Hello! I`m going to tell you about unknown and the most unusual sights of Samara city. This is Samara that you`ve never seen before!
Samara`s railway station, which is the first thing to be seen by the city`s visitors, was built in less than 3 years. Its construction works were held almost round-the-clock. So, the station was opened in 2001. Now Samara`s station building is one of the highest depots in Europe (101 meter including the spire). Apart from dedicated service, there`s also a 49-room hotel in it.
The architect of this unusual construction of glass and concrete is Yuri Khramov. The new building immediately got the name of “Lev Tolstoy’s end” among Samara`s citizens. Firstly, because of the dome`s phallic shape. Secondly, it`s truly the end of Lev Tolstoy Street.
Unfortunately, it was too difficult to convince the government of Samara and the Kuybyshev Railway`s leadership to keep the old construction of the station. So, this unique creation of the earl Nikolai de Rochefort, which had been used for more than a century, was totally destroyed.
At the railway, a sharp contrast offends the eye. For instance, despite the fact that the station building is controlled by security systems and video observation, the place is full of so-called fortune-tellers and beggars. That`s why it`s better to watch out and be really careful while walking around Komsomolskaya Square, which is situated nearby. Don`t agree on reading your hand or seeing your future!
Yuriy Detochkin and the others
Recently, the new sight has appeared on Komsomolskaya Square. It`s a sculpture of Yuriy Detochkin, who played a key role in the Soviet comedy film “Beware of the Car”. This monument was built on the initiative of the deputy Alexander Khinshtein. Here you can find many tourists taking pictures with the popular film-character.
Another attraction, for which Samara`s citizens are also obliged to Alexander Khinshtein, is situated beside the homestead of the writer Aleksey Tolstoy. It`s a lovely sculpture of the fairy-tale character called Buratino, that was created by Aleksey Tolstoy, the author of “The Golden key”.
We`ll get back to the creator of novels “Road to Cavalry”, “The Hyperboloid of Engineer Garin” and the trilogy “Peter I” a little bit later. Now let`s have a snack: you`ve just arrived to Samara and must be really hungry!
All cuisines of the world at one stadium
Just one bus stop separates the railway station from the central department store “Samara”. It is one of those common ordinary shopping centres, that you can find almost in any Russian city. If you go a bit further, you`ll bump into the District market, which is located near the ex-stadium “Burevestnik”.
Recently, a businessman, a holder of the Central Department Store and the stadium, began leasing out the land of “Burevestnik” to small restaurants` owners. As a result, the old sport arena turned into a cozy food court, where you can find various dishes of all cuisines of the world: Uzbek pilaf, shurpa, samosa, Caucasian barbeque and even traditional Korean food – “he” with fish or chicken. The chef Anatoly Yun meets every guest personally. So, if you decided to give a look in this very place – don`t forget to taste the chef`s speciality – “pigody” – steamed patty with cabbage and meat.
By the way, prices there are quite affordable – an average bill usually comes up to 200-250 rubles. However, alcohol is not available here.
Cats and the spirit of revolution
If you walk a little further through the old Samara`s side-streets, stretching well beyond the “Burevestnik”, you`ll easily find the monument of federal importance – the “House-museum of Lenin”.
There`s a smell of rot and humidity. Today, charry ruins and broken-backed buildings surround the house, where the leader of the world proletariat lived.
This very district – is, perhaps, the most mind-blowing contrast of Samara. Old wooden houses look very poor and shabby on the background of modern glass and stone skyscrapers, which now occupy most of the city.
The house of Ulyanov-Lenin is open for tourists from 9 am to 5 pm. Don`t forget to bring something delicious with you in order to feed the cat living there. It may seem improbable (you can even ask museum curators whether it`s true), but every year on April 22 this cat has kittens. The cat usually chooses the bed of Volodia Ulyanov as a place for labor.
The “slanted” rocket
Unfortunately, the majority of politicians, governing Samara, didn`t regard it necessary to keep monuments of architecture and history safe. However, all of them wanted to be best remembered for creating something monumental, formidable and pompous.
In the noughties, Samara`s ex-mayor George Limanskiy decided to build a complex “Cosmic Samara”. Now there`s a museum decorated with the real carrier rocket “Soyuz”. The rocket with the height of 68 meters was installed vertically.
Here you can find almost everything connected with space cluster of USSR. Guides will clearly explain you how a liquid-propellant rocket engine, compression chamber and a close photoreconnaissance satellite work. You can have a look at so-called “cosmic” food – dry compositions, “toothpaste-like” tubes and special canned goods, which cosmonauts can eat in weightlessness environment.
If you explore Samara with your children, it would be a great idea to take them to this museum.
As for George Limanskiy, whom Samara`s citizens are obliged for this sight to, the rocket didn`t bring him any luck. When the museum was opened, some political opponents of the mayor dispersed information that the carrier rocket was slanted and on its way to fall. Fortunately, it was just a malarkey. However, after a big scandal in mass media, career of Limanskiy begun its landing.
The secrets of KGB
It`s common knowledge that Samara`s “attributes” are the Volga`s embankment, the bunker of Stalin and, of course, the Zhigulevsky brewery. However, there`ll be no information about this places in the article, as they are fully described by the Net and boring guidebooks. Let`s explore something that haven`t been destroyed yet: the architecture of a working-class district of Samara – Bezymyanka.
You can get here by the underground. Every 5 minutes there goes a train from the “Rossiyskaya” subway station (which is very close to the museum “Cosmic Samara”). Get off at “Pobeda” station and go forward to Kirov square. You can`t but walk by Litvinov Palace of Culture. This magnificent, enormous building just strikes with its architecture. During the Great Patriotic war, lots of defence factories were situated there.
The journalist Yuriy Khmelnitsky in his book “Life in a strict secrecy” revealed a quite interesting fact, which I`d like to share with you. When Kuybyshev was a reserve capital and many defence factories were evacuated to the city, there was a risk of foreigners taking pictures of plants, which could be seen from windows of passing trains. So, KGB officers made an arrangement with Kuybyshev Railway`s leadership. Thereafter, they become to launch trains on the neighboring rails right in the moment, when passenger trains were going by the classified factories of Bezymyanka.
Even more contrasts
Are you still looking for a sight to see in Bezymyanka? Go and visit the 66 block! Here you can find some double-storey houses, which were built by the captive Germans. How old are these barracks? They are the coevals of the Great Patriotic War. Nevertheless, these tacky “pasteboard” houses are full of life from the inside.
Interestingly, every single governor promises to give new flats to the poor ones who had to live in these huts. However, instead of this, new rocket models and monuments of fairytale characters are constantly appearing in the city.
Time passed by, and the barracks of the 66 block became a real place of interest. They`re still standing there as an implicit rebuke to the ones who had (or has) an opportunity to make a change.
If you have enough time, you should certainly visit the helipad located in the Upravlencheskiy township. From this very point opens a great picture-postcard view on the Volga-river and the National Park “Samarskaya Luka”. The lovers of “selfies” will be rather delighted!
The Elephant House
On the bank of the Volga, you can find one more place that is certainly worth visiting – it`s Golovkin's dacha, also known as the Elephant House.
Konstantin Golovkin was considered not as just a man of substance, but as a billionaire. This tradesman was one of the first citizens of Samara, who had his own car and supported gifted writers, artists and musicians. In a word, he was a Maecenas.
Golovkin left the country before revolution and passed a part of his acquired property to the new government. It is said that Konstantin designed the Elephant House by himself and then gave an order to hide the drawings of the building inside the elephants.
Today Golovkin's dacha is a property of a commercial structure. The building is slowly wracking. If you are lucky enough to reason a caretaker, he will let you enter the house`s territory. But unfortunately, it`s not allowed to take photos of the Elephant House.
Following Tolstoy`s footsteps
So, we are back again to the center of Samara. The last sight that I wanted to tell you about is the homestead of Aleksey Tolstoy.
The house, where the writer spend his childhood, withstands the ravages of time as well as the Strukovskiy garden, which is situated nearby. It was Aleksey`s favorite place for family walks. According to the contemporaries` memoirs, when nurses brought him to the park, one couldn`t keep from smiling: Aleksey looked rather funny and cute. Besides, it`s also said that, wearing a shirt-front dress with lace, he was more in the nature of a girl and took everyone off their feet.
In the novel “Road to Cavalry” Aleksey Tolstoy described both Samara and his own homestead with great fullness. Today his former house is a literary center.
Unfortunately, Samara`s government haven`t kept the house, where another soviet writer, Maxim Gorky, lived. However, the officials soon “took a pity” on Gorky and “moved” him to Tolstoy by opening an exposition at the literary museum.
Time is relentless. It is literally “devouring” the old part of the city, so if you are fond of architecture, history and literature – hurry up! You still have an opportunity to see lots of places connected with Lenin, Stalin, Tolstoy and Gorky with your own eyes. Tomorrow just may be too late.
Anastasiya KOTOVA, Wit PAPILKIN