In the northeastern part of the city rises Sokolovaya Gora. This is the highest place in the city, which can be seen from any corner of it. In ancient times, the Sokolovaya Mountain was called by the Tatars Sarytau, which means “yellow mountain” in Tatar. It is believed that the name of the city came from this phrase. In 1982, the memorial complex “Victory Park” was opened on Sokolovaya Gora.. It includes the monument to the citizens of Saratov who died during the Great Patriotic War “Cranes”, the Alley of Heroes, the monument “Grieving”, the Eternal Flame, the active D-44 gun for the ritual of the midday shot and the Museum of Military Glory with expositions about the events of the Great Patriotic War and military equipment open air.
Opposite Saratov, on the left bank of the Volga River, is the city of Engels . You can get to it along the Saratov bridge almost 3 km long. The settlement of Pokrovsky town, which was located on the site of modern Engels, known since 1747. It was the final point on the Elton tract, along which salt was delivered from Lake Elton. The local trading settlement was famous for its salt shops. Later, the settlement received the status of a city, and in 1931 was renamed Engels in honor of Friedrich Engels. In 1924-1941 the city was the capital of the Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic of the Volga Germans. The most ancient landmark of the city is the Holy Trinity Church. It was built in 1825. Merchants’ mansions of the early 20th century have been preserved in Engels, the most remarkable of which – the houses of Dummler and Kobzar – are located in the city center, now they house the city administration. Throughout the city there are monuments in honor of the events of the Great Patriotic War. AT Engels since 1925, the Engels Museum of Local Lore has been operating. It tells about the history of the region. The museum exhibits a paleontological collection, archaeological collections, where you can see the gold things of the Hun era, the Golden Horde manuscript on birch bark and a bronze helmet from the burial of the Sarmatian leader, the ethnographic collection of the Volga Germans, the only collection of paintings by the artist Ya.Ya. Weber, graphic works by A.I. Kravchenko and the collection of paintings and drawings by A.A. Mylnikov. In addition, since 1995, the house-museum of L. Kassil has been opened in Engels.
According to GRADINMATH.COM, 27 km south of Engels, near the village of Smelovka, there is a memorial park “Gagarin’s Landing Place”. It was created in 1965. There is an obelisk and a monument to Yu.A. Gagarin. Cosmonautics Day is widely celebrated in the park every year. The city of Atkarsk is located
92 km northwest of Saratov. In 1358, the ulus of the Tatar Khan Etkara was founded here. After the conquest of Kazan in 1702, a fortress was erected on this site to protect the borders from nomadic raids. The village formed near the fortress was called Etkara (Etkara), and in 1781 it was transformed into the county town of Atkarsk. Nowadays, Atkarsk is surrounded by numerous parks, and in the central city park there is a branch of the Saratov Regional Museum of Local Lore – the Atkar Local Lore Museum, where materials on the history of the region are presented. Also in Atkarsk, a number of buildings of the late 19th and early 20th centuries have been preserved – this is the former city council and council (now the city administration is located here), a noble assembly, a post office and a railway station.
Upstream of the Volga River, 147 km from Saratov, is the city of Volsk. Since 1690, the Malykovskaya settlement has been known, which in 1780 was renamed Volsk and received the status of a county town. Buildings of the early 19th century remained in the city from former times – stone buildings in the style of Russian classicism, which are rare for the architecture of the Saratov province. There is a local history museum in Volsk. Its departments – historical, nature and art gallery are located in different buildings of the first half of the 19th century. The museum exhibits collections on geology, paleontology, botany, zoology, archeology, numismatics, collections of paintings, sculptures, rare books, household items and memorial collections of noble residents of the city. The most interesting is the art gallery, which presents works of Western European, Russian and Soviet masters of painting of the 17th-20th centuries, sculptures and works of applied art. Sanatorium “Svetlana ” The sanatorium has its own well, from which medium-mineralized, sodium chloride and bromine waters are extracted. They are used to treat diseases of the digestive system, circulatory system and metabolism.
A little north of Volsk on the Volga River stands the city of Balakovo.. The settlement of Balakovo was founded in 1762 by the Old Believers after the manifesto of Catherine II, by which the Empress urged the Old Believers to return to their homeland. In 1913 it received the status of a city. Balakovo is known as the “Volga Venice” for its locks on the shipping canal that passes through the city. The estates of Old Believer merchants of the 19th and 20th centuries and museums are of interest here. The History Museum opened in 1986. It is housed in a former merchant’s estate. From the collections of the museum, one can single out a collection of memorial materials of the foremen Mamins on the history of the domestic diesel and tractor industry and materials from the life of the people’s artist, laureate of the State Prize E.A. Lebedev. The Balakovo Art Gallery is the first branch of the Saratov Museum named after A.N. Radishchev. House-Museum of V.I. Chapaev is located in the house, where the parents of the famous commander of the Red Army lived. Here are the personal belongings of Chapaev and his family.
In the very north of the Saratov region, 230 km from Saratov, is the oldest city in the region – Khvalynsk. Its foundation dates back to 1556, when a guard fortress was founded here. Khvalynsk was one of the centers of the Old Believers. Today it is a modern city, where there is a museum of local lore with unique collections of archeology, ethnography, paleontology and ornithology and an art and memorial museum of K.S. Petrov-Vodkin with a collection of works by this famous artist and other Khvalyn masters. The environs of Khvalynsk are called “Volga Switzerland” for the picturesque chalk mountains up to 400 m high, covered with lush vegetation and storing a large number of healing springs. The special microclimate of this region is used for treatment in the well-known sanatoriums “Cheremshany” and “Rodnik”. More than a dozen settlements of the 6th century BC were discovered in the Khvalynsk region. The main attraction of the area is national park “Khvalynsky”. The park was established in 1994 and covers an area of 25,000 hectares. Many ecological trails have been laid along its territory, which acquaint visitors with the history of the formation of local mountains, with the history of the settlement of the region, and with the flora and fauna of the park.
Also in the Saratov region, it is worth visiting such an ancient city as Balashov (230 km west of Saratov on the Khoper River), whose history dates back to the 17th century. The local museum of local lore contains an archaeological collection with objects of the Bronze Age of the early Sarmatian period and women’s jewelry of the late Mordovian period.
To the north of Balashov is the famous sanatorium “Pady”, the former family estate of Prince Naryshkin. The sanatorium stands on the banks of the Khoper River and is surrounded by forests. This place is considered one of the most environmentally friendly in the Saratov region. In the sanatorium from the former estate of the Naryshkins, a mid-19th century park has been preserved. The main medical profile of the sanatorium is diseases of the digestive and respiratory organs. The treatment uses climatic factors of the area and hydrogen sulfide sulfide-chloride sodium mineral waters.
In almost every ancient city of the region there are local history museums that tell about the history of a particular area. The exception was not such cities as Petrovsk, which was founded by personal decree of Tsar Peter I at the end of the 17th century, and founded by the Old Believers in the middle of the 18th century Pugachev and Novouzensk.
In the eastern part of the region, on the territory of the Ershovsky district, there is an old balneological and mud treatment resort – a sanatorium named after V.I. Chapaeva. It was founded in 1860 on the basis of local sources of mineral water and mud. The mineral waters of the sanatorium are characterized as sulfide sulfate-chloride sodium and are used to treat diseases of the musculoskeletal system, neurological and gynecological diseases.
The nature of the Saratov region attracts more and more tourists every year. Adventure lovers come here to kayak along small local rivers, fishermen, hunters and ecotourism enthusiasts. On the territory of the region, hunting for the main species of birds, ungulates and fur animals is allowed. You can only hunt if you have a license. The main trophies of hunters are most often wild boars, hare, fox, marten, wolf, waterfowl and feathered game. The areas bordering with Kazakhstan are especially suitable for fishing. In local backwaters and rivers, you can catch pike, asp, perch, carp, catfish, bream, rudd, tench and crucian carp. The fishing season is in spring and autumn.