Jorge Sanchez (Spain):
I arrived by train early in the morning to Astrakhan. A statue of Lenin greeted all the passengers.
I walked to the downtown, looking for the famous Kremlin, which was constructed in the XVI century, immediately after Ivan the Terrible conquered the Astrakhan Khanate to the Tatars and built the present Kremlin, which was magnificent.
The entrance was free of charge, like in Kazan, and once inside I entered the two Cathedrals (Trinity and Uspensky, both built by masters from Yaroslavl) where I saw many faithful people, inspite of being so early in the morning. Then I walked around its premises admiring the architecture and the oriental forms of the eight towers.
Indeed, that Kremlin is the main tourist attraction of the town, which counts with about half a million inhabitants.
Then I visited the central market where I saw the famous Astrakhan wool, the sturgeon fish and the famous watermelons. Most of the merchants were form Central Asia and the Caucasus (Kazakhstan, Armenia, Azerbaijan, etc.)
I thought that from Kazan you could see the Caspian Sea, but I was wrong. To get to the Caspian Sea was complicated, so I did not go, since I had already seen it when years ago I took the boat from Baku to Turkmenistan.
There were many canals and about 30 bridges, but not so many as in Saint Petersburg. In fact Astrakhan is situated over an island in the delta of the Volga River and in the past was called “The Venice of Asia”.
I saw a monument dedicated to Peter I, another one in front of the Post Office devoted to the infamous Kirov (a sinister Communist, friend of Stalin, although that did not prevent him from be assassinated following Stalin orders), several mosques (all close the one to the other), churches and monasteries, and even a “Khachkar”, or a typical stone cross that had been given as a gift from the Armenian minority to the town.
In the evening I took a bus to Elista, in the Republic of Kalmikia, since there were no trains between these two cities.
Date posted: July 2013
Have you been to Ensemble of the Astrakhan Kremlin? Share your experiences!