“The Serene Waters of Wolga River”
Samara (Russian: Сама́ра, IPA: [sɐˈmarə]), known from 1935 to 1991 as Kuybyshev (Куйбышев; IPA: [ˈkujbɨʂɨf]), is the sixth largest city (as of 2010) in Russia and the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Some statistics indicate that it is the eighth or ninth-largest city by population., rather than sixth. It is in the southeastern part of European Russia at the confluence of the Volga and Samara rivers, on the east bank of the Volga which acts as the city's western boundary; across the river are the Zhiguli Mountains, after which the local beer (Zhigulyovskoye) is named. The northern boundary is formed by the Sokolyi Hills and by the steppes in the south and east. The city covers 46,597 hectares (115,140 acres), with a population of 1,164,685 (2010 Census); the metropolitan area of Samara, Tolyatti and Syzran has a population of over 3 million. It is about 300 kilometres (190 mi) from Kazan, 410 kilometres (250 mi) from Ufa, 340 kilometres (210 mi) from Saratov and 235 kilometres (146 mi) from Oral, Kazakhstan.
Formerly a closed city, Samara is now a large and important social, political, economic, industrial, and cultural centre in European Russia and hosted the European Union—Russia Summit in May 2007. It has a continental climate characterised by hot summers and cold winters. The life of Samara's citizens has always been intrinsically linked to the Volga River, which has not only served as the main commercial thoroughfare of Russia throughout several centuries, but also has great visual appeal. Samara's riverfront is considered one of the favourite recreation places both for local citizens and tourists. After the Soviet novelist Vasily Aksyonov visited Samara, he remarked: "I am not sure where in the West one can find such a long and beautiful embankment."