The name Samara» was mentioned for the first time in the Embassy decree of 1586. The foundation of the city dates back to the 15th century.
In 1586 Grigoriy Zasekin and his detachment found the fortress «Samara» on the left bank of the Volga River. It was set up to defend Russia frontiers from the invaders. When the first settler's came to the place near the crossing of the Volga and Samara rivers they were excited by the beauty of the place. One of them exclaimed: «It is Rah - itself», the name of the God - the Sun and river in ancient Egypt that was in Russian «Sama-Rah». That is the story of our town's name - Samara.
As the Volga river was an important trade route at that time, a small fortress turned gradually into a providential town of merchants and craftsmen.
In the middle of the 19th century (1851) it became the centre of Samarskaya Province. At the beginning of the 20th century Samara was a small provincial town with one or two - storeyed wooden houses. But it was famous for its beautiful orthodox churches and of course Vladimirskiy Cathedral (ruined in 1935). Unfortunately most of them were destroyed during the 20s and 30s.
There still remain some places of interest in the historical centre of the city. The building of the Drama theatre was set up in 1888. Today it is one of the finest pieces of architecture in the city.
The so-called «Gothic Church» (in Kuibyshevskaya Street) and the building of Local Museum (in Frunse Street) were constructed in the classical style. At the beginning of the 20th century the former theatre «Olymp» (today it's the Philarmonic Society) was built. «Strukovskiy Park» (now it's «Gorky's Park») was the favorite place of rest and entertainment for Samara citizens.
Going around the city you’ll be particularly impressed by the Embankment of the Volga River. The view opening before your eyes is marvelous and picturesque.
Modern Samara is an industrial, scientific and cultural centre of Samarskaya Province of Russia. It has a territory of 330 square kilometers and a population of nearly 2 million people. Traditionally, in Samara there used to be such industries as handicrafts. flour-mill, metal production, beer-making, vodka-producing, metal press building; Samara Volga shipping companies were among the first in Russia, as well as brick-making. Enormous resources of lumber and minerals made middle Volga area one of the richest parts of central Russia.
Many industrial enterprises, big plants and factories were moved from Western and Central parts of the country during the Great Patriotic War (1941-1945)- The new- housing development is concentrated and being developed in the North-East part of the city. During the last 40 years blocks of new building appeared along the Volga, covering former suburbs, engulfing the river.
Samara is a large scientific and educational centre; there are ten schools of higher learning: Samara State University, Pedagogical University, Airspace University, Medical Institute, Telecommunication Institute and the others.
Pre-soviet period of Samara’s history is closely connected with the names of famous Russian writers: A. Checkov, A. Tolstoy, M. Gorkiy, Garin-Michalovskiy. Several theatres are situated mainly in the old part of the city. The Drama theatre is one of the oldest in Russia and located very close to the bank of the Volga. The Puppet theatre and the theatre for junior viewers are in L. Tolstoy street. The Opera House, built on the site of the ruined Vladimirskiy Cathedral is at the central square of our town. The Philharmonic Society is in a new hall where it historically used to be (Frunse street) it was built anew and put into action in 1990.
Surely Samara Drama theatre is not only one of the oldest but also one of the most popular among the viewers in the city and in the country. It travels a lot, gaining the popularity of Russian and former USSR viewers.