For the first time the city of Samara was mentioned in official documents in 1586. Then a fortress was built for the defense against some nomadic tribes and also for making a waterway across Volga from Kazan to Astrakhan. In 1688 Samara was given the status of a city and began to function as military base and the center of trade with the East.
During the Soviet period the city bore a name Kuybyshev - in honor of the famous Soviet statesman Valerian Kuybyshev. In 1991 a historical name was returned to the city.
During the World War II Kuybyshev was the “second capital” of the Soviet Union. A large number of the industrial enterprises, diplomatic representatives and also the Government of the USSR have been evacuated here. The special bunker has been constructed in Kuybyshev for a supreme commander of the USSR. Nowadays it is known as the Bunker of Stalin and is accessible to visit.
After the World War II Kuybyshev became the largest industrial and cultural center of the USSR. The high potential of aircraft and space industry, engineering, oil refining, metallurgy and light industry has been established here.
Today Samara is a big city situated on the left bank of Volga. It is an administrative center of the Samara region. The territory of Samara is about 465,97 sq.km, the city population - 1,135 million persons (it is the 6th place in Russia - after Moscow, St.-Petersburg, Novosibirsk, Yekaterinburg and Nizhniy Novgorod).
Samara is one of the major transportation connection points of Russia. The shortest ways from Central and Western Europe to Siberia, Central Asia and Kazakhstan run through the city.
Samara has rich scientific, educational and cultural traditions. The city has a vast number of museums, theaters, historical and architectural monuments. But the special sights of Samara are the national park «Samarskaya Luka » and one of the oldest natural reserves «Zhigulevsk Nature Reserve named after I.I.Sprygin».
One more sight of the city is «The Zhigulevsk brewery» (earlier - «Samara beer factory») - one of the oldest breweries of Russia. This factory was constructed in 1881 by the Austrian citizen Alfred von Vakano. The first brewing was made here in 1881.
Numerous music festivals, sporting contests and seminars are held constantly in Samara.
Twin-cities of Samara: Saint Louis (the State of Missouri, the USA), Stara Zagora (Bulgaria), Stuttgart (Germany).
Foreign cities-partners: Vitebsk, Gomel (Belarus), Dnepropetrovsk, Feodosiya (Ukraine), the Poppet (Slovenia), Palermo (Italy), Cheng-Chou (China).
Samara is also included in the Association of cities of the Volga region and in International Assembly of Capitals and Cities.
The City Day is celebrated in Samara on last weekend of May.