Samara — the city in the Middle Volga of Russia, the center of the Volga economic region and the district of Samara, large economic, transport, scientific and educational, and cultural center of the country.
On December 6, 1850, Emperor Nicholas I issued a Decree to the Senate on the establishment of the Samara province, the center of which was Samara with a population of 15,000 inhabitants. By the end of the 19th century, the population of Samara has reached 90 thousand people. At present Samara is ranked 9th in terms of population in Russia, more than 1 150 000 people live there (2018).
Since 1935 till 1991 the city was named after Kuybyshev in honor of the soviet party and government official Valerian Kuybyshev. January 25th, 1991, by decree of the Presidium of the Supreme Council of the RSFSR the historic name Samara was returned to the city.
In the middle of the 20th century the Samara Province was the first in the Russian Empire in the amount of wheat collected. Active trade in colonial, manufactory and other goods was conducted. Weekly, bazaars were held in two squares, and during the year three major fairs were held, where they traded mainly in grain, lard, wool, horses, leather, cattle and camel cloth.
It was due to its geographical location — Samara is located on the left bank of one of the largest Rivers of the Russian Federation — the Volga River, between the mouths of its tributaries, the Samara and the Sok Rivers. Large forests are located in the basin of the Upper Volga, in the Middle and partly in the Lower Volga Region; large areas are occupied by crops and industrial crops. In the Volga-Ural Region there are rich deposits of oil and gas. Near Solikamsk there are large deposits of potassium salts. In the Lower Volga Region (Lake Baskunchak, Elton) — salt. About 70 species of fish inhabit the Volga River, 40 of which are commercial.
In the figurative perception of the Russian people, the Volga River plays an exceptional and central role. This is the root and core of the Russian people, a figurative ideal. It is always animated and human qualities are attributed to it. Soviet art made full use of the image of the Volga River, created by the art of pre-revolutionary Russia. The Volga River is identified with the Motherland and is a symbol of freedom, spaciousness, breadth and greatness of the spirit of the Soviet person. The central role in building this image was played by the film “Volga, Volga” made by Grigory Alexandrov and the song performed by Lyudmila Zykina “The River Volga Flows”. In the 19th and early 20th centuries, life and work of such “popular” representatives of culture as Nikolai Nekrasov, Maxim Gorky, Fedor Shalyapin are connected with the Volga.
Samara is a multy-confessional city. There are many orthodox churches here, old believer churches, catholic, protestant and armenian churches, prayer houses of pentecostalists and baptists, mosques, jewish choral synagogue.
Samara is a wonderful city that combines a wide variety of architectural styles. The central part of the city, which used to be considered the edge, is decorated with Pokrovsky Cathedral. The cathedral was built in 1861 at the expense of merchants Shikhobalov. The building is designed in the style of Moscow stone architecture, the walls inside are painted with frescoes in Italian manner. The interior of the church is decorated with artificial marble.
One of the first buildings designed in this architectural style in Samara was the house of the beginning of the 20th century, constructed by order of the merchant A.G. Kurlin for his wife. Since the 1970s the museum of local lore was located. After reconstruction of 2008-2012 there is an Art Nouveau-style Museum there, that has become one of the most popular galleries in the city. Another art nouveau building, adorning the cityscape, is the house with elephants. It was constructed in 1909 on a joint project of architect V.V. Tepfer and K.P. Golovkina, who was artist, patron of the arts, merchant, and the customer for the building. The house is designed with an allusion to the Viennese style, which is untypical for provincial town planning in Russia of the early 20th century.
At the territory of the merchant’s house owned by I.A. Te-Clodt, there is children’s art gallery. This building is an architectural monument of the 20th century. The exhibition started to work in 1990 and it was specially prepared for young visitors. Here there are exhibited works of children, students and graduates of art schools as well as paintings by professional artists. For a relatively short history of its existence the museum has organised a large number of international vernissages.
Samara has one of the longest river embankments in Russia. The oldest park in Samara, the Strukovsky Garden, is located on the banks of the Volga. Earlier, on the territory closely adjacent to the embankment, there was a forest that belonged to the manager of the Iletsk salt industry G.N. Strukov, the actual State Councilor who built the estate here and set up the garden.
In Samara there is the biggest square in Europe — Kuybyshev square, ranking 7th largest in the world.
During the Great Patriotic War in July-October 1941, some enterprises were evacuated from the western regions of the country to the city. The city made a significant contribution to the victory over Nazi Germany. Production of weapons and ammunition was started. During the war years, about 28 thousand Il-2 and Il-10 attack aircraft were produced at Kuibyshev Aviation Plants No. 1 and No. 18 — about 80% of their total. In the days of the defense of the Caucasus, the city provided the army and national economy with fuel.
High relief “Grieving Mother-Motherland” — eternal flame of the monument was lit on September 5, 1971 — in the year of the thirtieth anniversary of the beginning of the Great Patriotic War in memory of 225 thousand natives of Kuibyshev and Kuibyshev region dead on the battlefield. Monument of Glory — one of the main symbols of the city, was opened in 1971. It is a 13-meter figure of a worker holding wings in raised hands on a 40-meter pedestal. The monument symbolizes the contribution of Samara residents to the creation of the country’s aviation industry.
There are lots of nominal monuments, large and small sculptural forms, monuments and memorials in the city: monuments to V. Chapaev and V. Kuibyshev, Worship cross to Cyril and Methodius, Stela “Ladya” which was set in honor of the 400th anniversary of Samara’s formation, and also the memorial complex of “Soyuz” launcher, installed in honor of the 40th anniversary of the first manned spaceflight.
After the war, the city became the largest industrial and cultural center of the USSR. It has created a powerful potential of the aviation (and since 1958 space), machine-building, metallurgical, electrical, cable, oil refining and light industry. More than 150 large and medium industrial enterprises work in the city.
Among the most famous enterprises of Samara are the following: Plant named after A.M. Tarasov, “Aviaagregat” JSC, “Progress Rocket and Space Center” JSC, “Aviacor Aviation Plant” JSC, “Start” JSC, “Kuznetsov” PJSC, “Alkoa (Samara Metallurgical Plant)” CJSC.
The city is one of the largest transport hubs in Russia, through which the shortest routes from Europe to Siberia and Central Asia run. The new airport “Kurumoch” only in 2018 served more than 3 million passengers.
Today’s Samara railway station is the highest station building in Europe, has a viewing platform — a large balcony around the dome of the station complex, located at a 95-meter height, which is equivalent to the level of the 18th floor.
Samara River Port is the largest transport hub in the Middle Volga region of Russia. The geographical location of the port, bordering on a developed system of railways and highways, allows for cost-effective transport links with the Urals, Siberia, Central Asia, areas of the Center and the North of the European part of Russia. The port also has outlets in the Volga-Kama and Volga-Don basins, the Baltic, White, Azov, Black, Caspian, and Mediterranean seas.
Residents and visitors are always welcomed to the Samara Academic Drama Theater named after M. Gorky, the Samara Academic Opera and Ballet Theater, the Samara State Philharmonic, the Samara Theater-center of the young spectator “SamArt”, the Samara State Circus named after Oleg Popov and other stage areas.
Museums of the city, which are more than 20, also represent their expositions. Among them: Samara Art Museum (pieces of art by I.K. Aivazovsky, K.P. Bryullov, I.E. Repin, V.I. Surikov, I.I. Shishkin, A.I. Kuindzhi, I.I. Levitan, V.A. Serov, K.A. Korovin, K.S. Malevich and O.V. Rozanova), Samara Regional History Museum named after P.V. Alabin, the Stalin’s Bunker (bomb shelter command post, established in 1942 as a backup location for the headquarters of the Supreme Commander of the USSR Armed Forces I.V. Stalin), zoological museum named after D.N. Frolov and many others.
International festivals and social events are constantly held on the territory of Samara — Samara Assembly, International Festival of Arts “Samara’s autumn”, Rock-festivals “Kacheli” and “Rock under Volga”, International Festival “Movies for children”, Samara Carnival.
Samara region in sports is one of the leading in the Russian Federation, preparing the champions of the Olympic Games, the world, and Europe. In 2018, Samara hosted the matches of the World Cup. A new football stadium “Samara Arena” has been built in the city for 44,918 seats. Russia’s first public exposition of football — the “Museum of Samara Football”. Exposition include cups, posters, pennants, soccer balls autographed by Pele, Lev Yashin, Guus Hidding, Dick Advocaat, Oleg Blokhin, many personal belongings of Viktor Karpov and Galimzyan Husainov, Matthew Booth, Jan Koller, and many other famous football players.
Samara is one of the main scientific centers of the country in the space and aviation fields. But, in addition to this, the city is known for its research institutes working for the benefit of various sectors of the national economy. The coordination of their activities is entrusted to the Samara Scientific Center of the Russian Academy of Sciences. Among the major scientific institutions, it should be noted Samara branch of P.N. Lebedev Physical Institute, Institute of Problems of Complex Systems Management, Samara Research Institute of Agriculture named after P.N. Konstantinov, Institute of Machines Acoustics, Institute of Geology and the development of combustible minerals, others.
There are more than 35 higher educational institutions in Samara. The largest Samara state universities are: socio-pedagogical, economic, technical, transport, the National University named after academician S.P. Korolev, and, of course, medical university.
The structure of the medical university, founded exactly 100 years ago, currently includes 10 faculties and more than 80 departments, and own clinics, 3 educational and 5 research institutes, research laboratory, scientific medical library (fund of over 600 thousand volumes). The University is especially proud of the Institute for Innovative Development, which unites the Center for Breakthrough Research “Information Technologies in Medicine” and Scientific and Industrial Technopark.
The university successfully operates 6 dissertation councils in 13 specialties. Training of scientific personnel in postgraduate and Ph.D. studies is carried out in 38 specialties. Annually up to 8,000 students study at the university.