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History of Saratov


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Ukek, a city of the Golden Horde, was situated near the site of the modern city of Saratov from the mid 13th century until its destruction in 1395.

The modern city was founded in 1590. It traces its history to the reign of Tsar Feodor Ivanovich, who constructed several settlements along the Volga River in order to secure the southeastern boundary of his state. During the summer of 1586, the fortress of Samara was founded, followed by Tsaritsyn in 1589 and finally Saratov, located midway between Samara and Tsaritsyn, in 1590. Saratov was built at the insistence of count Grigory Zasekin. All three forts were located in a region where the Volga and the Don flow nearest one another, which allowed the Duchy of Moscovy to secure both rivers and to ensure control over the recently annexed khanates of Kazan and Astrakhan in the years following the Livonian War. The future town's buildings were first constructed in the upper reaches of the Volga, a full year prior to the in situ foundation of Saratov. In the spring of 1590, workers disassembled the constructions, marked each log, and delivered the "town" to its destination via the river. This method allowed the buildings to be rapidly erected in just a few weeks.

The name Saratov may derive from the Turkic words Saryk Atov, which mean ‘hawks' island’. Another version of the name origin is Sary Tau (???? ???), meaning "yellow mountain" in the Tatar language.

By the 1800s, Saratov had grown to be an important shipping port on the Volga. The Ryazan-Ural Railroad reached Saratov in 1870. In 1896 (26 years later), the line crossed the Volga and continued its eastward expansion. A unique train-ferry, owned by the Ryazan-Ural railroad, provided the connection across the river between the two parts of the railroad for 39 years, before the construction of a railway bridge in 1935.

During World War II, Saratov was a station on the North-South Volzhskaya Rokada, a specially designated military railroad
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