neighbouring region

neighbouring region

  • About Mari-El

    About Mari-El category

  • Glukhoe lake

    Location: the Republic of Mari El, Volzhskyi district

    Glukhoe lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Glukhoe lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

  • House of merchant Naumov

    Location: the Republic of Mari El, Yoshkar-Ola, the old district of the city 

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

    House of merchant Naumov in Yoshkar-Ola, Mari El, a monument of architecture
    Photo: O. Ermakova

     

  • Klenovaya Gora (Maple Mountain)

    Location: the Republic of Mari El, Volzhskyi district

    Surrounding of Klenovaya Gora, Mari El, Russia, Tatarstan, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourismPhoto: Andrey Roshektaev

    The river Ilet' at Klenovaya GoraMari El, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourismPhoto: Andrey Roshektaev

     

     

     

  • Konaner lake

    Lovation: the Republic of Mari El, Volzhskyi district

    Konaner lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Konaner lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Konaner lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Pinetrees around the lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Shores of the lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

     

  • Morskoi Glaz lake

    Location: the Republic of Mari El, at Shariboksad village, 2 km from Sotnur settlement, Volzhskyi district

    The name of the lake means Sea Eye, locals call it Mushyl.

    Morskoi Glaz Lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Morskoi Glaz Lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Waterfall at Morskoi Glaz Lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Slopes of the lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Surroundings of the lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    The lake in autumn
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

     

  • The Kirov region

    (Кировская область, Россия)

     

    General information  

    The Kirov Region is located in the eastern part of the East European Plain in central European Russia. The main topographical features are the Vyatskie Ridges in the central part of the region, the Verkhnekamskaya Upland (elevations to 337 m) in the northeast, and the Northern (Severnye) Ridges in the north. The region has an area of 120 800 km2 and extends 570 km from north to south and 440 km from west to east. The population of Kirov Region is 1272100 people; 70% of the population is urban. Ethnicly the population is divided on Russians - 67.57%, Kazakhs - 16.33%, Tatars - 6.62%, and others - 9.48%, according to National Census (2010).

    The region borders on Tatarstan and the Republic of Mari El in the south, Volgograd Region in the west, Arkhangelsk Region and the Komi Republic in the north, the Komi-Permyak Autonomous District in the northeast, and the Udmurt Republic in the southeast, which ensures stable internal and foreign economic ties. Kirov Region has a well-developed transportation system of main railway lines and highways, and there is an airport.

    The main rivers are the Vyatka and Kama, which are part of the Volga Basin. The climate is temperate continental with an average January temperature of -14 °C and an average July temperature of +17 °C. Annual precipitation is about 500 mm. Soils are mainly podzolic in coniferous forest areas and sod-podzolic in mixed coniferous-deciduous forest areas.

    The administrative center is the city of Kirov founded in 1374. It stretches for 25 km along the banks of the Vyatka River 896 km from Moscow. Kirov is subdivided into Leninsky, Oktyabrsky, Pervomaisky, and Novovyatsky districts. It is a major railway (the Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, Kotlas, and Perm lines all pass through it) and highway junction, and there is also a river port and an airport.

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    Kirov region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

    Kirov region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     


     The main industrial sectors are engineering and metalworking, nonferrous and ferrous metallurgy, and the chemical, microbiological, forest, woodworking, pulp and paper, light (including leather shoes and furs), and food industries. Production of building materials, phosphorite, and peat is also important.

    Agriculture is mainly oriented towards grain and livestock. Grains, long-fibered flax, potatoes, and vegetables are grown and meat, milk, wool, and eggs are produced.

    The city of Kirov is also an important scientific and cultural center. Architectural and historical monuments that have been preserved in the city and the region are of great historical significance.


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    History  

    Vyatka land has a very long history. It was first settled in the Upper Paleolithic from 50 000 to 15 000 years ago. Tribes began to form in the latter half of the 1st millennium A.D.: Udmurt tribes in the eastern part of the Vyatka basin, Maris in the west, and Komis in the north. The population's main occupations were agriculture, livestock herding, and fur trapping. Most of the territory was uninhabited and covered with forests and swamps. Russians began to arrive in the late 12th and early 13th centuries and settled in the vacant lands among the Udmurts and Maris. The influx of Russians intensified in the second half of the 13th century as a result of the Mongol-Tatar invasions.

    Vyatsk is first mentioned in the chronicle in 1374. At that time Vyatka land was part of the Nizhny Novgorod princedom. The princedom was annexed to Moscow in 1393 and shortly thereafter passed into the possession of Yury Galitsky. The process of forming a unified Russian state was underway in 1478. In 1485, after the expulsion of the grand prince's governor, Yury Shestak Kutuzov, the boyars proclaimed Vyatka's independence, but it was split up only a few years later, in 1490. 

    The annexation of Vyatka land to the Russian state was of great significance. The lands along the middle course of the Vyatka and Cheptsa rivers, namely, Arsk land and Slobodskoi, Glazovsky, Orlovsky, and Kotelnichesky districts, were considered part of these lands. 

    When the Siberian Khanate was abolished in the late 16th century, Vyatsk ceased to be a remote outpost of the Russian state and became a connecting link between the central, Volga, and Ural-Siberian districts.

    In the 17th century, Khlynov, with a population of 4400, became the largest city in northeastern European Russia. The vast Vyatskaya and Velikopermskaya diocese (eparchy) was organized in the city and began its activities in 1658. Administrative reforms also had enormous significance for the territory.

    In 1780, the Vyatka governorship with its center in Khlynov was formed in the course of administrative and territorial changes that were taking place in the region in the late 18th century. Thirteen districts - uezdy - were included in the new governorship, and the new cities of Glazov, Nolinsk, and Sarapul were founded.

    Aleksandr II approved Vyatka Province's new coat of arms on December 8, 1856. Judicial reform carried out in 1864 eliminated the old estate courts, although jury courts were not established until 1874-1875.

    In the late 19th and early 20th centuries, Vyatka remained a place of exile for opponents of the tsarist regime, including many prominent revolutionary figures. In 1920, a number of small southern and eastern districts (volosti) and villages were shifted from Vyatka as a result of the formation of the Tatar Autonomous Republic and the Mari and Votskaya (now the Udmurt Republic) autonomous regions.

    The territory did not escape the Civil War and intervention of 1918-1921. The postwar period was accompanied by rebuilding of the province on the basis of the New Economic Policy (NEP), which consisted of free trade, entrepreneurship, and private sector stimulation. However, the basic principles of the NEP never really took hold in agriculture, where the only effect was to reduce all the peasants to the same level, or in industry.

    The country's first office of the International Organization for Aid to Fighters of the Revolution (IOAR) began operations here in January 1923.

    The administrative and territorial reforms of 1929 eliminated the old division of the country into provinces and districts (uezdy, volosti) and introduced a new system of division into regions, territories, and districts (raiony). Vyatsk Province was abolished, and its territory became part of Nizhny Novgorod Territory. The city of Vyatsk became a district center.

    On December 5, 1934, the Presidium of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee (VTsIK) passed a resolution renaming the city from Vyatsk to Kirov, and Kirov Territory was formed on December 7. It included the Udmurt Autonomous Region, 37 districts (raiony) of Gorki Region (which had formerly been part of Vyatka Province), as well as Sapapulsky and Votkinsky districts of Sverdlovsk Region. Following the adoption of the new Constitution in 1936, Kirov Territory was transformed into Kirov Region and the Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (ASSR) was separated from it.

    Kirov residents played an important role during the Second World War. Red Army units were quickly mobilized, and infantry divisions were formed. The people of Kirov not only worked heroically in industry and agriculture to bring about a speedy victory, but also rendered all possible assistance to the front. In the postwar years, the successes of Kirov residents in communal livestock farming and in fulfilling their socialist obligations to the state often received high praise from the Soviet government.

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    Culture and art   

    The intellectual development of Vyatka land has been enriched by the intricate blending of various cultures that has taken place in the course of its history. As a result, the region presents unique opportunities for cultural cooperation.

    Folklore and folk arts are an important part of the region's spiritual life. Vyatka accordionists and chastushka (short humorous Russian songs) groups have wide high awards at Russian festivals over the years. Young violinists, accordionists, and folk instrument players have also been prizewinners.

    The production of traditional clay toys (figures of ladies in crinolines, hussars, whistles shaped like animals, horsemen, etc.) has been preserved in Dymkovo on the far side of the river from Kirov. Dymkovo toys are made of baked clay with a multicolor design painted in tempera on a white background. The elegant baroque Trinity (Troitskaya) Church dating from 1770-1775 is located in the village of Makarye not far from Dymkovo.

    Just as in the rest of this vast country, Kirov Region has many talented writers, artists, film makers, architects, and musicians.

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  • The Nizhnyi Novgorod region

    (Нижегородская область, Россия)

     

    General information    

    The Nizhnyi Novgorod Region is located in the centre of European Russia, along the 57th parallel. The area is about 80,5 thousands km², approximately the size of the Benelux countries combined (41% – agricultural lands, 48% – forests, 2% – rivers and lakes, 9% – other). Regional centre is the city of Nizhnyi Novgorod with population of 1,4 million people, third largest city in Russia, 450 km due east of Moscow, at the confluence of the Volga and Oka rivers. The population of the region is 3,72 million (about 2,5% of the RF population), predominantly Russian in ethnicity, 78% urban population, density is 48,5 per km². Administrative composition includes 48 districts, 25 cities, 70 towns, and 4630 villages.

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    Nizhnyi Novgorod region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    Nizhnyi Novgorod region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    Industries: automotive, machinery, food processing, chemical and petrochemical. Natural resources are deposits of titan-zirconium sands, construction and glass sands, plaster and anhydrite, rock salt, mineral water, pine and birch forests, ongoing exploration for oil in the north. About 48% of the area is forested, 9000 rivers and streams, 3000 lakes and ponds. Climate is continental-moderate with average temperature +20°C (68F) in summer and -12° (10F) in winter.

    The Nizhnyi Novgorod Region is famous for: political stability, high-technology industrial base, highly qualified personnel, well-developed infrastructure of foreign economic activities, access to the principal markets of the Volga-Vyatka economic region, low rate of crime, mature legislation base, and favourable investment climate.

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    History   

    Nizhnyi Novgorod was founded by Yuryi Vsevolodovich, the Prince of Vladimir, in 1221. It was called Gorky in 1932-1990. The population of the city is 1,376.000 people. It is a large river port, trade and cultural centre. One of the most ancient chronicles of Russia was written here, in Pechersky monastery, in 1328-30. Later it was known as Lavrentyevskaya chronicle. At first the city was surrounded with wooden walls of oaks, then the building of a stone Kremlin was begun in 1374. Nizhnyi Novgorod was annexed to Moscow by Vasilyi I in 1392 and soon it became a strong point of struggle against the Kazan Khanate. The Kremlin built by Peter Fryazin in 1508-1511 helped the citizens of Novgorod to resist the raids of the Tatars in 1520-1536. In 1611-12 Nizhnyi Novgorod was the centre of the forming of home guards of Kozma Minin and Dmitryi Pozharskyi against Polish invaders. Since the 19th century the city has received industrial significance. Flour-grinding and shipbuilding industries grew. Makaryevskaya Fair moved to Nizhnyi Novgorod in 1817. Shipbuilding plant "Sormovo" was built in 1849. All these factors played an important role in the growth of the city. The steamship-line has been developed since the middle of the 19th century: there were 15 steamships on the Volga in 1854, about 350 – in 1870, more than 1000 – in 1890. At the end of the 19th century Nizhnyi Novgorod becomes the largest centre of trade and finance and the largest in the world for the wholesale trade of grains. Now Nizhnyi Novgorod is one of the largest auto and track producing centres of Russia with its GAZ (Gorkovsky motorcar factory) and veteran-plant "Krasnoe Sormovo" – the main shipbuilding plant of the fleet of the Volga.

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    Tourism    

    About 38 settlings of the region have status of the historical populated places, including 17 of all-Russian significance and 21 of provincial significance. These settlings have the individual unique appearance, which were developing during centuries. Earliest cities of the region are Gorodets (mid of 17th century), Nizhnyi Novgorod (1221), Kurmysh (1372), Arzamas (15th century), Vasil’sursk (1523), they were founded as fortresses on the eastern boundaries of the Russian State. The significant groups of historical settlings compose the former administrative centres of districts, converted from the villages during the formation of the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region ruled by governor-general (including towns Vetluga, Gorbatov, Lukoyanov, Semenov, Sergach, etc.), and also the large commodity-industry settlings (Balakhna – the centre of salt-making, Pavlovo – the centre of metal working, Bogorodsk and Bol’shoye Murashkino – centres of leather dressing industry). The peculiar settlings group is the Volga villages connected with navigation and trade – Bezvodnoye, Kadnitsy, Rabotki, Tatinets in the Kstovo district, and Barmino and Isady in the Lyskovo district. The unique place can be called the village Bol’shoye Olenevo in Semenovo district (the former Olenevskyi monastery), according to a legend it was founded in 15th century. The place preserved the planning structure and type of the building of skit settling connected with the names of the first devotees the Old Belief.

    Nizhnyi Novgorod as a city has many monuments of history, culture and architecture to visit, and there are many remarkable areas and monuments on the territory of the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region. The tourism attractions of the region include the monuments of ancient Russian state and the Orthodox Church, the centres of folklore and handicrafts, the memorable places connected with the history of Old Belief, and memorable places connected with the famous people (a list of those objects is given in Appendix 9). The Nizhnyi Novgorod Region is a traditional destination for cultural tourist who are interested in history of Russian state and the Orthodox Church from times of their establishment. Because of popularity of this historical aspect the Nizhnyi Novgorod was always promoted and supported by the state and open to tourists of both domestic and foreign origin.

    Tourist activities in the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region can be very diverse and include use of the natural resources for sport, health and recreational purposes; visiting industrial and handicraft manufactures and numerous cultural and traditional festivals, and etc.

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    Accommodation    

    Accommodation fund in Nizhnyi Novgorod and the region has a serious crisis. For now there are only a few more or less appropriate hotels. Some of them are located fare away from the centre or they are very small. Most famous and nearest to standard are "Volna", "Oka", "Oktyabrskaya" hotels. Due to the crisis of 1998 the hotel system of the region has really difficult times. Business activity went down, and hotels, also orientated on business life or domestic tourists, got less profit. Their capacities are not fully used: "Volna" – 30%, "Oka" – 30-35%, "Oktyabrskaya" – 50%, and hotel complex "Tsentralnyi" – 20%. Profit is enough for simply surviving, so most of them stopped reconstruction or renovating. Recently the situation is getting better with conducting Nizhnyi Novgorod Fair, City Day, and some other events.

    The condition of accommodation in the rest of the region is even worth – the quality is very poor but prices are high. There are some small exceptions like a hotel in Boldino. The fact of a lack of hotels is a reason of using sanatoriums and resorts as a substitute accommodation, or developing new type – staying at host families, including food, activities like banya (sauna), fishing, etc. The region has 215 sanatoriums, resorts and camps. 20% of them works also in off-season. Average prise per night is about 100 roubles. Such accommodation would be rather interesting because of natural surroundings – forests, lakes, and clean air.

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    Transport    

    Transportation system of the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region includes 16.000 km of roads (95% of them are hard covered), 6.000 km of railways, 1.200 km of waterways, and access to all European ports.

    Travelling by air

    The centre of the region – Nizhnyi Novgorod – has an airport, which recently has got international status. The airport arranges flights to Moscow (every day), to Frankfurt-on-Main by "Lufthansa" (three times per week), charter flights to cities in Russia and CIS, and Egypt, Turkey, Syria, India, Pakistan, the United Arab Emirates. Annual amount of flights is 3590. There is intention to arrange a flight to Paris. The host-company of the airport is "Nizhnyi Novgorod Airlines".

    Travelling by train

    There is a straight connection to Moscow: four trains per day, two of them – high comfort class. The Nizhnyi Novgorod Region also connected to all the Russian Federation: West parts, all the Volga area, Urals, and Siberia. From 70s the subway is functioning in Nizhnyi Novgorod.

    Travelling by car/bus

    The region has road connection to Moscow due to two federal highways: Moscow – Nizhnyi Novgorod – Kazan and Moscow – Nizhnyi Novgorod – Saransk. In 1998 the European Transport corridor to Nizhnyi Novgorod was prolonged. By the state bus system visitors can get to any part of the region, as well as neighbouring areas and republics and Moscow.

    Travelling by ship/riverboat

    There are waterways to towns and cities along the Volga, and also to Moscow and St. Petersburg.

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    Tourist facilities and services   

    There are more than 100 travel agencies registered in the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region. About 50% of them are involved in inbound tourism permanently, 40% – on provisional basis. All of them are active during high season, and more than a half – in off-season. Traditional offer is cruises along the Volga. The "Volga-Flot" (a strong water transport enterprise owning big ship) has a big fleet, and runs cruises along three rivers – the Volga, Kama and Oka. The region has also a small-scale fleet, corresponding to class "deluxe". According to the Program on cultural heritage in the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region many monuments and objects have been restored.

    The regional tourism facilities and services are in planning and developing stage now. The receptive service is quite weak. There are services of guides and interpreters but they are concentrated mostly at travel agencies, which also substitute functions of tourist informational offices. There is no any centralised informational service. Restaurants and other eating establishments have good quality and service, but mainly on demand of business life of Nizhnyi Novgorod, what results in high prices. Retail outlets of handicrafts, souvenirs and specialities are arranged at many places, especially at museums, manufactures and tourist sites, especially in towns where they are produced. There are developed facilities for financial operations due to developed business: foreign exchange offices, filials of many banks, banks both state and private proceed operations with bankcards from all over the world. Personal facilities are good developed, on any demand and quality. The region has good medical facilities and services: there are all-Russia famous medical centres, institutes and hospitals of various specialisation with modern medical equipment and high developed technologies. The emergency telephone access to medical service is "03". Public safety is run by the state service "milicia"(police), the emergency telephone access is "02". Fire protection is the concern of the special department, the emergency telephone access is "01".

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    Communication and public services   

    Nizhnyi Novgorod and the region has all communication and public services like water supply, electric power, sewage and solid waste disposal, telegraph, telex, and telefax (run by the municipal authorities), and radio, telecommunications, and telephone (run by the state or private companies).

    At present in the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region six television companies work: the state federal of TV-radio company "Nizhnyi Novgorod", the provincial TV-radio company NNTV, the private company "Volga", the private TV-station "The NN networks", and also two private companies "Nika TV" and "The Stream". Local radiobroadcast is achieved by provincial and commercial radio-companies "Radio Rendezvous", "Europe+ NN" and "Radio 101". Also the region has a good telephone network both on line and mobile. It is possible to contact to any country in the world in a few seconds from almost any place of the region. Post offices are open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., there anyone can use fax, telefax, call in Russia or abroad, get information. Nizhnyi Novgorod has offices of some international express post services.

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  • The Orenburg region

    (Оренбургская область, Россия)

     

    General information  

    The Orenburg Region is one of the largest regions of the Russian Federation. The region is located at the meeting point of Europe and Asia and is part of the Ural economic district. It borders on the Republic of Bashkortostan and Chelyabinsk Region in the north, Kazakhstan in the east and south, and Samara Region in the west. It occupies a huge territory in the Southern Pre-Urals, as well as territory along the middle Ural River and the Sakmara, Samara, and Ilek river basins, with a total area of 124 000 km2 (0.7% of the Russian Federation and 15% of the Ural economic district). The region extends 750 km from west to east; its border with Kazakhstan is 1876 km long.
    Orenburg Region was formed on December 7, 1934. From December 26, 1938, to December 4, 1957, it was called Chkalov Region.

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    Orenburg region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism Orenburg region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    The region is made up 29 municipal districts, 13 municipalities, and 447 rural districts. The largest cities are Orenburg (1743), Orsk (1735), Novotroitsk (1945), Buzuluk (1781), and Gai (1979). You can reach Orenburg from any community by car or train.

    Orenburg Region has a continental climate with hot dry summers and relatively little snow in winter. Annual precipitation reaches 450 mm in the northeast and 260 mm in the southeast. The difference between the absolute maximum and absolute minimum temperatures (absolute temperature) is 85-89 °C.

    The city of Orenburg, located on the Ural and Sakmara rivers, is the regional capital and one of the largest cities in Orenburg land. It has a population of about 600 000 people. Orenburg was founded in 1743, and from 1938 to 1957, was known as Chkalov.

    Orthodoxy and Islam were the region's traditional religions before the Revolution of 1917, although there were also seven other denominations. Today, members of 21 different denominations live in Orenburg Region, the most important of which are still Orthodoxy and Islam. More than 170 religious buildings are open at the present time.

    The population of Orenburg Region is about 2 million (2018). Owing to its geographical location, the region is multinational, with representatives of more than 80 nationalities among the population. Russians form the largest nationality (75,9%), followed by Tatars (7,6%), Kazakhs (6%), and smaller numbers of Ukrainians, Bashkirs, Mordvins, Germans, Poles, Jews, Chuvashes, Armenians, Azerbaijanis, Chechens, Ingushes, and others.

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    History   

    Nearly 4000 years ago, the endless Great Steppe, as the vast areas south of the Urals were called in the past, spread over the expanse of the Southern Pre-Urals. This was the birthplace of the Sarmatian, Scythian, and other civilizations of nomadic herders and warriors.

    Large numbers of kurgans (or "maris")-huge earthen mounds over the burial places of warriors-are monuments of their long history. Archeologists have discovered hundreds of kurgans near the city of Orsk and in Iletsky and Sharlyksky districts. Large numbers of ornaments of pure gold have been found in these burial mounds. In 1911, archeologists working near the village of Prokhorovka, Sharlyksky District, discovered a bowl dating to the early 3rd century B.C., as well as other objects proving the existence of well-developed trade relations in that period.

    The Scythians and Sarmatians were warlike tribes. The ancient historian Herodotus wrote that Sarmatian women "ride out hunting with their husbands and without them…No girl gets married until she has killed an enemy."

    In the 1730s, after the Lesser Kazakh Horde (Zhuz) voluntarily joined the Russian Empire, settlers from Russia's central provinces began actively developing Orenburg Territory.

    Orenburg Province was formed in 1744 by nominal decree of Empress Anna Ioanovna. The initiative for the formation of the new province came from state officials like V.N. Tatishchev, I.K. Kirillov, P.I. Rychkov, and I.I. Neplyuev, who as a consequence became the first governor of Orenburg. The province included part of the territory of present-day Kazakhstan, Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, and Chelyabinsk and Samara regions. The southern border followed the coasts of the Caspian and Aral seas.

    The province's advantageous geographical location and the business activity of Orenburg merchants promoted the rapid development of trade, economic, and cultural relations with Central Asia and Eastern countries. Asian merchants imported cattle, camel fleece, sheepskins, wild animal skins, brocade, precious stones, Indian silk, and gold and silver to Orenburg; and in exchange, Russia furnished them with grain, woolen and cotton fabrics, clothing, metals and minerals, honey, salt, fish, caviar, and other goods.

    Today, Orenburg Region, located at the crossroads of East and West, is seeking to continue this tradition as the Russian "window on the East."

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    Culture and art  

    Orenburg was initially constructed as a fortress and also functioned as a trading center. Today, Orenburg is one of Russia's most beautiful cities, as confirmed by the preserved historical and architectural antiquities. An interdepartmental council for the protection of the region's historical and cultural properties has inventoried 1895 sites, 1523 of which are on a government list of historical and cultural monuments, and 1438 archeological sites. In addition, 1140 cultural centers (with 7210 clubs and amateur associations operating in them), 910 theater studios, and a large number of groups of all kinds (810 choral, 559 dance, 210 instrumental, 132 folklore, and 258 national groups) operate in the region today.

    At present, there are 12 state and 16 national museums. The state museums have a basic stock of 205 600 items, and the museum of fine arts owns a basic fund of more than 7000 exhibits, including rare collections of Orenburg goat down shawls. There are also 139 school museums and a number of public industrial museums. Other facilities that have been opened include exhibition halls in the cities of Gai and Saraktash, a museum of internationalist soldiers in Orenburg, and a rural ethnographic museum of Tatar culture in Kuvandyksky District.

    Seven professional theaters operate in Orenburg Region, including a regional puppet theater, the Pierrot municipal puppet theater, the Faizi Tatar drama theater, the Orsk and Buguruslansk drama theaters, and the Gorki regional drama theater.

    The region has 993 state libraries, 23 of them in Orenburg. In recent years, the libraries have experienced difficulties in replenishing their stocks, which has led to a decrease in resources.

    In the sphere of education, about 75 children's music and art schools and 5 specialized vocational schools are currently operating; and the opening of the Rostropovich State Institute of the Arts in Orenburg has resulted in the appearance of the "School-College-Higher Institution" system of arts education. Orenburg also has its own philharmonic orchestra, which includes the Orenburg State Academic Russian Folk Choir under the direction of O.S. Serebriiskaya and a chamber orchestra under the direction of V.N. Bruk.

    The region has begun holding annual days of Russian spirituality and culture; Kazakh, Bashkir, Tatar, Ukrainian, Mordvinian, and German cultural festivals; the "Colors of the Rainbow" (Kraski radugi) regional children's festival; and a regional festival of guitar songs in Kuvandyk.

    Arts and crafts, such as clay and wooden toys, woodcarving and wood painting, ceramics, stone carving, metal engraving, and traditional Orenburg knitting, are also expanding.

    In 2019, the V.I. Dal Writer's Union of Orenburg celebrated its 60th anniversary.

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  • The Republic of Bashkortostan

    (Республика Башкортостан, Россия)

     

    General information   

    Bashkortostan covers an area of 142 900 km2 or app. 0.8% of the total area of the Russian Federation. It occupies a large part of the Southern Urals, the adjacent Bashkirian part of the Ural foreplains, and the high plain belt of the Bashkirian Transural region. It borders on Perm and Sverdlov regions in the north, Chelyabinsk Region in the southeast, Orenburg Region in the south and southwest, the Republic of Tatarstan in the west, and the Udmurt Republic in the northwest. Its territory extends 550 km from north to south and 430 km from west to east between 51°31' and 56°34' north latitude and 53°10' and 59°59' east longitude.

    In 2018 4 063 300 people lived in the republic, including 2 540 000 in cities. The Republic of Bashkortostan has the seventh-largest population among subjects of the Russian Federation. People of nearly 100 different nationalities live in Bashkortostan, including Bashkirs, Russians, Tatars, Chuvash, Mari, Ukrainians, and Germans. The Bashkirs are the indigenous inhabitants.

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    Republic of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism Republic of Bashkortostan, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    There are 54 municipal districts, 9 municipalities, 14 rural towns, and 818 rural districts in the republic. The largest cities are Ufa, Sterlitamak, Salavat, Neftekamsk, and Oktyabrsky. The capital of the republic is Ufa, founded in 1574 and with a population of 1.1 million.

    The Republic of Bashkortostan is located in a well-populated and developed part of the country. Major railway lines, pipeline routes, and highways pass through its territory, connecting the European part of the Russian Federation with the Urals and Siberia. The republic has direct railway connections to western Kazakhstan, the lower reaches of the Volga, the Northern Caucasus, Uzbekistan, and Turkmenistan. The Belaya River is part of the Unified Deepwater Transport System of European Russia, which provides the Republic of Bashkortostan with access to ports on the Caspian, Baltic, and Black seas and the Sea of Azov. The republic is a constituent part of the Ural economic region; it is second only to the Central region of the Russian Federation in scale of industrial development and adjoins the highly developed Volga and West Siberian economic regions.

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    History   

    Bashkortostan is a country in the Southern Urals and adjacent areas that takes its name from the indigenous people, the Bashkir (Bashkort). Bashkiria, the Russian (Slavic) name for the country, was firmly established at the end of the 16th century. Initially, the forms Bashkir, Bashkirda, and Bashkirian Horde were used. The first written records of individual tribes of the Bashkir people are found in the works of Herodotus (5th century B.C.). Ptolomey's map (2nd century A.D.) showed the River Daiks (now the Ural River). The writings of Sallam Tarjeman (9th century) and Akhmed ibn-Fadlan (10th century) contain valuable information; and al-Balkhi (10th century) wrote that the Bashkirs were divided into two groups, one of which lived in the Southern Urals and the other near the Danube close to the borders of Byzantium. His contemporary, ibn-Ruste, noted that the Bashkirs were "an independent people occupying the territories on both sides of the Ural Mountains between the Volga, Kama, Tobol, and upper Yaik rivers. The 12th-century geographer Idrisi referred to Inner Bashkir, Outer Bashkir, and the Bashkirian cities of Nemzhan, Gurkhan, Karakiya, Kasra, and Masra.

    From the second half of the 16th century to the beginning of the 19th century, the Bashkirs inhabited a territory from the left bank of the Volga in the southwest to the upper reaches of the Tobol in the east, and from the Sylva River in the north, including the entire left bank of the Volga, to the middle Yaik in the south. That is, they lived in the Central and Southern Urals and areas adjoining the Urals, including the Volga River valley and the Transural region.

    Until the mid-19th century, the territory of the ancient Bashkir tribes was the basis of Bashkiria's administrative and territorial structure. In the time of the Golden Horde, the territory of Bashkortostan was divided into ulusy (regions) whose size was determined by the number of farmsteads or soldiers. After the breakup of the Golden Horde in the 14th century, Bashkortostan was divided among the Kazan and Siberian khanates and the Nogai Horde, and the people were under the jurisdiction of the governors general of Kazan, Osinsk, Siberia, and Nogai.

    In the mid-16th century, the Bashkirs took out Russian citizenship on the basis of an agreement with the tsarist government. After Bashkiria joined the Russian state in the second half of the 16th century, its territory was included in Kazan District; and then in 1586, it was separated into Ufa District, which was divided into governorships (darugi) and small rural districts (volosti). The volost division applied only to the Bashkirs. In 1700, Ufa, Menzelinsk, Birsk, Zainsk, and Tabynsk were freed from district administration and became independent administrative centers subordinate to the district administrativion. In 1708, the city governments were abolished and Bashkiria became part of the provinces of Kazan and Siberia. Then in 1744, it was made part of Orenburg Province, which first consisted of subprovinces (Ufa, Isetsk, and Orenburg), and from 1781 on, of districts (Orenburg, Ufa, Sterlitamak, Birsk, Menzelinsk, Verkhny Ural, Troitsk, Chelyabinsk, and Bugulminsk). At the same time, the previous division into rural districts and councils of officials was retained. In 1781, Orenburg Province was reorganized into the Ufa Governorship consisting of Ufa and Orenburg regions. Ufa Region was further subdivided into eight districts and Orenburg Region, into four. In 1796, Ufa Governorship was transformed into Orenburg Province, which initially consisted of 10 districts and then 12 as of 1804. The border districts of Bashkiria became part of Perm, Vyatsk, and Samara (in 1851) provinces. The introduction of the canton system of administration was the next step toward unification of Bashkiria's administrative and territorial structure. The borders of the cantons were approximately those of the districts. On Bashkir's transition from military to civil administration and the formation of Ufa and Orenburg provinces from the Orenburg Governorship, Bashkiria was confirmed in 1865 as an all-Russian administrative and territorial division whose main units were the province, district, city, rural district, and village.

    On November 15, 1917, the Bashkir regional soviet (council) elected by the 1st All-Bashkirian Congress in July 1917, declared the Bashkirian territories of Orenburg, Ufa, Perm, and Samara provinces an autonomous part of the Russian Republic. On May 19, 1920, the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR passed the decree "On the State Structure of the Autonomous Soviet Bashkir Republic." In 1922, Ufa, Birsk, and Belebei districts of Ufa Region and mainly Bashkir rural districts of Zlatoustovsky District of the abolished Ufa Province became part of the Autonomous Soviet Bashkir Republic (Great Bashkiria (Bolshaya Bashkiria)). On October 11, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the republic proclaimed the Declaration of State Sovereignty confirming the status of the republic as a democratic constitutional state; and in February 1992, the republic was named the Republic of Bashkortostan. On March 31, 1992, a Federative Agreement on division of powers and areas of jurisdiction between government bodies of the Russian Federation and the sovereign republics within it and an Addendum to it from the Republic of Bashkortostan were signed, establishing the contractual nature of relations between the Republic of Bashkortostan and the Russian Federation. On August 3, 1994, the Russian Federation and the Republic of Bashkortostan signed an Agreement entitled "On the Division of Areas of Jurisdiction and Mutual Delegation of Authority between Government Bodies of the Russian Federation and Government Bodies of the Republic of Bashkortostan."

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    Culture   

    The Bashkirs are a part of the huge Turkic world settled on territory from the Baltic and Black seas in the west up to the Ohotsky sea and the Pacific ocean in the east, from Caucasian up to Himalaya and Gindohushsky mountains in the south. The ethnic history of the Bashkirs and all the Turks totals thousand of years. They were in a structure of ancient turkic military - political unions and were in difficult ethno-cultural communication with many peoples, that predetermined mainly features of their material and spiritual culture. The subseque nt formation of the Bashkir culture passed in conditions of their interaction with slavic and Ugro-Finnish world.

    The Bashkirs are not numerous people. Not once they were subjected to hardest trials, not once they were on the verge of extinction. Not wit hout reason the outstanding Russian writer, democrat Gleb Uspensky wrote with a pain: " The Bashkirs will be gone! Will be gone! The most of the Bashkirs will be gone! " (Uspensky G.I. from Orenburgs up to Ufa. Ufa, 1982). Hundred years since that time ha ve passed. However The Bashkirs have not gone: the nature has given him high vital potential. Moreover, he has introduced the appreciable contribution to a world civilization, samples of his art creativity convince that.

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  • The Republic of Chuvashia

    (Чувашская республика, Россия)

    General information  

    The Chuvash Republic is located in the centre of European part of Russia. The area is about 18.3 thousands km². Population is 1,223,400 people, about 40% of them are living in rural area. The density of population is 74,3 people per 1 km² – one of the highest in Russia. The Chuvash Republic consists of 21 municipal districts, 5 municipalities, 7 rural towns, 284 rural districts, and 1727 villages. The capital of the republic is city of Cheboksary with the population approximately 500 thousand people. Chuvashia is surrounded by the industrially developed centres of Russia: on the west it borders with the Nizhnyi Novgorod Region, on the north – with the republic of Mary El, on the east – with the Republic of Tatarstan, on the south it neighbours with the Mordvinian Republic and the Ulyanovsk Region. Distance from Cheboksary to Moscow is approximately 650 km.

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    Republic of Chuvashia, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism Republic of Chuvashia, Russia, Tatarstan, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    The Chuvash Republic possesses unique natural resources. Water resources are the beauty of the Volga, Sura, Tsivil’ rivers, and also four hundred lakes. One of the treasures of the republic is forests, which cover a third of the territory, mainly along the Sura and in the Volga area. The forests of Chuvashia consist of oak grove, mixed forests, and coniferous forest. Climate of the republic is moderate-continental, and averages temperature is +20°C (68F) in summer and -12° (10F) in winter.

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    History   

    By the ancestors Chuvash people are semi-nomadic tribes of ancient Bulgars and Suvar, which lived in 5th-8th centuries on the northern Caucasus. In 7th-8th centuries one part of the Bulgars left the Balkans and was dissolved among the Slavs, another part migrated in the middle part of the Volga Region and had composed the ethnic basis of Chuvashs and Kazan Tatars. The formation of the Chuvashs in the united nation occurred on the basis of the population of those rural Bulgars, who did not accept Islam, and it was completed in 15th-16th centuries. In 1551 the Chuvashs became part of Russia. The Chuvash language relates to Bulgar subgroup of Turkish group of Altai language family. The first primer in Russian drawings was published in 1871. Before that, in ancient times, runic written language was used. In the period from the middle 18th to the middle 19th centuries the Chuvashs were forcibly inverted into the Orthodox Christianity. Now the Chuvash Republic is the sovereign republic of the Russian Federation. In the tsarist Russia the territory of contemporary Chuvashia was a part of two provinces – Kazan gubernia and Simbirsk gubernia. In 1920, the Chuvash Autonomic region was established, which then was converted in the Chuvash ASSR, and in 1992 – in the Chuvash Republic as a part of Russian Federation.

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    Tourism   

    The tourism attractions of the Chuvash Republic have various nature. The main groups are: monuments of Orthodox Christianity, monuments of ancient Russian culture, historical and cultural monuments, museums and exhibitions, and the unique Neolithic sites (a list of some tourism attractions see in Appendix 8).

    The monuments of Orthodox Christianity include monasteries and churches through the republic. Other monuments represent history and culture of Chuvashia from different ethnic and historical perspectives. Many of them were rebuilt or restored.

    The museum offers its collections of unique original paintings by Russian artists Shishkin, Levitan, Repin, Serov, etc. There is a rich collection of Chuvash artists. The administration of museum arranges thematic workshops, musical evening and many different exhibitions.

    The most important museums are Chuvash National museums and Chuvash State art museum. There are also the museum of V.Chapaev, the national hero, the museum of beer, the museum of Natural Production which offers expositions about traditional countryside life of the area, and the Volga islands where the unique Neolithic sites are located.

    Tourist activities:

    • visiting the open air filial of the Chuvash National museum;
    • visiting handicrafts manufactures and farms;
    • visiting the embroidering manufacture "Pakha Tere";
    • the "village route" around Chuvash countryside with its festivals, handicrafts traditions, cloth, etc.;
    • visits to horse riding farms;
    • the beer route including observing process of traditional brewery and local beer-tasting;
    • recreational and sport routes around national parks "Chuvash Varmane" and "Zavolzh’e";
    • excursions along the Volga and Sura.

    Because of the destruction of main historical and culture attraction of republic during the Cheboksary hydroelectric station in 70s, the republican authorities decided to develop another potential of Chuvashia – recreation. The republic is situated in a part of geographical area – Zavolzh’e – the left bank of Volga. The area is famous for its unique untouched nature: clean air, beautiful forests, small and big rivers and lakes. All year around it is the best place for hunting and fishing, or just walking. In summer the area attracts by many beaches and long swimming season, collecting mushrooms and wild berries. During wintertime there are all possibilities for skiing, skating, driving in a sleigh, etc. Chuvashia has there many sanatoriums, resorts, and holiday camps. This fact influence the profile of the main flow of visitors to republic – people who are coming because of health or recreational purposes.

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    Accommodation    

    The republic does not have a big amount of accommodation, but existing hotels (in the Cheboksary city) are quite developed and modern. There are seven hotels "Chuvashia", "Sport", Promtractor Hotel", U Iriny", "Kurortnaya", "Rossiya", and "Utro". All of them offer additional services: restaurants, bar, hairdresser/barber shop, sauna with swimming pool, massage, billiard, banquet and conference halls, shops, parking space, etc. Some of the hotels have personnel speaking foreign languages. Now the city administration of Cheboksary conducts certification and modernisation of all hotel system. Accommodation of resorts and camps also can be count because of its good quality. The provincial accommodation system has not yet changed from Soviet times when standards were not high, and needs total reconstruction and, subsequently, investments.

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    Transport   

    Travelling by air
    The republic has an airport in Cheboksary. From 1995 the international sector is functioning.

    Travelling by train
    Chuvashia has railway connection with west and east parts of Russia, Siberia, southern Russia, and Europe. There are everyday trains to Moscow.

    Travelling by car/bus
    Due to the location the republic has access to the most important highways of the Russian Federation: the first one is from Moscow to the west of Russia, the second one connects Moscow with the southern part of Russia. Public transport of the republic is developed very well: there are 4 central stations and 31 local stations. They arrange travel inside of living areas of Chuvashia and all neighbouring areas and regions, every day to Moscow.

    Travelling by ship/riverboat
    The republic has water connection to all ports along the Volga, Caspian, Azov and Black sees, the west and north regions of Russia. The biggest port of the republic is "Cheboksarskyi" in the capital.

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    Tourist facilities and services    

    The republican tourism facilities and services are in a developing stage now. But there is more or less everything to provide good service to both domestic and foreign tourists. The receptive service is still forming but already has high standard: it includes travel and tour operations, interpreter and guide services, good offer of maps, guidebooks, etc. Restaurants and other eating establishments mainly offer modest but good quality services. Certainly, there are some fashionable and expensive restaurants. Retail outlets of handicrafts, souvenirs and specialities are arranged at many places, especially at museums, manufactures and tourist sites. There are developed facilities for financial operations: foreign exchange offices, banks both state and private proceed operations with bankcards from all over the world. Personal facilities are developed, it is possible to find them everywhere and on any demand. The republic has really good medical facilities and services: there are unique medical centres and hospitals of different specialisation with modern medical equipment. The emergency telephone access to medical service is "03". Public safety is run by the state service "milicia"(police), the emergency telephone access is "02". Fire protection is a concern of special department, the emergency telephone access is "01".

    There does not exist so-called tourist and travel information offices network, but their functions local travel agencies arrange. The disadvantage of their work is in their non-systematisation. To develop tourism in Cheboksary, particularly tourist facilities and services, in 1998 the Centre of Tourism "Cheboksary" was established by the city administration, some industrial enterprises and travel agencies. Travel agencies in co-operation with the local museums are planning archaeological expeditions and excursions, building the "archaeological village", and establishing the Repression’s museum, dedicated to victims of Stalin repressive politics.

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    Communication and public services    

    The Chuvash Republic has developed communication and public services like water supply, electric power, sewage and solid waste disposal, telegraph, telex, and telefax (run by the municipal authorities), and radio, telecommunications, and telephone (run by the state or private companies). There is TV and radio broadcasting companies both state and private, satellite TV is not yet spread widely (working only in the capital). The state telephone network connects all districts of the republic as well as Russia and the rest of the world. Cell telephone system is developing rapidly, and there are the republican and Russian companies on that market. Post offices are open every day from 9 a.m. to 6 p.m., there anyone can use fax, telefax, call in Russia or abroad, send and get letters and parcels. There is DHL office in Cheboksary.

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  • The Republic of Mari El

    (Республика Марий Эл, Россия)

     

    General information   

    The Mari El Republic is situated in the basin of the middle Volga River. Extending north from the left bank of the Volga and drained by its tributaries, the Vetluga, Bolshaya and Malaya Kokshaga, and Ilet, the republic consists of a level, often swampy, plain that rises gently toward the east, where it merges with the low Vyatka Hills.
    Total area of the republic is 23 300 km2 (57% forests, 38.9% farmlands, 1% swamps, 3% water). There are 476 large and small rivers, 11 rivers of economic importance and over 200 large lakes.

    The capital city of Mari El is Yoshkar-Ola, ist distance from Moscow is 825 km.

    The official languages of the republic are Mari (hill and meadow dialiects) and Russian. The population is about 682,300 people (2018), of whom some 470 000 live in the cities and 290 000 are rural. Population density is 32.7 people per km2

    The legislative branch of the government is represented by the State Assembly of the Republic of Mari El, which is the permanent, supreme and only body of legislative authority in the republic. The current State Assembly was elected in September 2019, and its term is to expire in September 2024.

    The executive branch is the Government of the Republic of Mari El led by the Head of the Republic of Mari El.

    Ethnic groups, according to National Census 2010:
    • Mari: 43.9%
    • Russians: 47.4%
    • Tatars: 5.79%
    • Other nationalities of the Russian Federation, including Chuvash, Udmurt, Mordvin, Ukrainians, and others (more than 50 nationalities): 2,89%

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    Republic of Mari-El, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism 

     

     

    Republic of Mari-El, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism


    The climate is temperate continental with long cold winters and warm summers. Average summer temperatures are from +18 to +20°C. The hottest weather is in July, when air temperatures reach +34 to +36°C. Fall weather is cold and damp with a predominance of chilly winds and rain. Early frosts and snow are likely. November is the windiest month. Winter generally begins in November; average winter temperatures are -18 to -19°C. January is the coldest month. The Republic of Mari El is an excellent place for winter sports like skiing and skating. Spring is usually cool and dry.

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    History   

    The Mari (formerly officially known as the Cheremis) who make up the republic's indigenous population, formed at the end of the first millennium A.D. They belong to the Finno-Ugric language family of nations. They were initially subjects of the Khazar Kaganat and then successively subjects of the Volga Bulgars, the Golden Horde, and the Kazan Khanate. For a long time, the territory inhabited by the Mari was the site of a fierce struggle between West and East, Slavs and Turkis, and Christianity and Islam.

    In the mid-16th century, the territory of the Mari was annexed to the Russian state. From that time on, its history was closely intertwined with the history of Russia, the Russian people, and other peoples of the country.

    Until the October Revolution, the Mari had no state of their own and were dispersed throughout Kazan, Vyatsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Ufa, and Ekaterinburg provinces. Today, only 324 300 Mari of a total population of 670 000 live in the Republic of Mari El. Historically, it has turned out that 51.7% of the Mari live outside their republic, including 4.1% living outside Russia.

    Important Historical Dates:
    • On November 4, 1920, the Mari Autonomous Region was formed by a decree of the All-Russian Central Executive Committee and the Council of People's Commissars of the RSFSR.
    • On December 5, 1936, in accordance with the Constitution of the USSR, the autonomous region was reorganized into the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic (Mari ASSR).
    • On December 22, 1990, the Supreme Soviet of the Mari ASSR passed a Declaration of state sovereignty of the republic. The republic now had a State Flag, Emblem, and Anthem.
    • The office of President was instituted at the end of 1991.
    • On March 22, 1992, the Republic of Mari El and other subjects of the Russian Federation signed a federative agreement.
    • On July 8, 1992, the republic became officially known as the Republic of Mari El (el - country).

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    Tourism and recreation   

    The Republic of Mari El is located in the eastern part of the East European Plain in the central Volga River basin. It borders on Kirov Region in the north, northeast, and east; on the Republic of Tatarstan and Chuvashia on the southeast and east; and on Nizhny Novgorod Region on the west and northwest. The border of the republic is 1200 km long, and its total area is 23 300 km2.

    The Volga River, the longest and deepest river in Europe, flows through Mari El for a length of 155 km. The museums of the city of Kozmodemyansk and Sheremetevo Castle in the village of Yurino are located on its banks.

    Numerous mineral springs with many outlets in the Ilet and Yushut river valleys are used for medicinal purposes at health and recreation centers and in hospitals.

    Lakes are the territory's national property. Plunge-basin, interdune, and floodplain lakes invariably attract with their summer coolness and clear fresh water. Plunge-basin lakes are mainly located on the southern and southwestern slopes of the Mariisko-Vyatsky Ridge; most of them are found in the lower course of the Ilet River, for example, Yalchik, Glukhoe, Bezdonnoe, and Kichier lakes.

    The largest group of such lakes is found on the edge of the northern scarp of the Sotnurskaya Upland, where there is a chain of 11 lakes, including 35-m-deep Morskoi Glaz lake; another 6 lakes are found at the foot of the Kerebelyakskaya Upland.

    The deepest sink lake in the Republic of Mari El is Lake Zryv, with depths of up to 56 m. Most of the plunge-basin lakes found in forests are very picturesque. Tourist facilities, sports and recreation camps, and health and vacation centers are located on their shores.

    Mari Chodra National Park on Klenovaya Gora (Maple Mountain) is an interesting natural area. The Klenovaya Gora health center is located here, as well as popular tourist spots like Green Spring (Zeleny Klyuch) and Yalchik, Mashiner, Glukhoe, and Konaner lakes. The Ilet, Yushut, and Petyalka rivers flow through the park. An ancient oak, known as the Pugachevsky oak, is preserved here. According to tradition, Emelyan Pugachev (Cossack leader of a rebellion against the authorities in 1773) and his troops camped for the night under the canopy of this oak. The oak stands out from the rest of the grove because of its size. This gigantic tree with a mighty truck 159 cm in diameter reaches into the upper layer of the canopy. The Pugachevsky oak by itself represents a precious natural monument.

    The republic has five recreational areas set aside for sports and leisure and educational tourism. There are also organized active recreational tours, for example, boat tours on the Malaya and Bolshaya Kokshaga, Bolshoi Kundysh, Ilet, Nemda, and Volga rivers; hiking and horseback riding in the southwestern, southern, and northeastern parts of the republic; and cycling and skiing throughout the territory.

    Pilgrimages to holy sites (monasteries, churches, sacred springs) and sacred groves are always popular. The national culture of Mari El is rich and varied. Cultural and economic ties have traditionally been developed with other Finno-Ugric nations. Hungary, Finland, and the Baltic countries are long-standing stable partners of the Republic of Mari El.

    The Republic of Mari El has a wealth of water resources. The Ilets, Bolshaya Kokshaga, Yushut, and Kundysh rivers are classed among the cleanest rivers in Europe, while Yalchik, Kichier, and Karas lakes are the pearls of the Mari region. Altogether, there are more than 200 large lakes in the republic. This beautiful clean region with its extensive forests and numerous lakes and rivers attracts both foreign and domestic tourists with exotic opportunities for active recreation, such as horseback riding, fishing, and hunting (bears, wolves, foxes, wild boars, moose, and wild birds). Hunting of wood and black grouse is of special interest.

    Klenovaya Gora (Maple Mountain) 

    Morskoi Glaz lake 

    Yalchik lake 

    Konaner lake 

    Glukhoe lake 

    House of merchant Naumov 

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    Transport    

    Yoshkar-Ola Airport operates in the republic.

    There is a railway terminal and a bus depot, 17 railway stations, 30 bus stations, a river port in the city of Kozmodemyansk on the Volga, five local ports, and facilities for unloading barges.

    A well-developed transportation network including all forms of transport is at the service of tourists. This network includes river transport along the Volga and Vetluga rivers with landings in the cities of Zvenigovo, Volzhsk, and Kozmodemyansk and the villages of Yurino and Kokshaisk. The Yoshkar-Ola airport is connected to airports in Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod, and Saratov. There are also railway connections to Moscow, Kazan, and Yaransk. Highways have been built to Cheboksary and Kazan.

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    Map of the Republic of Mari El

     

  • The Republic of Udmurtia

    (Удмуртская Республика, Россия)

     

    General information   

    The Udmurt Republic (Udmurtia) was formed in 1993 and covers an area of 42 100 km2. Udmurtia is located in the western part of the Central Urals between the Kama and Vyatka rivers. The main rivers are the Kama and tributaries of the Vyatka, such as the Cheptsa and Kilmez. The Votkinskoe Reservoir is another important body of water. The republic has a developed railway system (total length of 877 km) connected with the main lines of the Northern and Gorki railways. Udmurtia is divided into 25 districts and includes 5 cities, 11 urban communities, and 302 rural administrations. It has a multinational population of more than 1,507,400 people; the main nationalities are Russians (62,2%), Udmurts (28%), and Tatars (6,74%). About 70% of the population is concentrated in the cities and urban communities.

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    Republic of Udmurtia, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    Republic of Udmurtia, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    Udmurtia has a temperate continental climate with an average January temperature of around -14 °C and an average July (the warmest month) temperature of +19 °C. Average precipitation is from 400 to 600 mm. The vegetation season is about 150 days.

    Ferrous metallurgy and the forest and woodworking, chemical, glass, and light industries are generally developed in the republic. The main industrial centers are the cities of Izhevsk, Sarapul, Votkinsk, and Glazov.

    The capital of the Udmurt Republic is Izhevsk, founded in 1760 as a village for Count Petr Shuvalov's ironworks. Today, more than 654 500 people live in Izhevsk. A large number of enterprises of the metallurgy, engineering, precision instrument, and other industries are located here. The city is also an important scientific and cultural center with strong intellectual potential.

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    History   

    It is clear from Udmurtia's history that in ancient times the Udmurts lived in the territory of present-day Kirov Region and Tatarstan in order to avoid interethnic conflicts and the strong influence of Christianity, which increased after the conquest of Kazan. Improvisation played a very important role in their prayers and religious ceremonies. The Udmurts had no written language, so they could understand one another only through nonverbal means of communication. The Udmurts were known for their weaving and artistic woodworking, and they still create beautiful decorative articles today. In ancient times, these articles were used for ritual purposes and in everyday life. Russians had already settled in Udmurtia by the end of the 12th century. Many came from the Novogorod Region, which explains certain distinctive features of Russian pronunciation and folklore in the Udmurt Republic. The capture of Kazan in 1552 cleared the way for the first large Russian settlements.

    The first grammatical dictionaries, translations of the Bible, and national Udmurt literary works began to appear starting in 1740. The first national intellectuals, i.e., the clergy, also appeared during this time. The first private factory was founded in 1756 to process copper, and private ironworks appeared later. In 1780, the district centers of Glazov and Sarapul became the first communities to acquire city status. The second half of the 19th century was a period of rapid industrial and cultural development in Udmurtia. Private factories, banks, gymnasia, industrial colleges, theaters, libraries were opened. Articles produced by regional enterprises were often displayed at the largest exhibitions in Russia and abroad. In 1899, the main Perm-Kotlas railway line passed through northern Udmurtia, further advancing the republic's economic development.

    The first Regional Communist Conference, held on February 27, 1921, declared the territory an Autonomous Region. It was renamed the Udmurt Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic in 1934; then in 1990, it became known as the Udmurt Republic following a decision of the Supreme Soviet. The Udmurt Republic introduced its flag in 1993 and approved its emblem and anthem in 1994.

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    Culture and art   

    Due to the ramified network of culture and art establishments as well as the activity of creative Unions of writers, composers, architects, artists, designers, theatrical workers, professional and folk art develop steadily and remarkably in the Udmurt Republic. This refers not only to the Udmurt art but also to the art of the Russians, Tatars, Mari and other people. For many years the "Italmas" ensemble of Song and Dance has been widely famous (Artistic Director - Anatoly Mamontov). Theater of folk song "Aikai", folklore ensemble "Zangari", Russian ensemble of Song and Dance "Tanok", Tatar ensemble "Guzel" are also very popular. Musical talent of the Udmurt people gave birth to a great number of outstanding professional and amateur composers.

    Udmurt belles lettres have a two centuries tradition arisen in ecclesiastical texts. From the first classic writers Grigori Vereshagin and Kuzebai Gerd via creative works of prominent masters of "socialist realism" such as Arhipov T., Krasilnikov G., Petrov M., national literature moved to the larger freedom and sincerity (Vasiliev F., Romanov V., Perevozchikov G. ). The Russian literature is honorably presented by Boltyshev V., Kulyashov P., Poskrebyshev O. Theatrical art has no similar old traditions. However, powerful creative companies of actors and actresses formed in the Russian and Udmurt dramatic theaters in Izhevsk, Opera and Ballet Theater of the Udmurt Republic as well as theaters in Glazov and Sarapul.

    Fine arts as well as literature was developing overcoming strict academic traditions which brought up great artists-traditionalists such as Kholmogorov A., Semenov P., Yelkin P. In the 90 s the artists with more relaxed manner of painting declared themselves. Creative works of Kononov V., Orlov S., Korol M. as well as drawings of Garipov M., Safiullin A., Lubarz V. and sculpture of Anikin A., Bushkova Z., Medvedev P., attract an intent attention of the art connoisseurs . Art of industrial design and metal engraving has long traditions. There are not many achievements in modern architecture, but in former times a lot of beautiful architectural ensembles were created in various styles reflecting the designs of different historical periods.

    Nowadays in the Udmurt Republic there are 8 professional theaters, 5 state creative musical groups, the Philharmonic Society and a state circus, currently under reconstruction. Over ten (with branches) state and several dozens of public museums, telling about the history and the original culture of the country and its people are at the guests disposal. Besides republican libraries and town Houses of Culture there are centralized library systems and rural centers of leisure in each of 25 districts.

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    Transport   

    The Udmurtia Republic has all forms of transportation (railway, motorway, waterway and air) with the other regions of Russia. The Izhevsk airport is certified for the first category of ICAO. The transportation network is comprised of 878 km of rail-ways (504 km of which are electrified), 4469 km of paved roads, 178 km of inner navigable waterways. Main wharves are at Sarapul and Kambarka. Navigation is organized on the Kama river along 162 km of its length within the republic and lasts for 6.5 months a year.

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    Opportunities for tourism   

    There are many historical and cultural landmarks in Udmurtia. Its flora and fauna are also very interesting.
    People are proud of the fact that genius Russian composer P.I. Chaikovski was born in Udmurtia. The P.I.Chaikovski's House-museum - a unique memorial architectural ensemble - is in Votkinsk (40 km from Izhevsk). The Chaikovski family relics are presented there.

    The museum of Mikhail T.Kalashnikov, the general designer of the world-reknowned submachine-gun AKM, is currently being built.

    Hunting is very popular here. Hunting of wood-grouse, heath-cocks, wild ducks, wild bears and wolves is permitted.
    There are 26 hotels in Udmurtia.

    All kinds of communication are available in the republic.

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    Map of the Republic of Udmurtia

     

  • The Samara region

    (Самарская область, Россия)

     

    General information   

    It is hard to imagine a finer and more fortunate location than Samara, the administrative, industrial, and cultural center of the Middle Volga. The city stands in the center of a boundless expanse of steppe on the high left bank of the Volga River, bounded by the Zhiguli Mountains. Most of the city is situated in the area between the Volga and its left tributary, the Samara River. The elevation drop of the banks of the Volga ranges from 28 to 150-200 m. The Zhiguli Mountains near Samara formed the Samara Bend in the Volga River.

    Samara extends for 50 km lengthwise and is 20 km wide; it occupies an area of 46 597 hectares. Many air, rail, and water routes and highways pass through it, and it is conveniently connected with all the important Russian regions and other republics.

    The Volga is the most important waterway. It is a great navigable river with large fish stocks that occupies an area of 53 600 km2 and connects the Volga region with the Baltic and Black seas and the Sea of Azov.

    Samara Region borders on Saratov Region (Lower Volga) in the south, Ulyanovsk Region (Volga region) in the west, Tatarstan in the north, and Orenburg Region (Ural region) in the east. There are 11 cities in the region (10 under regional jurisdiction and 1 under district jurisdiction): Samara, Togliatti, Syzran, Novokuibyshevsk, Chapaevsk, Otradny, Zhigulevsk, Oktyabrsk, Kinel, Pokhvistnevo, and Neftegorsk. Samara and Togliatti are additionally divided into 12 city districts. There are 27 municipalities, 10 municipal districts, 9 inner-city areas, 12 rural towns, and 284 rural districts.

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    Samara region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism Samara region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     

    Samara Region has a temperate continental climate, but the summers are much warmer and the winters harsher than in western Russia. The average annual temperature is +3.8 °C, with average July (the hottest month) temperatures of +20.7 °C (but ranging from +18 °C to +25 °C) and average January (the coldest month) temperatures of -13.8 °C (-16 °C to -12 °C), although the annual variation can be from -35 °C in winter to +33 °C in summer.

    The Volga Uplands extend along the right bank of the Volga, reaching elevations of 375 m in the Zhiguli Mountains, while the left bank of the river is low and flat. The Zhiguli Mountains in the northern part of the Samara Bend are one of the most beautiful places in the entire East European Plain. The mountainous terrain of cliffs, crags, and deep valleys give the Zhiguli range both esthetic and scientific value.

    The entire region is located on the Russian Plain, at the meeting place of three native zones: forest, steppe, and forest steppe (a transitional zone between the forest and steppe zones). This geographical location makes for varied natural landscapes, from taiga forests and ancient peat bogs to endless steppes and countless lakes and other water bodies. However, the greater part of these landscapes has been destroyed by human economic activity; surviving natural areas have been designated as natural monuments. Samara Bend National Park was established at the Samara Bend in 1984.

    The Volga River valley has its own wonderful world of nature, with a multitude of islands covered with reeds, poplars, and willows and cut by channels and countless small lakes. There are deciduous forests with steppe areas in the northern part and pine forests on sandy river terraces. Steppes with dark chestnut soils extend through the southern part of the region. The soil cover in Samara Region is characterized by general east-west zoning and typical black earth (chernozem) soils.

    The formation of reservoirs in Samara Region has made it possible to expand irrigation farming, increase the amount of arable land, and increase animal production, as well as locate flour-milling companies in Samara. The hot summer months provide enough warmth and light for growing and ripening various crops. Corn, sugar beets, grapes, and melons are grown in the region's southern districts. Samara Region is also a supplier of wool, meat, and valuable sturgeon.

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    History   

    According to archeologists, human settlements first appeared in the Middle Volga region in the Upper Paleolithic period. Isolated nomadic Scythian and Cimmerian (or Samarian) tribes roamed through what is now Samara Region. These lands repeatedly changed hands. In the 7th century, they were part of the Khazar Kaganat. Then in the 10th century, the army of Prince Svyatoslav liberated the people of the Volga from Khazar rule. In the 13th century, these lands came under the rule of the Golden Horde, where they remained until the mid-16th century, when Russia regained the territory of the Middle Volga.

    Samara Bend was in an economically and strategically advantageous location, which was of great interest to the Muscovite rulers. Thus, in 1586, by decree of Tsar Fedor Ioannovich, Samara Fortress was founded near the mouth of the Samara River as a base for defending the Russian state against nomad raids.

    This favorable geographical location played an enormous role in the city's formation. Fertile soils, superb pasture lands, a bountiful fishery, and a bustling intersection of trade routes brought an influx of people, which accelerated the colonization of these lands. Samara became a city in 1688. From 1708 to 1773, it was part of Kazan Province, and then became part of Astrakhan Province.

    In 1850, Samara Province was formed as an independent administrative unit. It was famous throughout Russia as a major grain trading and agricultural center. At that time, a governor ruled Samara and the city had its own coat of arms. A large number of public administration offices helped to govern the city. Samara was a real cultural center of that time; new schools, gymnasia, and private educational institutions were built and museums and theaters were opened.

    The spiritual life of Samara Province was quite rich by provincial standards, with nearly 1000 churches, 20 monasteries, a Catholic church, St. George's Lutheran Church, a synagogue, and 2 mosques. Several newspapers were published in the city (10 before 1917).

    Samara was an important merchant city and trading center, where banks and an exchange operated. The first public city bank began operating in 1852. The city also kept pace with the development of the health resort business. Famous resorts and centers specializing in kumiss (fermented mare's milk) and mud therapy were located in Samara.

    Strukovsky Garden, founded in 1849, was considered to be the largest and most famous city park in the Volga region. The beautiful city also played a considerable role in the development of the entire country. Great national and foreign cultural figures lived and worked here, including writers Alexei Tolstoy, Vladimir Korolenko, N.M. Garin-Mikhailovsky, Maxim Gorki, and Yaroslav Gashek, artist Ilya Repin, and Lenin. French writer Alexandre Dumas even described Samara in his book From Paris to Astrakhan after a trip along the Volga by steamer.

    Samara was not left out of the dramatic events of the first half of the 20th century. The First World War and the Civil War left a deep imprint in the territory's history; many historical monuments were destroyed. In 1935, the city and region were renamed Kuibyshev after the famous revolutionary who proclaimed Soviet power in Samara. The region has existed within its present boundaries since December 1936.

    During the Second World War, Samara became one of Russia's largest industrial centers after a number of engineering and aircraft plants were evacuated here from the west. The main government offices and foreign embassies also moved to Kuibyshev in late 1941, so that the city was rightly known as the capital of the home front.

    In the postwar years, the region continued to increase its economic potential by expanding the engineering, hydroelectric power, and car manufacturing industries. The Lenin Hydroelectric Power Plant (GES im. Lenina) was built in 1957 to meet the region's rapidly increasing demands, resulting in flooding of a large area. Samara is also known as the city where the first R-7 carrier rocket was built. This was the rocket that in 1961 sent the first Vostok spacecraft into orbit with the world's first cosmonaut, Yuri Gagarin, on board.

    In 1990, the city and region regained their historic names of Samara and Samara Region.

    Today, Samara Region is one of Russia's pillars of industrial power along with Moscow, St. Petersburg, and the Urals.

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    Culture and art  

    The city of Samara is a striking combination of historical monuments, modern residential buildings, and massive industrial structures. It is also a city of high culture, education, and research centers.

    Even in the 19th century, Samara Region had a very interesting cultural life and rich and varied theatrical traditions. The city's oldest theaters have memories of performances by celebrated artists, such as Fedor Chaliapin, Ivan Kozlovsky, R. Glier, David Oistrakh, L. Utesov, L. Sobinov, and many others. The famous Russian actors Pelageya Strepetova, Modest Pisarev, and Aleksandr Lensky also worked here.

    Samara Region has considerable cultural potential, with 4 theaters, 12 museums and their branches, a philharmonic, a state symphony orchestra, and one of the finest art galleries in the Volga region. The museum of local history has a superb collection of more than 114 000 exhibits. The Lenin Science Library has unique book stocks; there is also a library for the blind. The 842 state and municipal libraries provide library services for regional residents. The Novokuibyshevsk and Chapaevsk central library systems, the Samara branch of the children's library, and the regional children's library were the winners at the All-Russian library project competition "The Library on the Threshold of the 21st Century" organized by the Open Society Institute.

    Residents of other cities besides Samara have a full and interesting cultural life. Togliatti has three professional theaters, a philharmonic, and a museum; and Syzran also has its own theater and museum.

    Theater studios for youth and musical arts groups operate in addition to the professional theaters. Many creative events, including international events, are held with the participation of professional unions of architects, designers, writers, composers, artists, theater workers, and journalists. The Dmitry Kabalevsky competition for young Volga pianists, jazz festivals, the "Sounds of the Volga" festival, and the All-Russian competition for solo folk dance performers and choreographers are held in Samara. The State Volga Russian Folk Choir and the Valery Grushin memorial festival of amateur traveller's songs are known far beyond Russia.

    The people of the Volga have tradition of forming cultural and business ties with foreign twin cities, for example, Samara and Stuttgart (Germany), St. Louis (USA), and Stara Zagora (Bulgaria); Togliatti and Flint (USA), Wolfsburg (Germany), Valence (France), and Kazanlyk (Bulgaria).

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    Tourism   

    The beneficial geographical position of Samara Region makes it possible to attract tourists from other Regions of Russia and from abroad, to develop therapeutic, entertaining and active tourism. Several big rivers of the region (the Volga, the Samara and the Sok) give wide opportunities to develop cruise tourism. High-tech industries of the region attract specialists, which is important for business tourism. The culture and history of the region, where people of more than 40 nationalities live, help develop educational tourism.
    The banks of the Volga have long been known as a prestigious resort. In the XIX and at the beginning of the XX century the famous painter Vassili Sourikov and the great singer Fyodor Shalyapin spent their holidays there. The Zhiguli Hills, green woods, sandy river islands and calm creeks give a continuous change of the landscape. There are modern sanatoriums, rest homes and tourist centers in the pine-woods, on the banks of the Volga and in the Zhiguli area. There is also one of the best health resorts of Russia "Utyos", the President's summer residence. A large number of tourists are attracted by the Kamennaya Tchasha and its holy water spring in Samarskaya Luka, the Strelnaya mountain, from which a wonderful view opens on Samara and Togliatti, excellent mountain-skiing routes in Krassnaya Glinka and rich hunting grounds.
    It is not only the unique nature that attracts tourists to Samara Region but also its sights and the old cultural traditions. The historical centers of Samara and Syzran still have some fine specimen of classical, gothic and modern styles of architecture. There are 8 public museums in Samara, among which are the Local Lore museum with its unique archeological and numismatic collections, the Museum of Fine Arts with a collection of icons and pictures of Russian avant-garde, memorial museums of Alexei Tolstoi and Ilya Repin.
    The combination of picturesque landscape, pleasant climate and rich historical and cultural heritage of the region provides favorable conditions for the development of tourist business. But this potential of the region has not been explored yet.
    Travel agencies today are mainly orientated to foreign tourism, which gives high profits. The regional demand for tourist services is not met at the present level of regional tourist infrastructure, 60% of which needs modernization, and quality of professional services.
    To solve all these problems it is planned to work out a regional program "The Development of Tourism in Samara Region", which is to provide conditions for bigger investments in this sector and to make tourism one of the leading branches in the regional economy. The program has been developed since 2001 by a task team organized by the Samara Oblast Administration Department of Trade and Industry.

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  • The Ulyanovsk region

    (Ульяновская область, Россия) 

     

    General information   

    Most people know Ulyanovsk only as Lenin's birthplace, but this city was once called Simbirsk. Simbirsk was founded in 1648 as a base station on the Simbirsk-Karsun frontier defense line. It became a district center of Kazan Province in 1708, then the capital of the Simbirsk governorship on August 15, 1780, and finally, the capital of Simbirsk Province on December 12, 1796. The city was renamed Ulyanovsk in 1924 and became the capital of Ulyanovsk Region on January 19, 1943. Ulyanovsk is Russia's seventeenth-largest city. It has an area of 263.8 km2 and is made up of 4 urban administrative districts, 7 rural councils, and 22 communities.
    Ulyanovsk Region is a multinational territory, where people of more than 80 nationalities have lived and worked peacefully side by side since the early days. Russians, Tatars, Chuvashes, and Mordvins are the predominant nationalities.

    The region is located in the central part of European Russia in the heart of the Middle Volga on both sides of the Volga River. It has an area of 37 300 km2 and is divided into 21 municipal districts, 3 municipalities, 31 rural towns, and 112 rural districts.

    It is located mainly on the Volga Uplands and has borders with the Republic of Mordovia, the Chuvash Republic, the Republic of Tatarstan, and Penza, Saratov, and Samara regions.

     

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    Ulyanovsk region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism Ulyanovsk region, Tatarstan, Russia, tourism, travel, cities, districts, sightseeing, tourist, visitor, tourist attractions, places to visit, monuments, local culture, cultural tourism, local tourism

     


    Ulyanovsk Region is connected to all parts of Russia by air, rail, water, and road transport. There are 729 km of railway lines and 7840 km of roads, but water transport predominates. The river ports of Ulyanovsk and Sengilei, outfitted with new modern equipment, are the region's largest ports. The Volga flows for 200 km through the region, giving access to five seas. International air routes connecting the Volga area with Europe, Central Asia, the Middle East, and China also pass through the region. There are two large modern airports capable of handling all types of aircraft. Volga-Dnepr operates the world's heaviest airplane, the AN-124 Ruslan, and is the world's largest cargo airline. A modern telecommunications network ensures reliable connections with all countries of the world.

    Nature is rich and beautiful, with a variety of landscapes, from fields and mountains, hills and valleys, to mixed forests, rivers, and lakes. The region is famous for the Undory resort, the ancient Beloe Lake, Yulovsky Pond, and the Sura River.

    Ulyanovsk has a relatively well-developed raw mineral resource base. Oilfields have been discovered here, and there are large reserves of cement-making materials, building, glassmaking, and foundry sand, clay aggregate, diatomite, brick-making materials, oil shale, and peat. There are also underground reserves of medicinal and mineral waters.

    However, the ecological situation is a cause for alarm. The concentration of heavy metal salts in urban soils is 2 to 4 times above the permissible level. Air measurements have shown that pollution exceeds the maximum allowable concentration, and water analysis has shown a failure to meet bacteriological and chemical standards. The demographic situation is much the same as in most Russian regions, with a falling birthrate and increasing death rate.

    Industry plays a leading role in the regional economy, with engineering (aircraft manufacturing, instrument making, machine tool manufacture, and car manufacturing) being the core industry. The textile, light, and food industries are also well developed, and companies in the construction, woodworking, and forest industries operate here as well. Altogether, there are 200 large industrial companies employing nearly 174 000 people. A nuclear reactor research institute operates in the region.

    Worth mentioning the Ulyanovsk Automobile Plant (UAZ), one of the country's leading car manufacturers, and Aviastar, the world's largest aircraft manufacturing complex. UAZ specializes in the production of the famous UAZ all-terrain vehicles.

    Companies in the region have extensive foreign economic ties and maintain trade relations with 69 countries and 53 Russian regions. Over 50 companies with foreign investment, most of them in Ulyanovsk, currently operate in the region. The region also provides air and road transportation services for foreign partners, as well as international tourist services. Economic and cultural ties are being reestablished with the CIS countries.

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    History   

    In 1648, Tsar Aleksei Mikhailovich sent boyar Bogdan Matveevich Khitrovo to the downstream cities with orders to defend the Russian borders against the Nogai Tatars and build new cities and frontier fortresses from the Barysh River to the Volga River. Sinbirsk (later changed to Simbirsk) was one of the cities built at the tsar's command. Like many other Volga cities, it was founded on a steep bluff of the Volga named the Crown (Venets) more than 120 m high.

    Russian settlement of the Volga region had begun long ago, but construction of the new cities intensified it by providing an incentive to open up new lands. Chuvashes, Mordvins, Tatars, and other peoples were living in Sinbirsk territory before the Russians came. However, the defeat of the Kazan and Astrankhan Tatar khanates consolidated Russian rule along the entire Volga, and its banks were quickly settled. The settlers' position was neither peaceful nor safe. Bashkirs, Kirghizs, and Nogai and Crimean Tatars made frequent devastating raids, took the residents captive, and plundered their property. During that time, small fortress cities joined by a fortification line were built into order to defend the borders. The line consisted of a ditch and rampart, with high wooden watchtowers located on it between the cities to warn of approaching enemies. These cities and their connecting lines were known as "frontier lines".

    The city kept the name Sinbirsk until the end of the 18th century. According to one version, it was named after the Bulgarian prince Sinbir, who founded the town of Sinbirsk on the Volga below present-day Ulyanovsk. The letter "m" in the name appeared later in order to make it sound better in Russian (similar to the way the pronunciation of other words like "simfoniya", "simpatiya", "simbioz", etc. changed in Russian).

    In 1670, Stepan (Stenka) Razin's (Razin was the Cossack leader of a peasant revolt) troops besieged Simbirsk but failed to capture it, because the fortress was impregnable.

    From 1773 to 1774, Emelyan Pugachev (another Cossack rebel leader) was held in custody in Simbirsk fortress.

    In 1708, Simbirsk was added to Kazan Province, then to Astrakhan Province in 1717, and again to Kazan Province in 1728.

    In 1780, the city became the capital of the Simbirsk governorship.

    In 1796, it became the capital of Simbirsk Province. The first public theater opened in Simbirsk in 1790, and a theater building was constructed in 1840.

    In 1860, impresario A.A. Rasskazov formed a theater company in Simbirsk, in which the famous actors V.N. Andreev-Burlak and P.A. Strepetova performed.

    In 1898, the city was connected by rail with Inza, and a few years later, with Bugulma.

    In the 19th century, Simbirsk became a trading center for grain, fish, cattle, and timber. By the end of the century, the city had 42 factories (the most important being distilleries, a brewery, a candle factory, and flour mills), 733 stores, and 526 small businesses (mainly shoemaking, tailoring, and baking). A trade fair dealing mainly in horses was held annually. There were 29 Orthodox churches, 2 monasteries, Lutheran and Catholic churches, a mosque, and a synagogue. Men's and women's gymnasia, a military school, a seminary, and other educational institutions opened, and many charitable societies and institutions operated in the city. Water pipes and telephone lines were installed.

    In 1924, the city was renamed Ulyanovsk. It became part of Middle Volga Region (which later became a territory) in 1928, and then part of Kuibyshev Region in 1936.

    During the Second World War (1941-1945), a number of factories were evacuated to Ulyanovsk.

    In 1943, Ulyanovsk became the capital of the newly formed Ulyanovsk Region.

    Simbirsk was the birthplace of Vladimir Ilich Ulyanov (Lenin), poet NIkolai Yazykov, and writers Dmitry Grigorovich and Ivan Goncharov (Goncharov wrote many chapters of his novel The Precipice in the village of Vinovka, now part of the city; in 1912, a monument in the writer's honor, "Goncharov's Pavilion", was built on a bluff of the Volga River). The writer and historian Nikolai Karamzin was born in Simbirsk Province.

    The radial and rectangular system of streets in modern-day Ulyanovsk has preserved the basic elements of the regular city development plan worked out in 1780 and refined in 1843, 1866, and 1867. In the city center, on the site of the former Kremlin on a high bank of the Volga, is a rectangular area (formerly Cathedral Square) that opens onto Novy Venets Boulevard and the far shore of the Volga and is surrounded by buildings in the classicist style, including a former men's gymnasium (1786), the Offices (1708), the Noble Assembly (1838-1847), and the monument to Karamzin (1845). A boarding house for a men's classical gymnasium (1947), a military gymnasium (1847), the Yazykovs' house (early 20th century), and other old buildings are also located in the city center.

    In the 20th century, the city was built up according to master plans of 1946 and 1965. New residential districts (including districts on the far side of the Volga and Sviyaga rivers) and parks were created, and public buildings, including a river station (1965) and a railway station (1970), were constructed. The central part of Ulyanovsk was reconstructed between 1960 and 1970. A Lenin memorial area was established, which included elements of old Simbirsk and a Lenin memorial center.

    The modern city of Ulyanovsk is located on the Volga Uplands on the banks of the Middle Volga (Kuibyshev Reservoir) and Sviyaga rivers. The finest and most important part of the city is located on the hilly right bank of the Volga at the foot of Simbirsk Hill. The gardens covering the gentle slopes and hills brighten this part of the city in summer and separate it from the main city buildings located on Simbirsk HIll.

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  • Yalchik lake

    Location: the republic of Mari El, Volzhskyi district, 30 km from Volzhsk

    Yalchik lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Yalchik lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev

    Clouds above the lake
    Photo: Andrey Roshektaev