Russian traveller. Places to visit in Russia

Samara. Russia. August 2012

Samara Logo

Samara is a place where I was born and lived almost 30 years. Samara is one of the biggest cities in Russia with population 1 169k. Samara placed on the Volga river in middle stream where Volga makes great turn named Samarskaya Luka. Officially Samara was founded in 1586 but it's a date when Russian Tsar Feodor signed order to build fortress close to location named Samara. The first reference in Russian chronicles dates 1361. In 1367 Samara was shown on map by Venice merchants brothers Pitsigano. That means actually Samara is 652 years old.

In the 19th century Samara was called "Second Chicago". Not because of crime but because here was the biggest grain market in middle Volga. I'm sure you don't even know that Russia was number one grain producer. May be I'm wrong but I heard that Russia produced as much grain as all other countries together. Also it was a great fire like in Chicago. It completely destroyed city. As result 160 years ago was issued order to bild only stone buildings in the city center. So now the oldest building was build just 160 years ago. But when you are walking through the downtown you can feel yourself in the end of 19th century.

As conclusion I would say that Samara is one of the beautifulest city in Russia. If you'll visit it you will get a lot of positive emotions as I did every time when I visit Samara.

This is Opera and Balet theatre. It was build on the basement of main city Cathedral which was destroyed in 1931. Theater placed on Kuibyshev square. It is the biggest square in Europe.



Drama theatre was build in 1888 in Russian style. You can see Samara emblem on towers - white goat.



This is Samara Art Academy. In past it was Governor's house. It was rebuild in 1930th and obtain 3 additional levels. Next picture you can see how it looked in a past. But the most interesting thing hidden inside. There is a small door at the back side. This door leads to the great bunker. Natives call it Stalin's bunker but right name is Supreme Commander-in-chief bunker and Stalin never visited Samara. It was build in 1941 by Moscow subway workers. Construction was top secret and even people who lived in neibourhood houses didn't know anything about it. Only at 1990th it was declassified. The deepness of this bunker is 37 meters. It was deepest bunker during second world war. Now it is museum and you can visit it and feel atmosphere those ages. Of course if you don't have claustrophobia. Samara underground world is a very interesting theme. There are dozens of underground constructions in Samara because from 1941 Samara reviewed as reserve USSR capital in a case of war. May be later I'll do special report about Samara underground world.



Here you can see this building as it was hundred years ago. This picture from amaizing web site Old Samara. This site in Russian but you could see a lot of photos from 19th till 21st century. 03a_Samara_08-2012.jpg

 Army headquarter.



 This is civil building. A lot of famous people lived here. As example leader of Bulgaria communists Dimitrov and Russian composer Shostakovich.



At the left side historical building from 19th century. It made from wood. House at the right side is new. Architector tried to build it in a modern-style because a lot of buildings in Samara made in a modern-style. May be later I'll make report about Samara modern style houses.



Before Russian revoulition in 1917 I was a land-bank which gave loans mostly to farmers. Now days it is one of the buildings of Samara State Technical University. Here placed chemical faculty. Later you'll see that towers on roof and spires are typical for end of 19th - beginning of 20th century in Samara.



Another historical building. In a past it was private house. During Second world war when German army was close to Moscow and all embassies was moved to Samara. Here was placed UK Embassy. After WWII it was pioneers house and in 1987 I become pioneer in that building.



Katholic Cathedral. Gothic style. People call it Polish church because mostly Polish people withit it. Hope you know that Poland was of Russian Empire from 19th till beginning of 20th century. On of the intersting building in Samara. As you remember Samara was a greatest grain market and a lot of businessmens from different countries trade here. As result appears few churches for different confessions.



Again I guess because of grain market was build biggest Sinagogue in Volga region. It seems strange but not so many people knows where it placed in Samara. Unfortunately after 1917 in this building was bakery. About 10 years ago this building was presented to Samara Jude society and only in 2010 was started reconstruction. I hope in few years we could see all beautifulness of it.



This is former Pushkin theatre. Nowdays it is Cultural center of Samara regional Russian Railroads. At the balcony above the entrance there is a Pushkin buest.



It is new hope of Samara architecture. All over the world including Samara all new buildings made from glass and concrete. But this building seems like 19th century style. Architectors make decision to install clock into the tower and nice statues at entrance.



This building is really looks like small palace. Unfortunately in Soviet time here was placed chocolade factory. Last 10 years nobody cares about this building it was dramatically damaged. Hopefully last year was start reconstruction.



Again photo from Old Samara web site. You can see how building from previous photo looked 100 years ago.



Pleasant place in the city of Samara. Many years ago it was post office then it become a restaurant. I have no idea who is an owner now but he made great nice upgrade. 2 levels was builded and clock installed into the building.



Now this house looks very ugly and it is sad. There is the oldest building in Samara. It was builded in 1848 after the great fire. Many years it was Gymnasium for boys. Nowdays it is one of the faculty of Samara Medical University. Destiny of this building is dramatical. In 1996 it was damaged by fire. But in next 2 years it was repaired. But into 1999 happend new fire which destroyed big part of this construction. The worth thing is roof was completely destroyed. This building was repaired again but not by professional repaires. As result statues an tower at the roof was not restored.



Again great thanks to Old Samara. This photo made at the end of 19th century. Here you can see all power of this house. When I was a boy I was amazed by small tower on roof and statues of reading boys on the left and right sides of the tower.



There is an interesting story about this house. Man who build it at the beginning of 20th century used interesting technology. What you see on photo just 1/4 of planned building. At the second stage it should be another symmetrical part to the left from entrance. At third stage 3d level should be created and ath the 4th stage tower with clock. But at every stage of construction it had to be complete house where people could live. Unfortunately this project was not realized because of First world war started in 1914. This guy spend all his money to support Russian army. He organised Hospital and gave his money to the goverment. Then revolution happend so this house still at the first stage and I'm affraid it never been finished.



There are dozens of beautiful and interesting houses in Samara. But it very sad to see that government doesn't care about it and every year we are loosing few historical buildings. On this photo another wonderfuld example of architecture. Columns, balconies, telamons and caryatides support balcony and roof but in fact this house needs urgent repair. Also people who lived there installed air-conditioners at front side and plastic windows. I said again that it is very sad to see.



Again because of grain market many businessmans visited Samara and some of them buikd here residences. On photo house called "Holland house". By legend it was build by man from Nietherlands who lived few years in Samara. The style of it is very unsual for Russia. I suppose you can find this style only in Samara.



I hope this report was interesting and you feel that Russian cities are similar to European and you can find a lot of amazing places, I shown you less than 1% of downtown but if you would like to see Samara downtown please try to do it ASAP. Unfortunately people absolutely don't respect their history and prefer to build new skyscrapper instead keep history and care about it.



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0 #2 Alex 2015-07-08 17:02
Interesting news. Scientists find wooden base which seems like ancient Samara fortress. There are few discussions in the city government to organize museum at the scientist's digging place. http://sv-bob.livejournal.com/659718.html
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