Samara Sights and Landmarks Guide, Russia
Located on the banks of Volga River, Samara is the capital of Samara Oblast. With approximately 1,5 million inhabitants and a strong, diversified economy, Samara is one of the largest cities in the Russian Federation. During the Soviet Union, Samara was known as ‘Kuybyshev’, after the communist leader Valerian Kuybyshev.
Samara Sights – Historical Landmarks and Museums
During the communist period, Samara was a leading research centre in the defense and aviation industry, which lead to Samara’s addition on the list of closed cities. Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, visited Samara immediately after his landing. Stalin’s bunker is probably the most visited among Samara sights: the bunker was designed to shelter the Soviet government in case of a nuclear attack. Visitors can also admire a real ‘Semyorka’ space rocket, right in the centre of Samara, as well as the legendary ‘Ilyushin II-2 airplane’, which was brought back to soil by a wounded pilot in almost impossible conditions. The list of notable museums includes: The Samara Art Museum, the Historical Museum of the Kuybyshev Highway (located on the 1st floor of Samara Train Station, the biggest of its kind in Europe) and the Aviation and Space Museum.
Samara Sights – Culture and Traditions
As in any major Russian city, classical music, theatre and ballet are well represented in Samara. The Opera and Ballet House, the Drama Theater, the Philharmonic Theater and also the Samara Circus are always ready to offer some quality entertainment. Each year, Samara hosts an enjoyable outdoor fest in March and the ‘Grushin’ guitar festival in summer. Samara is also famous for its beer (Zhigulensk's Beer Factory is the oldest brewery in town) and chocolate (the Rossiya brand is known all over the country).
Samara Sights – Nature, Sports and Leisure
One of the main attractions in Samara, for both visitors and locals, remains the Volga River, the largest river in Europe. Its picturesque embankment and sandy beaches represent perfect relaxation spots. A cruise on the Volga will give you the chance to admire the Samara skyline as well as the beautiful view of the nearby Zhiguly Mountains. Favorite activities include beach sports in summer and cross-country skiing, snowboarding and skating in winter.
“Victoria” water park, an indoor facility opened all year round, was recently added on the list of Samara sights, becoming a favorite weekend destination. A walk in downtown Samara must definitely include some major streets and squares like the old Khlebnaya Square, the Revolution Square, Smarskaya Square, Glory Square as well as Kuybyshev Square and Kuybyshev Street. (for more attractions in this part of Russia, see Moscow Sights or Kazan Travel Guide)
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