Volga Region : Lower Volga : Saratov Oblast
Saratov Oblast (Russian: Сара́товская о́бласть suh-RAH-tuhf-skuh-yuh OH-bluhst’) is a region in the Lower Volga, bordering Voronezh Oblast to the southwest, Tambov Oblast to the west, Penza Oblast to the northwest, Samara Oblast to the north, Ulyanovsk Oblast to the northeast, Orenburg Oblast to the east, Kazakhstan to the southeast, and Volgograd Oblast to the south.
- Saratov — this large capital is the former center of Volga German culture and a major modern industrial city; has a fine art gallery and is home to much of the Russia's space program and was home to Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space
- Balakovo — a mid-sized city known with impressive pretension as the Venice of the Volga for its many canals, contains the largest church of the Old Believers in Russia
- Balashov — a smaller city on the Khopyor River
- Engels — a mid-sized city, which was formerly the capital of the Volga German Republic, is connected to Saratov by a 3km bridge across the wide Volga River
- Khvalynsky National Park
Saratov Oblast was the center of Volga German culture, Germans who resettled in Russia in the 17th century enticed by offers of farmland, until WWII, when Stalin deported the Germans en masse to Siberia and Kazakhstan. Today, Saratov Oblast is a big center of industry along the Volga River.
See Russian phrasebook.
Overnight trains from Moscow to Saratov take about 16 hours and are very affordable. Flights cost about twice as much (although they are still very reasonable) and will get you there in an hour and a half.