I didn’t even know Astrakhan existed before our drive through Russia during the Mongol Rally.
Located on the banks of the Volga River ever so close to the Caspian Sea, this pleasant waterfront city boasts a busting boardwalk complete with jugglers, rollerbladers, performers and vendors.
It is the Ascension Cathedral in the Astrakhan Kremlin that stands out in this picturesque city though. Standing on the highest hill, this Russian fortress began construction in 1582. Walls surround the cathedral with 7 of its 8 towers still remaining to this day. The cathedral is considered on of the best pieces of Russian church architecture and Emperor Peter the Great said during his visit “In the whole of my empire, there is not a single cathedral as beautiful as this one”.
Services were going on while we were there and we could not go inside, however it offered us the chance to have a people free view of the grounds.
Astrakhan is a popular Russian tourist destination.Hotels line the waterfront, the city is filled with interesting historic architecture and outdoor patios and cafés are abuzz with energy of their patrons. We would have enjoyed an extra day in Astrakhan over our two days in Volgograd. Mother Russia was nice, but Astrakhan is the place to chill out and relax for awhile.