Kaspiysk is the 4th largest city of Dagestan with a population of ca. 120,000. At 18 km south-east of Makhachkala, Kaspiysk is evolving into a commuter town for the capital, but it does have a few nice attractions and sights of its own.
Kaspiysk was founded in 1932 to house workers of a nearby naval diesel engine manufacturer. It was called Dvigatelstroy, after the Russian word for engine. The city expanded considerably during the Second World War when this area of the Caspian Sea was used as a naval test side by the Soviet Navy. The city remains a manufacturing hub for the Russian Navy, producing diesel engines, electric motors, navigation apparatuses, torpedoes, and other naval equipment.
The Caspian Sea Monster
The seaport is to the north of the city, and home to a large naval storage facility, one of the only places in the world to see Russian hovercraft and the very unique ekranoplans, a Soviet transport invention. In particular, Kaspiysk was home to the Caspian Sea Monster, the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world from 1966 to 1988. As an experimental vehicle, it had properties of both hovercraft and aircraft, and was designed to fly just several metres above the Caspian Sea surface at frightening speeds of 500 km/h with a weight of over 540,000 kg. It was tested continuously from its maiden voyage until 1980 when it crashed into the Caspian Sea due to a pilot error. Because all experimental data had already been acquired at that time and its successor was already under development, the Soviet Navy made no attempt to salvage the Caspian Sea Monster and it still rests at the bottom of the Caspian Sea. No second monster was ever built.
The Caspian Sea Monster remained the largest and heaviest aircraft in the world until completion of the Antonov An-225 Mriya in 1988, 8 years after the sinking of the monster. Curiously, the An-225 is just like the Caspian Sea Monster also one-of-a-kind, and remains the largest aircraft in the world today.
The closest airport is 1 Uytash Airport (MCX IATA), 10 km south of the city. It has scheduled flights to/from Moscow (Sheremetyevo, Vnukovo and Domodedovo), Krasnodar, Novy Urengoy, Rostov-on-Don, Saint-Petersburg, Surgut, Aktau, Mineralnye Vody, and Kazan. There are also seasonal tourist charter flights to/from Antalya, Dubai, and both Jeddah and Medina during the Hajj (Islamic pilgrimage to Saudi Arabia).
The only connection between the airport and the city is a highway, so you'll need to get a taxi to get to the centre. While you're there, make a stop at the Tu-134 monument just outside the airport.
- 1 Khalilova Park, Khalilova St. Classic garden and park overlooking the Caspian Sea.
- 2 Tu-134 Monument (at the entrance of the Uytash Airport). 24/7. A Tu-134 aircraft, one of the most iconic passenger aircraft ever built and easily recognisable with its glass nose. 854 units were built, transporting over 360 million passengers. They are now being retired because of noise concerns. With a wing span of 29 m and length of 37 m, it carried 84 passengers when in service. Free.
- Makhachkala — the capital city of Dagestan, 18 km to the north