Best hotels in Astrakhan: Al-Pash Grand Hotel ***** and Park Inn by Radisson ****
Best hotels in Volgograd: Intourist ***/* and Yuzhnaya ***/*
Astrakhan and Volgograd were strategic stops on the ancient Volga Trade Route and the northern Silk Road.
Volgograd changed names in its long history from Sarikale to Sarai to Tsaritsyn to Stalingrad to Volgograd.
Lenin, one of history’s biggest criminals (in my opinion, by forcing communism on Russia), still welcomes you at Astrakhan’s train station
The posh Al-Pash Grand Hotel
View from Al-Pash Hotel over the Volga Delta, partially frozen in March
The hotel receptionists display part of Astrakhan’s historic wealth:
Slavic girls (previously often exported as slaves) and sturgeon fish (for the export of caviar)
Current caviar prices at the source: ca. 1 EUR per gramm (4.800 Rubles = 100 EUR)
Strange style-mixes in this historic town
Hotel Park Inn, right at the train and bus station.
The train from Astrakhan to Volgograd takes 11 hours for 420 km.
The great war is still omnipresent in Russia
An original destroyed building at Volgograd’s “Battle of Stalingrad” museum.
Russia’s army defended against Germany, Italy, Hungary, Croatia and Ukraine.
Historic war machines
More than one million soldiers died within less than a year at the Battle of Stalingrad
View from Mamayev Hill over the Volga. The strategic location changed hands 9 times between Germans and Russians in 1942/43.
The “Motherland” statue at Mamayev Hill is 102m high (see person at the bottom for comparison)
Guard of honour parading constantly around Mamayev Hill
Volgograd’s best hotel, the Intourist, is located next to German Generalfeldmarschall Paulus’ surrender site. (Foto taken from their brochure.)