Samara is one of Russia’s forgotten gems – often overlooked by westerners. Located on the Volga River, it has been a critical trade route and strategic location throughout history and played a crucial role in modern Russia. It was the home of famous Russian figures such as the writers Maxim Gorky, Alexey Tolstoy and revolutionary leader Vladimir Lenin.
During World War II many factories and industries were evacuated to Samara, which served as the second capital to the besieged Soviet Union. Consequently, Samara became a center for industry and culture and many designs for late model World War II Soviet aircraft were developed here. The city also played a vital role in the development of the Soviet Union’s space rocket research program. Samara’s aerospace industry is one of the most advanced in the world!
During much of the Cold War, Samara was a closed city, isolated from Western influence and it offers a different insight into Russian culture and society. It also became the refuge for Guy Burgess and Donald Maclean, who were part of the infamous “Cambridge Five” spy ring that provided information to the Soviet government during WWII.
Today, Samara is a modern and developed Russian city. Museums, classical music, modern art and restaurants offer the tourist a startling array of culture, history and experience, while the night life is dynamic and active playing music from classic rock to contemporary pop, performed by live musicians in western and Russian styles. The most notable speciality in Samara is undoubtedly the famous Zhigulevskoye beer that was originally produced right here by the eponymous brewery founded in 1881. You’ll want to try it because it can get pretty hot here in the summer!