Ladya is the word for a traditional Russian boat with sails and oarsmen used for anything from trade to wars. It is also one of the most recognisable city monuments in Samara, standing tall and proud over the Volga embankment with its sail blown ready for a river voyage.
Ladya by the way is the origin of lodka (boat) in Russian. However, ladya was always a bigger boat than just your regular fishing boat of a casual amateur. Similar word roots can be found in other Slavic languages, which is of little surprise given that multitude of rivers and close ties in the heart of Europe (geographical rather than the future EU) required reliable and roomy boats for trade. If trade gave way to war the same boats were ready to fight.
Samara stands on the Volga. Fishing was always one of the main trades here. But it was also a place where warriors of various kinds once sailed up and down on the outskirts of geographical Europe, later the outskirts of the growing Russian tsardom and Empire. So, ladya is a powerful historical symbol that befits Samara quite well.
The concrete monument appeared on the newest section of the Volga embankment in 1986 when Kuybyshev was celebrating its 400th anniversary. It was designed by architects Anatoly Yankin and Igor Galakhov. The height is 20 m. When you sail down the Volga past Samara Ladya may now be rather lost against the background of the residential highrises. But when you look at it from the side of from its rear, you’ll see that the sail is still tall and proud. The bow looks towards the Zhiguli where Stepan Razin allegedly hid his treasure gained in raids against the tradesmen. If you find some vantage points you would appreciate the monuments stature and location in full, no matter whether it’s summer or winter.
Ladya has become one of the symbols of Samara. It is now a popular place for wedding parties, photography sessions, as well as summer concerts, fireworks displays, and other events. Better come here on a weekday when fewer people would let you sail this mighty boat all alone.