Filming in Russia: Astrakhan Region

Astrakhan Region is one of the warmest parts of Russia with centuries-long trade and cultural ties to Central Asia and Iran.

Filming in Astrakhan Region: Geography and Climate

Astrakhan Region is located in southern Russia, near the delta of Volga, the biggest river in Europe. The region borders Russia's Volgograd Region in the north, the predominantly-Buddhist Russian republic Kalmykia in the west, Kazakhstan in the east and the Caspian Sea to the south.

The climate in Astrakhan is warm and dry. Average January temperature is -6.4˚C (20˚F) and average July temperature is 27˚C (80˚F).

The Caspian Sea is, in fact, a salty lake, but it's the biggest lake on Eart -- bigger than all of the North American Great Lakes taken together. 

Filming in Astrakhan Region: Nature

Russia mostly associates with cold weather, but Astrakhan Region is incredibly diverse in terms of nature. Despite the proximity of the Caspian Sea, a vast part of the region is covered in deserts and semi-deserts. This affects the biodiversity. For instance, camels have been widespread in the area for centuries and are still being bred -- not the kind of animal one would expect to meet in Russia. 

Filming in Astrakhan Region: History and Culture

In 7th-10th centuries, the present-day territory of Astrakhan Region was occupied by the Khazar Khaganate, a powerful nomadic state terrorizing Russian lands for centuries. With the advance of the Mongols in the 13th century, the area became part of the Golden Horde. For 100 years starting from the mid-15th century, Astrakhan Khanate was an independent Muslim state, mostly populated by Tatars and other Turkic nations. 

In the middle of 16th century, Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible invaded the region. It became a part of Russia. Astrakhan remained an important trade city with strong trade ties to Persia, located on the other side of the Caspian Sea.

Filming in Astrakhan Region: Population

The population of Astrakhan region is slightly over 1 million people. Russians are the majority with 70% of the population. The second biggest group are the Kazakhs with 15%. Astrakhan borders Kazakhstan and has always had very strong trade relations with it.

Filming in Astrakhan Region: Cities

The capital and the biggest city of the region is Astrakhan with 532,000 residents. It has its own Kremlin made from white stone, one of the seven left in Russia.

Filming in Astrakhan Region: How to get

The distance from Moscow to Astrakhan is 1,272 km (790 mi). The flight takes about two and a half hours and operates flights from Moscow and St. Petersburg.

Filming in Astrakhan Region: Interesting facts

  • Over the centuries, Astrakhan Region hosted the capitals of three countries: Khazar Khaganate, the Golden Horde and Astrakhan Khaganate. 
  • Batu Khan, the grandson of Genghis Khan, founded a capital of the Mongol state named Sarai not far from Astrakhan. It was a huge city populated by over 75,000 people of different races and confessions.
  • Astrakhan is famous all around Russia for its melons and watermelons, as most of Russia is too cold to grow these fruits. 
  • In the 19th century, Astrakhan Region accounted for 2\3 of all fish production in Russia. The most famous fish there is the sturgeon. It's very expensive and produces luxury black caviar.
  • Astrakhan has a salt lake called Baskunchak, which covers over 80% of Russia's salt production.
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Astrakhan Kremlin. The Red Tower.

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Lenin Statue near the Astrakhan Kremlin

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Cathedral of Ascension in Astrakhan Kremlin
Early 18th century

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Lenin Square with a fountain

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Old wooden house in Astrakhan

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Old center of Astrakhan

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Dried fish -- a local specialty

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City Electric Plant in Astrakhan on the bank of Volga

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Volga embankment

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Sarai-Batu

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Reconstructed Sarai Batu view

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Reconstruction of Sarai Batu, the capital of Golden Horde

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Sarai Batu reconstruction
Located about 130 km north of Astrakhan

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Sarai-batu

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Traditional nomadic yurt in Sarai-Batu reconstruction

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Yurt - traditional portable house

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Camel with colt
Camels are very widespread in the Caspian area

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Camels

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Baskunchak salt lake

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Baskunchak salt lake

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Bogdo Mountain
Highest point of the Caspian Depression

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Blooming pink lotus in Astrakhan Region

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Astrakhan Kremlin. The Red Tower.

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Lenin Statue near the Astrakhan Kremlin

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Cathedral of Ascension in Astrakhan Kremlin
Early 18th century

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Lenin Square with a fountain

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Old wooden house in Astrakhan

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Old center of Astrakhan

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Dried fish -- a local specialty

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City Electric Plant in Astrakhan on the bank of Volga

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Volga embankment

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Sarai-Batu

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Reconstructed Sarai Batu view

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Reconstruction of Sarai Batu, the capital of Golden Horde

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Sarai Batu reconstruction
Located about 130 km north of Astrakhan

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Sarai-batu

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Traditional nomadic yurt in Sarai-Batu reconstruction

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Yurt - traditional portable house

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Camel with colt
Camels are very widespread in the Caspian area

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Camels

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Baskunchak salt lake

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Baskunchak salt lake

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Bogdo Mountain
Highest point of the Caspian Depression

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Blooming pink lotus in Astrakhan Region