Samara ranks only 9th on the list of Russia’s biggest cities (down from No. 6 spot six years ago) but it is known for some records set throughout its 430-year history.
Here’s a list of some of those records.
Kuybyshev Square (17.4 hectares or 1,870,000 sq.ft. with gardens and Opera House) is considered the largest in Europe and one of the largest in the world. Actually, the open square is just 8 hectares, 7 hectares are given to gardens and 2.4 hectares are under the Opera House. When I say “considered” I mean that everyone in Samara thinks so, the Wikipedia states so and it is part of local bragging code. If you look deeper into Wikipedia you’ll find out that Kuybyshev Square is only the third largest in Europe and 17th largest in the world. But to be more exact you will have to define what to count as “city square” – all of it, or only the open spaces. Honestly, some of the “largest squares in the world” in Wikipedia are not squares – they are parks. At least, Kuybyshev Square has a vast expanse of open space for parades, festivals and rollerblading.
The new building of the main railway station is one of the tallest railway buildings in Europe (total height is 101 m with a 14 m spire).
The Volga Embankment is probably the longest continuous river esplanade in Russia and it is coupled with the longest stretch of city river beaches on the Volga. The embankment is divided into sections with a total length of slightly more than 4 km (appr. 2.6 miles), while the beach (also with interruptions) is slightly shorter at 3.4 km (or more than 4.5 km with other Volga beaches within city limits). However, locals do not separate the esplanade from the beach and prefer to overlook the fact that the embankment is not an exactly uninterrupted stretch, thus they would tell you it is 5 km long.
Also, let’s not forget that Samara stands on the Volga, which is the longest river in Europe – 3,530 km (2,193 miles). The Volga is surpassed in length only by the Amazon (6,992), the Nile (6,853), the Yangtze (6,300), the Huang He (5,464), the Paraná (4,880), the Congo (4,374), the Mekong (4,350), the Lena (4,294), the Irtysh (4,248), the Niger (4,180), the Missouri (3,767), the Mississippi (3,734), and the Ob (3,650) (all lengths are in km of the rivers alone without their tributaries), making the Volga the 14th longest river in the world. (From the hydrological point of view, though, Samara stands on the Kama, but traditional geography overpowers science.)