Janybek Station is located in the Republic of Kazakhstan and is almost 3,000 kilometres from the capital Astana. It is also a division of the Astrakhan branch of Volga Railways.
Before the Astrakhan railway station was built, the area around it was deserted steppe. Nowadays, the village near the station is home to about 10,000 people and its population is famous as masters of leatherwork - there were two tanneries in the last century. The village also boasts an academy-garden where plants are grown which are not native to the steppe, such as spruce, pine and others.
In the vicinity of the station are a lot of kurgans or burial mounds, but the most famous of them is the one called Janybek, who was a powerful khan of the Golden Horde. Janybek is also the name of the station and village. At the same time, Sarai, the capital of the Khan of the Golden Horde, flourished.
Elton Station in Volgograd Oblast is next to the unique and eponymous salt lake. Elton lake is called Altan-Nor (Gold Bed) by the Tatars and Kalmyks because of its water's purple-red colour, which turns golden in the afternoon.
Salt extraction at Altan Nor dates back to the adoption of Russian citizenship by the nomadic Kalmyks in 1665. In 1741, Tatishchev, the governor of Astrakhan, invited the English sea captain Elton, who was in Astrakhan at the time, to survey the lake for the first time. Since then, it has been called Elton.
The salty mineral mud lying along the banks of Lake Elton has long been used to treat the local population, but the mud's real healing properties were only studied properly after the railway and then the mud baths were built. To this day, the village of Elton is a health resort. Numerous holiday makers come to the eponymous sanatorium, usually by train.
The first train arrived at Yryupino station in December 1871. The town of Yryupinsk itself was founded in 1618, on the right bank of the Khopyor river.
There are several different etymologies of the name. According to the first, after Ivan the Terrible's troops captured Kazan, the fleeing Tatar prince Yryup was caught by the Cossack Ataman Yermak on the Khopyor. There was a deadly fight between them. The famous Tatar got bogged down in the swamp and was captured. Since then, the local Cossacks have had a saying "to be bogged down like Yryup." The place that witnessed the deadly fight was then called Yryupinsk, and so people also started calling the small town which grew up not far from the legendary swamps Yryupinsk.
The second hypothesis is put forward I. Dolgachev, a local historian from Volgograd. He believes that the designation comes from the name, or rather the nickname Uryupin, which, in turn is defined as "slut", "sloven", "ugly duckling" in the famous nineteenth century dictionary produced by the Russian philologist and lexicographer Vladimir Dahl. Above all, though, it's probably about the area itself, which is very swampy and muddy.
The railway station now provides work for 84 people. To get to Yryupino station and then to the town, take the Volgograd - Yryupino suburban train. The town's main attraction is a monument to the Yryupinsk goat, a tribute to the wonderful articles and items made from goat down.