservatory, Trinity (Troitsky) and The Spirit Coming Down (Dukhososhestvensky) cathedrals are some of the best examples of these styles. Among the modern landmarks of Saratov is the 2.8 kilometer bridge which connects Saratov with Engels.
Saratov was famed for the longest straight street in Europe, Moskovskaya (Moscow) street. Among the landmarks of modern Saratov is one of the longest bridges in Europe, 2.8 kilometers long.
Saratov offers many of the advantages of a larger city, but has the moderate prices of a smaller city. It has: a drama theaters, a children's theater, a puppet theater, Russia's oldest active circus, an opera, ballet, philharmonic orchestra, musical conservatory, and professional basketball, hockey and soccer teams. There are also has several beaches, Lipki Park, several Art Galleries, many fine cafes and restaurants, a good disco, supermarkets with foreign foodstuffs, two casinos and several delicatessens.
Start your journey from the Embankment to enjoy a fantastic view of the wide Volga river. Muzeynaya Square contains wonderful memorials such as Troitsky (Trinity) Cathedral, built in the XIX century, the Regional Museum of Local Lore, and the building of a former religious school. Along streets and across squares, museums, architectural monuments and old manors create the city’s historical face.
. Among Saratov’s dramatic and musical theaters, the most noticeable are the Academy of Theater Arts, the Academic Drama Theater, the Saratov Operetta House, and the Opera and Ballet Theater.
The Academy of Theater Arts was founded in Saratov in 1988. This theater flourishes to the present day – a rare event for Saratov, where numerous theatres appeared at the start of the reformation period. Almost all of them are no more than memories now.
The Academic Drama Theater was the first commercial theater in Saratov. Its history begins early in the nineteenth century, when this theater belonged to a landowner named Gladkov His farmers conducted performances for money.
The Opera and Ballet Theater was opened in 1875. It served as a launching point of the first stationary Russian theater in the province. By its 120th birthday this theatre was among the best musical theaters in Russia.
Saratov is also famous for its Radischev Art Museum, named after Alexander Radishchev. It contains more than 20, 000 exhibits, including works by some of the finest Russian painters.
Saratov is considered a young city – more than a quarter of its residents are young people in the age of 14-30 years. It also accepts over 30 thousand students each year from all over the Russia