Samara the city and the region :
Samara, formerly know as Kuybishev during Soviet era, is the fifth largest city in Russia with 1,2 million inhabitants. It is situated in the east of European Russia on the confluence of the Samara and Volga rivers, about 700 miles south-east of Moscow. Despite its dimensions, Samara remains relatively unknown abroad, as this city used to be closed for foreign visitors due to a high concentration of aerospace plants, military and other defense related companies on its region. Now, since the fall of Soviet Union, Samara is finally open to foreign visitors.
How to reach Samara Russia:
There is no much choice if we’re talking about direct flights from U.S. or European Airports to Samara. Both from Europe and the U.S.A., you will generally have to stop in Moscow and take a new flight to Samara. Traveling by plane from Moscow to Samara takes a little bit more than one hour. You may also proceed by train (rather pictoresque…. but it’s 17 hours!)
There are regular direct flights to Samara:
From Europe: Direct flights from Europe are serviced by Lufthansa, which links directly Frankfurt and Samara.
There are regular flights to Prague, Sharjah and Tel Aviv.
From the U.S.A.: there are no direct flights serviced at any time of the year.
Samara International Airport (KUF) isn’t really close to the city and at least 50 minutes by car is needed to get there, so it’s better to have somebody pick you up once you land in Samara rather than having to hire a cab.
What to see in Samara:
As we already said, Samara’s women are considered the finest ladies in the whole Russian Federation. Take a walk on the Naberezhnaya (promenade) in any summer day and you’ll get what we’re saying here.
Leave women alone for a minute and don’t forget to visit these points of interest once you’re there:
The Drama Teathre: Samara’s inhabitants will probably take you to visit in first place the old theatre, whose project dates back to 1886. The Drama Theatre was eventually re-built in 1965 and it is highly characterized by a mixture of features belonging to two different styles (classicism and Russian medieval style). This theatre hosts especially classical music concerts. It is situated near the Naberezhnaya (promenade), which is another point of interest especially in summer days.
The Bunker: Yes, you read it correctly, we’re talking about a bunker here, more precisely the so called Bunker of Stalin. In 1942, with German Army at the doors of Moscow, Samara (then Kuybishev) was named USSR second capital and it would have become the capital city, had Moscow fallen to the German Army. Due to the gallant and fearless defence mounted against the Nazis by the Soviet Army, Moscow never fell and Samara was not required to be the capital city. Although there is no evidence that Stalin ever worked here, the bunker is an important historical heritage and you will have the feeling to smell the very essence of former Soviet Power here, a bit like in Lenin’s mausoleum in Moscow’s Red Square.
Volga’s greatest panorama: enjoy a breathtaking view on the Volga river from this fine site (most commonly known as ‘Vertoletnaya Ploschadka’, Helicopters’ little square) a fancy resort in the outskirt of Samara. You’ll get there from the center of Samara in about 20 min. by car. Yes, those tiny points down there in picture 3 enlargement are boats, so now you are aware how large the Volga is. That’s where you can acknowledge the vastness of Russian countryside. Also don’t forget to take a cruise on the Volga river, it’s a must for every visitor.
Parachuting in Samara
First time jump, tandem skydive with Samara Region Aviation club … more info