The Astrakhan region can boast of an ancient settlement Sarai Batu – the former capital of the Golden Horde and a major ancient trading center.
From about 1710 to 1765 there was a nitrate factory in these places. The part of the ancient settlement was surrounded by a stone wall. Bricks from the settlement were also used in its construction.
Closer to the end of the 18th century the National academy organized several scientific expeditions to describe unknown parts of the Russian empire.
Some members of those expeditions compiled information about the settlement.
In 1770 such remaining buildings were mentioned: a mosque, mausoleums and underground crypts.
Two years later the grand rich building with crypts (probably mausoleum) was described.
Some time later some remains of the walls and floors were excavated as well as architectural decorations, ceramics and coins.
In 1875 this tower was mentioned as the last remains of the ancient city.
Apart from excavating great collections of decorations, ceramics, coins etc., the explorers started to point out slow destruction caused by local peasants.
It was little by little established that the settlement was 18 kilometers long.
Such marvellous water systems were discovered in 1909.
The first record of the settlement is dated back to 1254, when the French ambassador visited the place.
There were no fortification works around, only a part of it was surrounded by a rampart.
In 1333 Arabian travellers mentioned that the settlement was inhabited by Mongols, Kipchaks, Circassians, Russians and Byzantines.
It is worth noting that every nation lived in a different part of the city.
In the period of its golden age the capital of the Empire counted about 75 000 people.
During the second half of the 15th century the trade ceases and the city went out of existence.
In the first half of the 16th century the ruins were taken to bricks which were used in the Kremlin construction.
In 1922 the first scientific excavations were initiated. The plan of the settlement was created and the city was divided into 7 parts according to the social characteristics. All the excavated objects got classified: ceramics, coins, architectural decorations.
Several dwelling places were studied as well as underground crypts, a Golden Horde well, mausoleum and burials. For the purpose of preservation all the objects were buried again after examination.
In 1931 a very important discovery was made – two joined buildings were found: an old mausoleum with burials and an ancient mosque.
In 1969 the topographic plans of the large settlement were compiled, the archeologists defined its center, the main stages of its foundation, rise and desolation.
In 1966 a ceramics workshop, dated the 15th century, was found.
On the basis of the found material the differences between the ceramics of the 14th and the 15th centuries were defined.
In 1967 one more very significant discovery was made – glass workshop which used to produce beads, bracelets, pendents and ring parts were found.