In the lower reaches of the great Russian river – Volga is situated the hero-city Volgograd. Its history is inseparably connected with the great battle and glorious victory of soviet people. Up to 60-ies of the last century it was called Stalingrad, and it was a battle that fractured the course of the second World War.
However, travelers from around the world to this region involve not only historical sights. The picturesque banks of the Volga, a rich cultural program, opportunities for active recreation — all this makes the Volgograd real tourist centre of the region.
Every year the city attracts thousands of pilgrims to visit the oldest Orthodox monastery, churches, monasteries and sacred springs. Religious sites, of which in Volgograd and the surrounding area are a lot, will be interesting not only to believers but also to those who want to explore the history and culture of these places.
How to get
Serving the city is Volgograd International Airport (VOG) which despite its name mostly has domestic routes, Moscow and Saint Petersburg being the two major destinations. International connections are available to Munich and Yerevan and operated by RusLine. There are marshrutkas and busses leaving from Komsomoslkaya Street every 5 to 10 minutes. One way fare to the airport (or from the airport) is 17Rubs (0,27USD). Just check for Line 6, both bus and marshrutka. They are not very friendly with regards of luggage, they’ll mostly ask you to pay a 2nd ticket for your bags. Trip takes about 25 minutes.
ExploreRussia has a guide to Trans-Siberian Railway.
Volgograd is a major railway junction with good connections from Moscow (20 h), Saint Petersburg (34 h) and most other large cities in western Russia, tickets cost between 3-5000 RUB for a second class sleeper. In the other direction, trains come all the way from Irkutsk (92 h) in Siberia. International connections are limited but several central asian cities such as Bishkek (77 h), Baku (30 h) Dushanbe (72 h), Tashkent (60 h) as well as the two major cities in Kazakstan, Almaty (68 h) and Astana (52 h) have departures atlest once a week. Directs routes from European countries is scarce, the usual route involves a change of trains in Moscow however there is a few trains from Brest (45 h) via Minsk (40 h), Kiev (29 h) and from Sofia (61 h) via Bucharest (49 h) and Chisinau (36 h) that does not require a change. These trains usually departs 3-4 times a week.
European route E40, the longest European route connecting Calais, France with Ridder, Kazakhstan,passes through Volgograd.
The city stands at the east end of the Volga-Don Canal, opened in 1952 to link the two great rivers of Southern Russia. River cruises down the Volga operate during the summer months (early May to late September). Dozens of boats operated by different companies run from Moscow to Astrakhan passing by Volgograd. One way or return cruises may be reserved to/from practically any city along the Volga. Turflot and Infoflot offer tours. Prices starts a RUR 8,000 (~125 $) without meals and RUR 15,000 (~235 $) with meals.
Volgograd’s public transport system includes a light rail service known as the Volgograd Metrotram, 15-20 RUB.
Hire a car
To be able to move freely around the city and its surroundings, not depending on the schedules of public transport should consider the option of renting a car. Access to the beaches, many of which are outside the city limits, yet convenient by car. In the suburbs of Volgograd is one of the many curious sights. The best known of these caves, the king’s road and old oak trees are in Olkhovsky region. The car will be useful for those who planned the route to the Holy places — many of them removed from each other at a decent distance.
Areas Of Volgograd
Today, Volgograd is a modern city with developed infrastructure and a huge number of cultural institutions and shopping areas. There are following areas: Dzerzhinsky, Sochi, Soviet, Voroshilov, Kirov, Traktorozavodsky and Krasnoarmeysky. Central district — the center of business and cultural life of the city. Here is the largest number of theatres, museums, shops, cafes and restaurants. Despite the fact that by the beginning of world war II the town was annexed several new territories, the center suffered the most and was almost completely destroyed. Therefore, pre-war buildings here have not survived, the oldest buildings were built in 50-60-ies of the last century.
In the heart of the city, the Central district, located its main attractions are the Mamayev hill with its crowning the summit of the famous sculpture “The Motherland calls!” and the Museum-panorama “Stalingrad battle”.
In the Voroshilov district of the city, also located in the Central part, are vary cafes, restaurants and shopping centers. In addition, there are two theatres — the don Cossack theatre and the Volgograd youth theatre. On the opposite side of the center adjoins the large district of the city – Soviet. It stretches from the banks of the Volga to Varvarovsky and Bereslavskaya water-reservoirs.
Memorials, monuments and other structures, reminiscent of the great feat of the heroes of the Stalingrad battle are in almost every part of the city. So, in Traktorozavodsky area has several surviving towers on which were the line of defence, and not far from the plant itself stands on a pedestal T-34 tank.
Volgograd — one of the few cities in Russia offering this popular european option. The card got here just a few years ago and is already popular to tourists. This is a great way to save money on the trip, and at the same time to see more attractions. On the map tourist gets discounts at many museums, theatres and other cultural facilities of the city. In addition, lunch or dinner at some cafes and restaurants will cost a smaller amount. Discount prices applied to selected hotels and resorts, airline tickets, taxi and rail transport.
The list of cultural establishments, hotels and shops, offers its customers discounts on the card is constantly updated, therefore this information is better to check it before buying it.
Now buy this discount can be in kiosks on Mamaev hill, some museums and also in the company “TAVS Volga”. The card costs just 500 RUB, and the savings, by actively using and the fact that it is valid for 7 days, can reach up to several thousand.
Volgograd is a large city, that’s why there are many large Russian and foreign trading networks. For shopping, locals travel to the shopping center “Pyramid”, “Park house”, “Diamond”, “KomsoMALL” and others.
What interesting can buy in the Volgograd tourists? Gourmets recommend to try Bykovsky watermelons and Akhtubinskiy tomatoes. They say that they are the best in Russia. Here it is necessary to add herbs — dill, cilantro, basil, celery…
In Volgograd search for the honey, is the best product between the rivers Volga and Don. Better to buy from reliable individuals. Finally, products from goat down imported in Volgograd from Uryupinsk. This city is famous for its shawls, which in the 90s made a lot of noise in Paris.
Volgograd traditional souvenirs can be find in the shops and kiosks on Mamaev hill, at the Old Sarepta and other museums of the city. Usually tourists take out a small statuette in the form of the monument “Motherland”, the liner, the ribbon and other items appertaining to the glorious military past of the city.
Cafes and restaurants of Volgograd
Find inexpensive cafes or restaurants is possible in each area of Volgograd, but most of them are concentrated, of course, in the center. As in any big city restaurants menu mostly are the cuisines of different countries — traditional Russian and Caucasian places, Italian pizzerias and Japanese sushibars. For fans of bier in the city there are Irish pubs and German brewpubs. For those who want to save or eat on the run, you should pay attention to the small eatery and fast food businesses, which in Volgograd are too much. There is also famous for its excellent pies restaurant network “Shtolle”.
Of particular interest, not as much as food, but much from an aesthetic point of view is a restobar with an unusual name, “Mama Norka Papa Bober”. Although the food here is also very tasty — authentic pizza and grilled dishes, tourists are more attracted by more authentic interior and rich musical program.
As for the price categories of the local establishments to have a meal here is relatively inexpensive. The city has several cafes, the average bill in not exceeding RUB 500 (~8 $). A complete meal in a small restaurant will cost 500-1500 RUB.
Entertainments, excursions and sights of Volgograd
Of course, the main attraction is considered to be of Volgograd Mamaev Kurgan — place of the most fierce fighting of WWII. Here is raised a monument to the heroes of the Stalingrad battle, in the center of which all stands the famous sculpture “The Motherland calls!”. Continuing the theme of the battle of Stalingrad, I suggest you visit the Museum “Battle of Stalingrad”, Museum “Memory” and the Regional Museum.
3 things to do in Volgograd:
- To conquer Lenin — 30-foot sculpture, is listed in the Guinness Book of records, — some craftsmen stormed a pedestal, like a mountain peak.
- Walk or drive the entire Second Longitudinal (Prodol’nuyu) street, which stretches through the city at 50 km.
- Go to the “Rotor” Volgograd and support team together with boisterous local fans.
During the battle for Stalingrad in the city was destroyed more than 40 thousand buildings. The locals have kept three in memory of the tragedy. The most famous is Gergardtova mill.
Also were are kept the ruins of a laboratory at the plant “Red October” and command post of the 138-th infantry division on the island Ludnikov. Another reminder of the war — the lamppost on the corner of Gogol and Communist. You can see holes from bullets and shrapnel.
To the important objects left over from the war can be attributed to the grain Elevator, Tractor factory, Pavlov’s House — the place where he was captured field Marshal Paulus. In the city there are little pre-war houses. Their struggle to find the locals not to mention tourists.
This hill on the right Bank of the Volga river, where there were fierce battles for Stalingrad, a strategically important point. The mound was constantly transferred from Nazi to Soviet troops. After he became one of the most famous places reminiscent of the war in Russia.
The complex consists of several compositions is the Heroes Square, the Hall of Military glory, Square of Sorrow, cemetery, arboretum, and others. Here is the famous sculpture “The Motherland calls!”. Mamaev Kurgan is actually one large cemetery. Here are buried more than 30 thousand soldiers.
Museum-panorama “Battle of Stalingrad”
The biggest painting in the country, its area is 2000 sq. m. It is a real cultural monument, telling about the events of the battle of Stalingrad.
From concept paintings to its opening it has been 38 years. Panorama has become a collection of all of the advantages and disadvantages of an era. Viewers can see the battle of January 1943, it depicts the mill, Pavlov’s House, the Square “9 January”, water tower and other objects. The creators also paid great attention to fighting and military equipment.
It is discovered by the incident that happened in the spring of 2010. The fact is that in May the construction of the bridge across the Volga began to wobble. The oscillation amplitude reaches 1 m. The traffic on the bridge was halted until the reasons.
The reasons were purely scientific, about physics, but the bridge with more than 1,200 m is now called “Dancing”.
Volgograd for children
Volgograd is famous for its historical and natural attractions, however, going here with the kids, a serious cultural programme have to dilute light and fun entertainment. Fortunately, the city is quite large, and places where you can have fun are plenty.
The Volgograd planetarium in the works for more than 50 years. It is, curiously enough, on the Gagarin street. In front of the building is a unique sculptural group of “MIR”, performed by Vera Mukhina — the author of famous “Worker and Kolkhoznitsa”. The planetarium was a gift to the Soviet Union from the GDR.
Today, there are various exhibitions on our planet, its place in the Universe and the mysteries of the vast space.
Museum-reserve “Old Sarepta”
Once on the southern outskirts of Volgograd was the German colony of Sarepta. Today this place is of major historical and architectural complex. The first and foremost interest for kids are interactive and informative programs and exciting quests. The Museum staff offer young researchers to unravel the mysteries of the former inhabitants of Sarepta, to find treasures, to feel like real archaeologists, to participate in the gingerbread mustard and workshops. And this is not a complete list of activities, which in the game form acquaint children with history, traditions and legends of these places.
Fun and to spend time in the fresh air in a rope park “Tarzania”. There are organized rope routes of varying difficulty for children and adults, there is even an air bike and trolls. The park is closed in cold seasons.
In addition, the city has Zoos (regular and contact), a water Park and Aquarium, an interactive Museum of entertaining science of Einstein and amusement parks. If desired, in Volgograd it is possible to make a fun, eventful and memorable.
Summers are hot and long, the bathing season starts a little earlier than in the middle lane. Although officially it starts in the first week of June, the Volga warms up by the end of may. The hottest days occur in mid-July, when the mark of the thermometer can reach +40 °C. Therefore, those who prefer moderately warm summers, it is better to choose for a trip beginning of June or end of August.
Spring and autumn in Volgograd are warm and short, but the winter is sometimes full of surprises. The city penetrate the cold air mass from Siberia, and the cold intensified. As suddenly cold down and the thaw begins.
Hotels Of Volgograd
The most economical place to stay in Volgograd, however, as in most big cities, is hostels. Accommodation options are several — a single room for 2 or 3 or a bed in rooms for 4, 6 or 10 people. Facilities can be both in the room and on the floor. All these nuances and it depends on the price — from 500 to 3500 RUB (~8-55$) per day.
A little costly to stay in hotels and mini-hotels. A double room cost for a day varies from 1100 to 2500 RUB. The most expensive variants — a large hotel, for one night they will have to pay from 1500 to 6000 RUB (~24-100$). Some included breakfast and other services.
Those who are planning camping with fishing, barbecues and bathing in the river, you should pay attention to camp sites, of which in the suburbs of Volgograd a lot. Many of them can not only live in the cabin, but also to go boating, fishing and horseback riding. Depending on the range of services and distance from city centre accommodation will cost from 1500 up to 65 000 RUB (~24-1020$).
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