Sarpinsky, Island Paradise
The sun is already low in the sky and its evening rays are lighting lakes, oak and aspen woods, gardens and pastures with lush grass. You are enjoying amazing silence which is sometimes broken by frogs’ croaking, ducks’ quacking, tapping of woodpeckers, buzzing of bees and bumble-bees, rustling of leaves, grass and reed. It is so pleasant to splash in the lake and to feel the cool springs that break through its sandy bottom and keep the lake from drying even in the hottest weather. The air is clear and unpolluted, the pace of life is slow and you can experience the true beauty of nature. Can you guess where this paradise is? It is on Sarpinsky Island which belongs to Volgograd. The island is situated in the middle of the Volga and is washed by two rivers: the Volga and the Volozhka-Kuropatka. In ancient times the Volozhka was called “Sarpa”. In Tatar “Sarpa” means “river” and the island was called Sarpinsky.
Sarpinsky Island is the largest river island in Europe. Its width is 18 km and the length is 20 km. There are 25 lakes on the island. In the forests you can find ponds covered with bright green duckweed, tortoises that make themselves comfortable on the log, and you can hear twittering of birds. At the times of Katherine II the island was planted with oaks, and now some of them are more than 200 years old.
In 1579 English explorer Christopher Barro travelled along the Volga and in his notes he mentioned the fortress on Sarpinsky Island. It was called Tsaritsyn, the original name of Volgograd. In 1609 Tsaritsyn was transferred to the right bank of the Volga.
Volgograd is more than 400 hundred years old, but we don’t forget that our city started its life on Sarpinsky Island which remains a green, sunny paradise.
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