The Samara Region is a part of the Volga Federal District. Its area is 53,600 sq. km, which amounts to 0.31% of the territory of Russia; its population is 3.171 million, 80% of which are urban inhabitants. A portion of the territory of the region has the status of a near-border territory owing to its proximity to Kazakhstan. The region has a large Tatar community; mosques and madrassas are functioning, newspapers are issued and radio broadcasting is effected in the Tatar language. Other nationalities are also represented, such as the Bashkir and the Chuvash.
The administrative centre of the region is the city of Samara, situated 857 km away from Moscow in the Moscow +1 time zone.
A lot of natural monuments exist in the territory of the Samara Region, such as the Racheyskaya Taiga, the Mochalevskie Oak-Woods, the Irgiz Floodland and others.
The Zhiguli Mountains are one of the main natural sights of the Samara Region. They are the only mountains of tectonic origin in the Russian Plain. They are relatively low (their elevation above sea level is less than 400 meters), composed of sedimentary rocks, with a major portion thereof covered with broad-leaved forests. Many tourist routes are laid over the mountains, both for nature lovers and for those who are fond of mysteries and treasure hunting. Such a mystery is kept by one of the Zhiguli Mountains, Osh-Pando-Ner’. The tradition has it that countless treasures are kept there, obtained by bogatyrs (Russian heroes) in old times. The legend is easy to believe as the remains of defenses, gates, and roads have survived in the mountains, archeologists find household items, and geologists confirm existence of large cavities under the mountain. However, the treasures have not displayed themselves to anybody so far.
One of the routes will attract those fond of esoterics as it runs over the places to which mystical strength is attributed. That is the route from the Volzhskiy cliff to the Shaman glade via the Svetelka Mountain and the Dragon Ridge. It is believed that any wish may be made on the Svetelka Mountain, and it will certainly come true; it also believed that passing that route improves your health and enriches your inner world.
Those who prefer to improve their health by more traditional methods are awaited on the Lyzhnya Politechnikov (Polytechnic Students’ Ski-Track) (its length is 50 km one way) or on a long route round the Zhiguli.
Another option is visiting the Sergievskie Mineral Waters resort. It is opened on the basis of Lake Sernoye (Sulphic) springs; the lake feeds four springs with sulphur sulphate hydrocarbonate calcium-and-magnesium water. At the health resort, disorders of blood circulatory system, nervous system, vascular system, skin diseases and gynecological disorders are treated. The Lesnoye (Forest) health resort in Togliatti is also well-known; it is one of the oldest Russia’s health resort, where treatment is carried out using kumiss (mare’s milk).
Tenches, pikes, roaches, perches, carps, and other fish of water storage reservoirs, rivers and lakes of the Samara region are waiting for fishing lovers. The best time for fishing is from April to September.
A lot of points of interest are there in Samara. Many architectural monuments dated the 19th century have survived in the centre of the city. Kuibyshev Square, the main square of Samara, is deemed to be the largest in Europe. Not far from the square, the museum is situated, opened in the Stalin’s bunker built in 1942, and the military history museum, where many documents and other evidence are kept.
A Roman Catholic Church of Sacred Heart of Jesus, built in 1906, is functioning in Samara.
The second-largest city of the Samara region is Togliatti, named after an Italian communist Palmiro Togliatti. Technique lovers should in any event visit the AvtoVAZ plant museum, where all of the plants’ products are represented, from sewing machines to rockets and submarines.
Not far from Togliatti, the Samarskaya Luka (Bend) state natural national park, 134 thousand hectares in the area, is situated. Very rare species and endemics have survived in the park, pre-glacial plants and ancient people’s sites. The house museum of the painter I.E. Repin and the ethnographic museum in the Bolshaya Ryazan village are located in the territory of the national park.
Each summer, the Zakharovskiy tourist rally is held in that national park in the Zhiguly Mountains in memory of the tourists having saved drowning people. Traditionally, a guitar poetry contest, football, volleyball, and orienteering competitions, sailing and rowing regattas are held at the rally. As the rally is held in the territory of the Samarskaya Luka national park, the participants shall observe certain restrictions imposed in the territory of the park.
Each summer, the famous Grushinskiy guitar poetry festival is held in the Samara Region. At various times, Yury Vizbor, Alexnadr Gorodnitskiy, the Ivasi duet, Belaya Gwardiya and other legends of Russian guitar poetry have staged there.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.