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Samara

Federal District: Volga
Founded: 1586
Population: 1 170 910 (2016 Census)
Area: 382 km2
Federal City Day: 2nd Sunday of September

Samara is located on the east bank of the Volga River and was officially ‘born’ in 1586 when a fortress was built on the site due to its great vantage point along the river. Legend has it that Alexius, Metropolitan of Moscow and later Patron Saint of Samara visited the site of the city in 1357 and predicted that a great town would be erected there and that the town would never be ravaged. It became a popular port and developed into an important trade route with the East. Probably due its economic and industrial stability Stalin chose Samara as the capital of the Soviet Union if Moscow was to fall during WWII. Many government ministries and government workers were evacuated to the city at the beginning of the war. Evidence of this decision can be visited by seeing the bunker that Stalin had built under the Academy of Art and Culture, which is untouched as it was never used. Samara was an integral part of Russia’s innovative space program and there is a Cosmic Museum and a rocket monument to celebrate this feat. Also not to be missed is the railway station which was opened in 2001. It is the tallest railway station in Europe-at 85m high there is a view point from a balcony on the dome.

Arriving in Samara couldn’t be easier. There are international and internal flights daily, and trains run from Moscow. However, the most popular way to get to Samara is along the Volga River. The embankment is the longest in Europe with more than 7km of beaches, green parks and open-air cafés which are popular amongst the locals.

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