The town stands on the left bank of Volga river, about 200 km north-east from Saratov, and is the largest and most developed centre in Saratov region after Saratov itself. The population is less than 200,000 people which are ethnically mainly Russians and Tatars, but also there are few representatives of the other groups such as Ukrainians, Mordovians, Kazakhs and some others.
Balakovo belongs to the huge territory which in the Middle Ages was called Dikoye Pole (wild field). Different Nomad tribes were crossing and living in that territory before it was finally occupied with Turkic tribes which were belonging to Mongolian Empire and after the decay of the Empire became independent small states. And all of those states were conquered by Russia under the rule of Ivan the Terrible in the 16th century. Officially Balakovo starts its history from the year 1762 when Russian Empress Cathrine II made an order to create settlements for old-believers. Later the Empress also sent here the families of German immigrants.
During 18th and 19th centuries Balakovo was a village which didn't belong to any aristocratic or noble family, so this fact itself as well as the spirit of old-believers who are famous for their diligent work and discipline character contributed to the successful economical development of Balakovo. It was part of Samara province before 1911 when it went under the administration of Saratov and received a status of town. At the beginning of 20th c. a lot was made by Mamin dynasty for Balakovo. Mamins were old-believers, who became very rich by trading with agricultural goods within Russia as well exporting them abroad. Mamins founded in Balakovo the factory producing engines which has been successfully working ever since surviving in Soviet time and II World War. Mamins also built a famous Trinity church the information of which please see below.
The years between Socialist Revolution of 1917 and 1960s were not remarkable for the history of Balakovo. The battles of II World War didn't reach Saratov region, and the number of population stayed small.