Science Fair Project Encyclopedia
Saratov (Сара́тов) is a major city in southern European Russia. It is the capital of Saratov Oblast and a major port on the Volga river, located at The city was founded in 1590 by Ivan the Terrible as a fortress. Located south of Samara and north of Volgagrad (former Stalingrad), Saratov became an important shipping port in the 1800s, and developed industrially after a railroad linking it to Moscow was finished in 1870. The name Saratov is derived from the Tatar words "Sary Tau" which means "yellow mountain".
The Saratov region is rich not only in natural and industrial resources. The region is also famous for being one of the largest cultural and scientific centers in Russia. In Saratov there are 6 institutes affiliated with the Russian Academy of Sciences, 21 research institutes, 19 project institutes and many scientific and technological laboratories at the largest industrial enterprises, these account for the scientific potential for solving both fundamental and applied problems.
One of the cities most prominent landmarks is the 19th century neo-Gothic Conservatory. When it was build in 1912, the Conservatory was Russia's third such institution (after Moscow and St. Petersburg). At the time (1912), Saratov, with a population of 240,000, was Russia's third-largest city.
Saratov is also the home of the Volga Germans. Until 1941, Pokrovsk, known today as Engels and located just across the Volga from Saratov, was the capital of a separate German republic. The Volga Germans numbered 800,000 in the early 20th century.
The Volga Germans included industrialists, scientists, musicians and architects, including those who built Saratov's university and Conservatory. At the outbreak of World War II, half of the Volga Germans were exiled to Siberia and Kazakhstan, and few ever returned to the region. Beginning in the 1980s, many emigrated to Germany, but the Catholic St. Klementy Cathedral on Nemetskaya Ulitsa -- now a movie theater -- is a reminder of Saratov's German past.
From Soviet times until 1992, Saratov was a "closed city," strictly off limits to all foreigners. Situated on the Volga River, this was a major military aircraft manufacturing site, the home of the first man in space, Yuri Gagarin, and a vital part of the Soviet space program.
Saratov land is in the biographies of the genius biologist Nikolai Vavilov, the notable professor and engineer Naum Rabovetsky painter Mikhail Vrubel, aircraft designer Oleg Antonov, writer Mikhail Bulgakov, philosopher Nikolai Chernyshevsky, architect Fyodor Shektel , chemist Nikolai Zinin , poet Gavrila Derzhavin, composer Alfred Schnitke , academician Guriy Marchuk , cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin, space radio telephone communications designer Yuri Bykov .
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