Historical landmarks

Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

If you’re arriving in Samara by train, the railway station is the first local landmark that meets the eye. The station is a modern building, which took a few years to construct, from 1996 to 2001. The contractor on the project, Volgatransstroy, built the station following the design of a local architect, Yuri Khra.m.ov. The station is 101 metres tall with the steeple. The extraordinary size of the building sometimes dictated the use of creative construction methods. For exa.m.ple, a Mi-8 helicopter was used to install the steeple atop the dome of the station.  

Nowadays Samarans are accustomed to the fact that Ulitsa Leningradskaya is the heart of the downtown. But a century and a half ago, this was the edge of town. The big change happened in 1856, when the central market was moved from Alekseyevskaya Ploshchad (now Ploshchad Revolutsii) to Troitskaya Ploshchad. Local merchants bought land and started building themselves lavish stone-built homes on what would later become Ulitsa Leningradskaya, in order to be closer to the marketplace. Soon this whole part of town became Samara’s prime shopping neighbourhood, and the street was named Panskaya. The name was changed to Leningradskaya in the 1920s. The section of Leningradskaya between Kuibysheva and Galaktionovskaya is a nice pedestrian area. Most of the 19th-century merchant houses still exist. Now, as many years ago, most of them are shops or restaurants. Buskers, street artists and magicians are a frequent sight here. Leningradskaya is the locals’ favourite place for walking and a.m.usements. Samarans like to refer to it as the “Arbat of Samara.” 

Sergey Savostyanov/TASS

Ploshchad Slavy, one of Samara’s several central squares, offers an epic view of the Volga. The pride of place here belongs to the Slavy (Glory) Monument: the 13-metre statue of a worker with symbolic wings in his hands, standing on a 40-metre pedestal. Samara was the key supplier of warplanes for the Soviet Army during the 1941-1945 Great Patriotic War. The legendary Ilyushin-2 fighter bomber, christened “Black Death” by the Nazis, was engineered and manufactured here. Warplanes and combat vehicles manufactured in Samara were used in every major combat operation during the war. The whole city raised money for this monument, which is now one of the most recognizable symbols of Samara. Off to the side, the Eternal Fire is alight in memory of the thousands of Samarans who fought and died for their Homeland in the Great Patriotic War. Right across the square stands the Samara Region government high-rise, which the locals have nicknamed the “white house.”  

Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

Military parades on the occasion of the 24th anniversary of the October 1917 Revolution took place in three cities: Moscow, Voronezh and Kuibyshev on November 7, 1941. The leaders of the country, foreign diplomats and members of the press corps were in the stalls reviewing the parade in Kuibyshev. Participating in the parade were infantry units, trainees of the Military Medical Academy, the women’s battalion of the Volga Military District, cavalry, tanks and motorized infantry. Hundreds of warplanes flew overhead: bombers, fighters and fighter-bombers. All units went to the frontlines right after the parade. 

 Vladimir Smirnov/TASS
Samara is the home of Russia’s favourite Zhigulevskoe beer. The brewery’s history began in 1880, when a certain Alfred von Vacano of Austria petitioned the local authorities for a land plot, where he intended to have a brewery built. Vacano produced his first beer a year later, in 1881. The beer was initially marketed under two brand names: Venskoe and Venskoe Stolovoe. In terms of technology, Vacano’s brewery was at the time the only state-of-the-art brewery in Russia. It did very well, increasing its output by more than a factor of fifty in 25 years. Following the 1917 Revolution, the brewery, to which the Austrian entrepreneur had given 40 years of his life, was nationalized. The beer it produced was renamed Zhigulevskoe in 1936. These days many breweries across Russia produce Zhigulevskoe brand beer, but the beer brewed in Samara remains the paragon of good taste.
Vladimir Smirnov/TASS

This is a real Ilyushin-2 fighter bomber, one of those warplanes that made the Soviet Union’s victory over Nazi Germany possible during WWII. This monument is now one of the common symbols of Samara. Samara, which was then named Kuibyshev, built and supplied to the frontlines more than 15,000 of the legendary Il-2 fighter bombers during the war. The monument was the idea of the veteran workers of one of Samara’s aircraft engineering factories in the early 1970s. The problem was that not a single Il-2 was to be found in the factory’s hangars. The body of an Il-2, shot down during the Great Patriotic War, was found on the Kola Peninsula in the autumn of 1970. The plane was brought to Samara, restored and placed on a pedestal at the intersection of Moskovskoe Shosse and Prospekt Kirova in 1974. The monument was officially unveiled on Victory Day, 9 May 1975. High-quality illumination was added for the 65th anniversary of the Victory in 2010.