Samara: Short Timeline

Samara Drama façade detail

1357 – St Alexis (Alexius), Metropolitan of Moscow travelled this area in 1357 and predicted a future city that would prosper and never be conquered.

1586 – Fortress Samara was founded by Prince Grigory Zasekin on orders from Tsar Fyodor I Ioannovich. This date is questioned today by historians who claim Samara is at least 225 years older. The claim is based on some older Italian maps (yet to be studied).

1670 – Samara opened its gates to Stepan Razin’s army and was a free town for a year.

1688 – Samara was incorporated as a town on the frontier. Between 1708 and 1780 Samara was juggled between various provinces – Kazan and Astrakhan – several times.

1773 – The town was taken by Yemelyan Pugachov’s army of rebels.

1780 – Samara was made a district (uyezd) centre of the Simbirsk Province. The first Master Plan of Samara was approved in 1782.

1851 – The Samara Province was established with its centre in Samara. This led to rapid development of local economy, particularly grain industry. Samara was often called «Russian Chicago» or «Russian New Orleans» due to similarities in economic growth and significance. The period between 1851 and 1917 left numerous architectural marks in Samara with particular fondness for eclecticism and Art-Nouveau styles.

1877 – Mission from Samara brought the so-called Samara Banner to Bulgaria that was being liberated from the Ottoman rule at the time. The banner was hand-made (tailored and embroidered) by local nuns.

1877 – Opening of the railway line from Syzran to Samara. It was extended to Ufa in 1885-1890.

1881 – An Austrian expat Alfred von Vacano opened his brewery in 1881.

1900 – Opening of the first power station.

1915 – Start of electric tram operation.

1917 – Soviet rule was proclaimed peacefully in Samara.

1918 – Samara was taken by the Committee of Members of the Constituent Assembly with the support of the Czech Legion. This gives historians an opportunity to call Samara the capital of Russia in 1918 (8 June – 7 October).

1921 – The region was hit by a severe famine. International aid was organised with the help of Fridtjof Nansen and others. Offices of the Swedish Red Cross Mission and the American Relief Association (ARA) opened in Samara.

1928 – The Mid-Volga Region (Srednevolzhsky Kray) was established with the centre in Samara.

1935 – Samara was renamed Kuybyshev after Valerian Kuybyshev, a Soviet political figure who was once imprisoned here and later proclaimed Soviet rule in Samara.

1941-1943 – Many government organizations, foreign diplomatic missions, leading cultural establishments (including the Bolshoi Theatre) and several factories were evacuated to Kuybyshev that became the shadow capital of the USSR. On 7th November 1941 a military parade was held on Kuybyshev Square (one of three such parades in the country) at the presence of foreign ambassadors and military envoys. On 5th March 1942 Shostakovich’s Seventh Symphony was first performed in the Opera House. Soviet radio broadcast from a secret radio centre outside the city. After the WWII lots of German POWs worked in Kuybyshev – some built houses, others (notably German missile engineers and workers) laid the foundation of the engine industry.

1961 – Yury Gagarin briefly stayed in Samara right after his flight into space and before he went to Moscow.

1967 – Population reached 1,000,000. It peaked at 1,280,000 in 1987 and has been declining ever since.

1991 – The original name of Samara was returned to the city.

2009-2013 – Samara hosted Rock nad Volgoy (Rock over the Volga) fest with 692,000 attendees in 2013, making it the biggest one-day rock festival in Europe at the time.

2018 – Samara to host several matches of the 2018 FIFA World Cup: several A, C, E, H Group matches, and two matches in the knockout stage (including one quarter-final).

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