Samara is a city on the bank of the Volga River in Russia. The city has its own history and charm. And also Samara is one of the 12 cities in Russia, which host the FIFA World Cup 2018. You should spend several hours to see Samara and its attractions and it does not matter whether you came to Samara on a stopover, came ashore from a cruise ship for a couple of hours or came to visit someone or on business. Our article will help you to find your way around and see the most within minimal period of time.
A walk around Samara, as any other walk, should be scheduled on a warm summer day off. Our rout goes through Samara embankment which is especially full of strollers at the weekends. Kids’ laughter, cyclers and rollers, trolleys of ice-cream and boiled corn all together create a real atmosphere of a holiday.
But let’s begin in the right order. Our rout begins in the “old center” of Samara. This is the center due to the reason that Samara began to develop here. That is why the streets are narrow, quarters are small and houses are mainly one-storied in this part of the city. If you do not know the city well enough you can print the rout map for the walk. The whole walk will take us about 4-5 hours and we will cover a bit more than 8 km (5 miles). We will move downhill so it won’t be hard.
We begin our walk in the Kuibyshev Square. WikiRoutes is usually of great help when you travel along Samara or any other city in Russia. The Kuibyshev Square is named in honor of a people’s commissar of USSR workers’-peasants’ expectorate. He died in 1935 and in the period from 1935 to 1991 Samara had the name of Kuibyshev and the region of the city was called Kuibyshevsky Region. There is still a small town Novokuibyshevsk nearby Samara. Kuibyshev himself is buried at the necropolis by the Kremlin wall. There is a monument to the person in the Kuibyshev Square. The monument faces the east and has a massive building behind its back. This outstanding example of the soviet architecture is Samara Academic Opera and Ballet Theatre. It appeared here shortly before the city’s renaming in 1931. This is the square where the Victory Parade takes place annually. It is also a beloved meeting place. For examples, cyclists who open a new bicycle season every year begin their rout here.
There are cozy parks with benches on both sides of the square.
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We walked through the square and crossed the road to get to Officers’ Club where celebrities from the capital give their concerts. There is also Samara Drama Theatre a bit lower. But we approached it later from the other side.
We walked one quarter and found ourselves by Kurlina House Museum. One can also see a Roman Catholic Church through its fence.
Alexandra Kurlina was a woman merchant in Samara. Her family was famous for their charities and patronship. Kurlina managed the business herself in 1908. It was due to her husband’s illness. Besides she took care of her ill husband Alexander who died in 1914. Alexandra herself left Samara for Moscow in 1918. She lived there in an ordinary shared apartment till the end of her life and never got back to her mother town. The only memory of Kurlina that remained is a crystal family press. Being at deaths door Kurlina gave it to her neighbor. The press is displayed in the museum alongside with other objects. The museum is open to everyone for a modest pay of 80 rubles.
There is Sacred Heart of Jesus Roman Catholic Church next to the renovated Kurlina House. Installation of the church began in 1902 and lasted 4 years. A local Polish Community organized the installation. That is the reason why the church is widely known as Polish Church.
We went further along Frunze Street and found ourselves by Aleksey Tolstoy House Museum. The writer created such famous books as “The Garin Death Ray” (also known as “The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin”), “Aelita”, “The Golden Key, or the Adventures of Buratino”. There is a bronze memorial to Buratino nearby the museum.
Then we passed an Orthodox Church, two more buildings and came to Samara State Philharmonic. Musicians and orchestras perform here regularly.
Looking into small patios in Samara is a special pleasure. Each one in the old city has its own history. And this history did not just passed by, somebody lived and felt it.
Two more quarters (remember that quarters are very small in the old city) and we came to the main pedestrian street in Samara – Leningradskaya Street. There used to be a huge market here where they sold everything or almost everything. There is no sign of it here now. The street has acquired paving flag, fountains, benches and green areas. Locals call the street Leningradka. It is pleasant to walk here and, in case if you are hungry, there are plenty of cafes here to suit any taste.
We crossed Kuibysheva Street and went along Leningradskaya Street down to the Volga River. By the way it is also pleasant to walk along Kuibysheva Street. If you turn left here you will get to the Revolution Square with a monument to Lenin in the middle. And if you turn right, you will get to Strukovsky Garden and the Drama Theatre. But we will reach the garden and the theatre anyway moving along the embankment. So, we went down to the embankment and found ourselves by a fountain. It is almost the very beginning of the embankment. There is a river-boat station in 200 meters (0.12 miles) to the left from here.
There is also a sculpture “Barge Haulers on the Volga” by Russian artist Repin near the fountain. Repin got his inspiration from the Great Russian River. He painted a lot of sketches on this topic. He even lived in Shiryaevo village during one of his trips. That house is now turned into the Museum of Ilya Repin.
It is pleasant to walk along the renovated Samara embankment. Hard to believe, but locals call the place the “old embankment”.
A barge with tons of sand was debarked while we were walking by. It meant that Samara embankment was getting ready for the beach season.
Here is another monument. This one is to comrade Sukhov from a famous Russian film “The White Sun of the Desert”. Feodor Sukhov (as well as the script-writer of the film – Valentin Ezhov) was born in a small village nearby Samara.
The embankment in Samara is quite long. It is about 5 km (3 miles) long. And it is very pleasant to walk here on a fine and sunny day off.
But the embankment comes to its end soon, at least its “old part”. Zhigulevsky Brewing Factory stops our way. We were going to pass by it later and then it was high time to go up to Strukovsky Garden. The garden had the name Gorky Park during the soviet period, but the initial name of its founder was returned later. It was colonel and state counselor Gregory Strukov who founded the garden.
Strukovsky Garden, as well as the embankment, is a stamping ground for wedding photo shoots.
Out of Strukovsky Garden and we found ourselves in front of Samara Academic Drama Theatre named in honor of Gorky. There is a memorial to Vasily Chapaev in front of the theatre. We went up to Frunze Street and the corner where there was the entrance to Stalin’s Bunker. The bunker is opened for excursions now.
There is a cozy park behind the theatre. It has the name of Great Russian poet Pushkin and surely has a portrait sculpture of the poet.
Here is a lookout with a wonderful view to Zhigulevsky Brewing Factory and Iversky Women’s Convent. By the way, Kurlina’s husband (we visited her house in the beginning of our walk) is buried here at the cemetery.
We went down from Pushkin Garden to the Brewing Factory and walked along its buildings to the “new embankment”. On our way we saw a portrait sculpture of an Austria citizen Alfred von Vacano who founded the factory.
We came to Ulyanovsky slope. Here is a pier where ferries to Rozhdestveno village start. Cyclists often go there to ride around the national park Samarskaya Luka. They also sell tap beer here, right from the Brewing Factory. Beer always comes with fish in Russia. This stamping ground in Samara was called “Dno” (bottom). Today here is a bar “Na Dne” (“At the Bottom”).
The territory of Samara Hydroelectric Power Station begins right after the Ulyanovsky slope. This power station provides the heat for the whole “old city”. A memorial to the first heater is at the central entrance to the power station. It is a sculpture of a cat lying on a windowsill over a heater.
Then we went to the “new embankment” along the pink fence of the power station.
Soon we came to Sporting Center of Air Forces. The “new embankment” begins right after it. But we walked along it later. First we crossed the road and went up to the city’s main monument – the Monument of Glory. The Monument of Glory was installed in 1971 to commemorate the great achievements of Samara workers in aircraft industry. It is in the Glory Square next to the building of Samara Region Government and high relief of “Mourning Mother Motherland” with eternal flame.
This is Saint George the Victorious Church. A sculpture of Saint Prince Peter and Princess Fevroniya the Muromskie is next to the church.
Samara circus named in honor of Oleg Popov is very close, a bit behind the church.
Then we returned back to the embankment.
We had already covered more than a half of our walk around Samara. We only had to go along the “new embankment”. This part of the embankment is especially crowded. That is why it is the place where the first bikeway in Samara was laid. Now these are not only cyclist, but rollers as well who ride here with great pleasure. Generally people ride many different things in the embankment, including kick scooters.
The Volga is a navigable river. That is why numerous ferries and ships cruise here all the time.
This part of the embankment was also renovated quite recently. Now it is stuffed with the required number of sculptures and memorials. Here is a lovers’ bench, for example.
We chose the first Saturday in June for our walk around Samara. That is why wedding processions accompanied us through the entire walk.
The smell of boiled corn will not allow anyone to stay indifferent.
The square at Polevoy slope is decorated with monument to Prince Gregory Zasekin. He was the first war boss of fortress-cities on the Volga: Samara, Saratov and Tsaritsyn.
We walked through a narrow passage to the fourth part of Samara embankment. It is its latest part with Ladya Stella. It took its place in 1986 in honor of Samara 400th anniversary.
This is the final point of our walk around Samara. We passed 8 km (5 miles). It might look a not very big distance, but it is still better to put on trainers for such a walk. We spent 5 hours on this rout: started at 1 p.m. and finished at 6 p.m. We were too tired to wait for the sunset though we strongly advise you to calculate both time and strength so that you have some for the sunset. There are many other attractions in Samara. The Zhigulevskie Mountains in Samarskaya Luka deserve a special notice here. But if you only have 5 hours to see Samara, it is better to walk around it. The historic center of the city and the embankment are the best choice in the wonderful city.