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Being about 400 years old, Saratov is quite a young city, compared with other cities of the Volga territories. Official birth year of Saratov is 1590 the settlement was aimed at keeping an eye on nomads and destroying their aggressive mobs, when they tried to cross south-eastern border of the Russian state, as well as protecting ships, which traveled to Astrakhan and back. The name Saratov origins from Tatar words sary and tau, which meant yellow mountain. First, Saratov was a wooden fortress, which several times moved from right bank of the Volga River to the left. Finally, in 1674, the settlement stopped on the right bank.

From the very first days Saratov was involved in war. The town was several times destroyed by steppe dwellers. In 1670 Saratov became the centre of the peasant war. Peter the Great visited the town twice in 1695 and in 1707 and presented Saratov all territories, an eye can sea from the nearest mountain.

Saratov remained a military fortress up to 1718. The settlement grew and developed rapidly in the middle of the 18th century its population exceeded 15 thousand people. Main occupation of Saratov citizens was fishing, salt production and agriculture. Salt, originating from lake Elton, brought wealth to Saratov. In 1747 Salt Administration opened in the town, making it a very important trade junction.

In 1774 troops of Emelyan Pugachev took the city during the peasant war. During three days, which invaders spent in the town, all bread and salt stores were opened for free food distribution.

In 1797 Saratov became the main city of the Saratov Gubernia (district). The towns coat-of-arms three sturgeons on a blue background described fish treasures of the regions. The centre of the town acquired new administrative buildings provincial government, court, treasury and library. Saratov was a boiling pot of nationalities the Russians, the Tatars, the Chuvashs, the Mordovians, the Ukrainians and the Gypsies.

Early 19th century didnt bring large plants and works to the town Saratov inhabitants were mostly craftsmen blacksmiths, butchers, tailors and etc. 27 thousand people lived in Saratov at that time. In 1881 great fire almost destroyed the town. After that sad event Saratov got new large squares and straight streets.

The Patriotic War of 1812 brought a new profession to Saratov local workshops produced large amount of cannons, rifles and spears. Town dwellers also participated in the conflict as volunteer soldiers. Many French prisoners of war arrived there in 1813 to take part in the public works. Later many of them acquired Russian citizenship.

In 19th century Saratov continued its development as important centre of trades. Bread was the new good for sale. Bread went to Moscow and other Russian regions, and wood, iron, sugar and other things arrived to Saratov. Local industry also developed first Russian tobacco plant was established here, in Saratov.

Further growth of crafts and trade promoted shipping on the Volga. Steamship society, established in 1843, was a profitable business. In thirty years nearly 400 steamships pierced waters of Russias great river. Volga became the main traffic artery of Russia, making Saratov the large port, the capital of Volga territories. Population rapidly grew and reached 70 thousand people in 1870. The towns appearance also changed more beautiful buildings appeared. In 1871 rail road connected Saratov with Moscow, St. Petersburg and the Baltic seaports.




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  (Saratov Region)

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