General informationThe Chuvash Republic is located in the centre of the European part of Russia. The area is about 18.3 thousand km². The population is 1,223,400 people, about 40% of them are living in rural areas. The density of the 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 the city of Cheboksary with a population of approximately 500 thousand people. Chuvashia is surrounded by the industrially developed centres of Russia: on the west, it borders 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 the Mordvinian Republic and the Ulyanovsk Region. The distance from Cheboksary to Moscow is approximately 650 km.
Coat of arms
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 with the Sura and the Volga area. The forests of Chuvashia consist of oak groves, mixed forests, and coniferous forests. The climate of the republic is moderate-continental, and the averages temperature is +20°C (68F) in summer and -12° (10F) in winter.
By the ancestors, Chuvash people are semi-nomadic tribes of ancient Bulgars and Suvar, which lived in the 5th-8th centuries in the northern Caucasus. In the 7th-8th centuries one part of the Bulgars left the Balkans and was dissolved among the Slavs, another part migrated to the middle part of the Volga Region and had composed the ethnic basis of Chuvash and Kazan Tatars. The formation of the Chuvash 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 the 15th-16th centuries. In 1551 the Chuvashs became part of Russia. The Chuvash language relates to the Bulgar subgroup of the Turkish group of the 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 Orthodox Christianity. Now the Chuvash Republic is the sovereign republic of the Russian Federation. In 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 into the Chuvash ASSR, and in 1992 – in the Chuvash Republic as a part of the Russian Federation.
The tourist 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 tourist attractions see in Appendix 8).
The monuments of Orthodox Christianity include monasteries and churches throughout the republic. Other monuments represent the 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 the museum arranges thematic workshops, musical evenings and many different exhibitions.
The most important museums are the Chuvash National museums and the Chuvash State art museum. There is also the museum of V.Chapaev, the national hero, the museum of beer, the museum of Natural Production which offers expositions about the traditional countryside life of the area, and the Volga islands where the unique Neolithic sites are located.
- visiting the open-air filial of the Chuvash National museum;
- visiting handicrafts manufacturers 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 the process of the traditional brewery and local beer-tasting;
- recreational and sports routes around national parks “Chuvash Varmane” and “Zavolzh’e”;
- excursions along the Volga and Sura.
Because of the destruction of the main historical and cultural attraction of the republic during the Cheboksary hydroelectric station in the 70s, the republican authorities decided to develop another potential of Chuvashia – recreation. The republic is situated in a part of a geographical area – Zavolzh’e – on 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 round it is the best place for hunting and fishing, or just walking. In summer the area attracts by many beaches and a 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 influences the profile of the main flow of visitors to the republic – people who are coming because of health or recreational purposes.
The republic does not have a big amount of accommodation, but existing hotels (in 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, bars, hairdresser/barbershop, 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 systems. 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 needed total reconstruction and, subsequently, investments.
Travelling by air
The republic has an airport in Cheboksary. Since 1995 the international sector is functioning.
Travelling by train
Chuvashia has railway connections with west and east parts of Russia, Siberia, southern Russia, and Europe. There are every day 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, and 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 to 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 with the Volga, Caspian, Azov and Black seas, the west and north regions of Russia. The biggest port of the republic is “Cheboksarskyi” in the capital.
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 a high standard: it includes travel and tour operations, interpreter and guide services, a 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, manufacturers and tourist sites. There are developed facilities for financial operations: foreign exchange offices, banks both state and private proceed operations with bank cards 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 specialisations with modern medical equipment. The emergency telephone access to medical service is “03”. Public safety is run by the state service “milicia”(police), and the emergency telephone access is “02”. Fire protection is a concern of the special department, the emergency telephone access is “01”.
There does not exist a so-called tourist and travel information offices network, but their functions are 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 cooperation 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’s repressive politics.
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, telefax (run by the municipal authorities), radio, telecommunications, and telephone (run by the state or private companies). There are 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. The cell telephone system is developing rapidly, and there are republican and Russian companies in 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 a DHL office in Cheboksary.