Oleshkovski Sands is the largest officially recognized sand desert in Europe. Its diameter is about 15 km or about 160-210 thousands of ha. Oleshkivski Sands consist of boundless dunes, which height is about 5 meters and with rare vegetation.
How did the desert appear? Some time ago this territory was covered with dense vegetation, which kept the sand movements. But in 18-19th century animals destroyed the only clamp which restrained the movement by eating and trampling the vegetation. Within comparatively small period of time green meadows turned into almost lifeless expanses.