The tour starts at Ploschad Revolutsii (Revolution Square) and ends at Ploschad Slavy (Glory Square). It's a good idea to walk this route, in order to see everything in detail: old Samara is full of unique buildings from different time periods. The walk will take a few hours, and if you include museum visits – a full day.
The central square of old Samara was Alexeevskaya square. Public celebrations were held here as far back as the 19th century. In September of 1879, Alexeevskaya square welcomed home Guriysky Regiment after its return from the Russo-Turkish war. The square was renamed into Revolution Square after and in honor of the October revolution.
Leningradskaya Street, or Samara Arbat as the locals call it after the famous pedestrian street in Moscow, is reminiscent of European pedestrian streets such as Stroget in Copenhagen or Crafton Street in Dublin. The street is located roughly one block down ulitsa Kuibysheva from Revolution Square. The pedestrian promenade has plenty fountains, flowerbeds, small shops and street musicians. Centuries-old buildings still standing from Samara's merchant past can be seen on either side of the street. These days, they're home to boutiques, restaurants and cafes. Local art featuring cityscapes by Samara artists can also be purchased here.
The strict silhouette of a Lutheran church (kirche) stands out on the corner of Kuibyshev and Nekrasovskaya streets. It is one of the oldest Lutheran churches still standing in the Volga region. The church was built in the Gothic style. One of its buildings is now home to the German national and cultural center, where one can get acquainted with the history of Germans in the Volga region, displayed in documents and photographs. Books and films in German are available at the library and media hall.
If you walk down Kuybyshev street a bit further and then up Leo Tolstoy street, you will reach Samara State Philharmonic. The building was built to replicate the Samara Art Nouveau style of the 19th century. The Philharmonic's prized possession is the organ that was first played in 2001. The organ is known for its incredible tone quality and range – 52 tones, which allows the Samara organ truly sound as “the king of instruments”.
Three memorial sites from old Samara are located just a bit further down on Frunze Street The first is Alexey Tolstoy's manor, currently home to Samara Literary Museum. In 1899, the manor (build in the second half of the 19th century) was purchased by Alexey Apollonovich Bostrom, Alexei Tolstoy's stepfather. In the summer of 1901, before moving to Saint Petersburg, the young writer lived on the second floor, in the right wing of the house. He visited this house often during his vacations from the Technological Institute, and continued to visit his stepfather almost annually afterwards, when he had become a famous writer. Samara Literary Museum not only enables one to see how the great Russian writer lived, but to hear lectures and seminars on literature, modern art, architecture and photography.
Further down is the Roman Catholic cathedral. Today it is the tallest building of the old Samara. The Cathedral looks like it belongs in a European city much more than it does in Samara.
Next to the cathedral is the Alexandra Kurlina house. She was the wife of a Samara merchant, and the house, built in 1903, was the first Samara house built in Art Nouveau style. Kurlina's house was the one of most expensive pieces of real estate in the city at the beginning of the 20th century. Aside from the luxurious look, the house had all the modern comforts available at the time: plumbing, hot-air heating, electricity, and even a telephone – an incredible luxury for the times. Today, Kurlina's house is home to the Art Nouveau Museum.
Kuybyshev Square is only a few steps away from Kurlina's house. It's one of the biggest squares in Europe (17.4 ha area), which is almost an entire hectare bigger than the Red Square in Moscow. Samara Opera and Ballet Academy Theater is located at the square. There is a monument to Valerian Kuybyshev, revolutionary, in front of the theater – the city of Samara was named after him from 1935 to 1991.
As you walk on ulitsa Shostakovicha from Kuybyshev Square down to the Volga river, it is impossible not to notice a magnificent red building with white-stone boiseries reminiscent of an old manor. This is the Samara Drama Theater. It was built in 1851, and burned down in 1854. Citizens of Samara and the city duma (council) collected 3,000 rubles and used that money to purchase a grain barn, which was erected at Khlebnaya square and became home to the Samara theater troupe for many years. The stone building at Theater Square (currently Chapayev Square) was only erected by 1888.
A monument to Vasily Chapayev, one of the Civil War heroes (1917-1922) can be seen in front of the Drama Theater. For a long time this sculpture was the biggest one in the USSR. It's 10 meters high and it's base is 17 by 22 meters. The monument was created in St. Petersburg and sent to Samara. Sergey Kirov, an important statesman and politician, was one of the first people to see the sculpture. He liked it so much that he asked the authors to made an exact copy for Saint Petersburg. Today that copy can be seen in Saint Petersburg, near Budenniy Military Communications Academy.
Samara is home to the famous Zhigulevsky beer. Zhigulevsky brewery is one of the oldest in Russia. It was built in 1881 by a Alfred von Vacano, descendant of Austrian brewers.
A visit to the Iviron (Iversky) convent with has an incredible view of the Volga would be a great finish to your walking tour.