The city was initially founded in the 16th century as a fortress to protect the southern districts of the Russian Empire. Saratov is the place where Yuri Gagarin the first man in space, has started his career, and has done his first air-flight. There is a museum dedicated to Gagarin and his life. Saratov has a rich cultural life. Among its most famous sites are: the Conservatoire designed in a Neo-Gothic style; the Drama Theatre that is one of the oldest theatres in Russia; the Radischev Art Museum with more than 20,000 exhibits.