Samara, Russia

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Samara (Russian: Сама́ра), called Kuybyshev (Ку́йбышев) from 1935 to 1990, is one of the largest cities in Russia. It is situated in the southeastern part of European Russia, the Volga Federal District, at the confluence of the Volga and Samara Rivers. Samara is also the administrative center of Samara Oblast. Population: 1,157,880 (2002 Census);[2] 1,254,460 (1989 Census).[5]. The metropolitan area of Samara-Tolyatti-Syzran within Samara Oblast constitutes the population of more than 3.0 million people. Formerly a closed city, Samara is now a large and important social, political, economic, industrial and cultural center of European Russia, which in May 2007 played host to the European Union—Russia Summit.

Samara is located on the east bank of the Volga river, which acts as its western boundary. Its northern boundary is formed by the Sokolyi Hills and by the Steppes in the south and east. The land within the city boundaries covers 46,597 ha. Samara has a continental climate characterized 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 river-front is one of the favorite recreation places 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. Possibly only around Lake Geneva".

Samara is a leading industrial center in the Volga Area, and is among the top ten Russian cities in terms of national income and industrial volume. Samara is known for the production of aerospace launch vehicles, satellites and various space services, engines and cables, aircraft and rolled aluminum, block-module power stations; refining, chemical and cryogenic products; gas-pumping units; bearings of different sizes, drilling bits; automated electrical equipment; airfield equipment; truck-mounted cranes; construction materials; chocolates made by the Russia Chocolate Factory; Rodnik vodka; Zhiguli beer; food processing and light industrial products.[6]

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