Yoshkar-Ola is a city in Russia, the capital of the Republic of Mari El, located on the banks of the Malaya Kokshaga River, 50 km north of the Volga River and 750 km east of Moscow. It is a major diversified industrial, cultural and scientific center of the republic, one of the centers of culture of Finno-Ugric Peoples. City Day is celebrated in the beginning of August.
The population of Yoshkar-Ola is about 265,000 (2015), the area - 100 sq. km.
The phone code - +7 8362, the postal codes - 424000-425200.
Until the middle of the 16th century, this territory populated by Mari was part of the Khanate of Kazan. In October 1552, Russian Tsar Ivan the Terrible annexed the land of the Kazan Khanate to the Russian kingdom. The local population was sworn allegiance to the new sovereign, but soon refused to obey and pay tribute.
In 1553, an uprising began, it was the beginning of the so-called Cheremis wars. Ivan the Terrible decided to found several fortified towns in order to strengthen his power in the region. “Tsarev gorod na Kokshage” meaning “Tsar’s town on Kokshaga” (later simply Tsarevokokshaisk) was founded during the reign of Tsar Fyodor Ivanovich in 1584, after the death of Ivan the Terrible.
More Historical Facts…
It was a military fortification located in the center of the Volga-Vyatka region, on the banks of the Malaya Kokshaga River, a left tributary of the Volga River. Over time, the town ceased to carry out its military function and turned into a center of crafts and trade. In 1708, the town became part of the Kazan province of Russia.
In the 18th century, the first stone houses and industrial enterprises, five churches were built. In 1835, the first regular plan of the town was created. Tsarevokokshaisk gradually turned into a trade, economic and cultural center of the Mari region, although its population was only about 2,000.
From the middle of the 19th century, it became a place of political exile. The participants of the Polish uprising of 1863 were exiled here. In the beginning of the 20th century, Tsarevokokshaisk was a quiet provincial town, consisting of 13 streets and about 300 different buildings. In this form the town remained almost until the 1920s. Agriculture was the basis of the local economy.
February 17, 1919, Tsarevokokshaisk was renamed Krasnokokshaisk (“Red Kokshaisk”). January 25, 1928, Krasnokokshaisk received a Mari national name - Yoshkar-Ola (“Red City”). In December 1936, Mari Autonomous Oblast was transformed into the Mari Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic and Yoshkar-Ola became its capital.
During the Second World War, several large military factories were evacuated to Yoshkar-Ola. It was the main reason for the city’s growth after the war. Yoshkar-Ola became an important industrial center of the region. After the collapse of the Soviet Union, local military enterprises experienced hard times, the level of production fell significantly.
In 2007, an active reorganization of the central and coastal parts of Yoshkar-Ola began. A lot of new squares and buildings were constructed: Obolensky-Nogotkov Square, Republic and the Blessed Virgin Mary Square, Patriarchal Square, Bruges Embankment, Tsarevokokshaisk Kremlin, etc.
Holy Trinity Church and stylized Kremlin wall in Yoshkar-Ola
Buildings on the waterfront and Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola
Uspenskaya Street in Yoshkar-Ola
Yoshkar-Ola is located in the region of temperate continental climate. Long cold and snowy winters with the average temperature of about minus 12 degrees Celsius are usual. January and February are the coldest months. Summers are warm, the average temperature in July is about plus 18.7 degrees Celsius.
National composition of the local population according to the 2010 population census: Russians (61%), Mari (23%), Tatars (4%). There are two state universities in the city: Mari State University and Volga State University of Technology.
Yoshkar-Ola is connected with other cities of Russia by several bus and railway routes. Daily trains to Moscow are available at the railway station. Other cities, towns and villages of the republic and neighboring regions can be reached from the bus station located nearby. There is an airport located about 9 km north of the city.
Public transport is represented by minibuses (known as “marshrutki”), buses and trolleybuses. Yoshkar-Ola taxi system is also well developed.
On the territory of Yoshkar-Ola there are several specially protected natural areas:
- Botanical Garden-Institute of Volga State University of Technology,
- Pine grove located in the south-eastern part of the city,
- Oak grove located in the floodplain of the Malaya Kokshaga, a small corner of southern taiga.
On the reconstructed embankment of Yoshkar-Ola
Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola
Holy Trinity Church in Yoshkar-Ola
Yoshkar-Ola places of interest
Cultural heritage of Yoshkar-Ola reflects various historical periods of formation of the city, from the early stages of urban development of the 18th century to the buildings constructed in the middle of the 20th century.
Most of the architectural monuments can be found in the historic center, on the following streets: Anisimovsky Lane, Naberezhnaya, Voznesenskaya, Pushkina, Sovetskaya, Komsomolskaya, Volkova streets, Leninsky Avenue, Lenina Square, Chavain Boulevard.
There are four parks in Yoshkar-Ola. The main one is the Central Park of Culture and Rest, a popular place among locals and visitors of the city.
Yoshkar-Ola theaters and other cultural institutions
- Mari National Drama Theater named after M.Shketan (Lenina Square, 2),
- Mari State Opera and Ballet Theater named after Eric Sapaev (Komsomolskaya Street, 130),
- Russian Academic Drama Theater named after G.V.Konstantinov (Nikonova Square, 1),
- Mari Republican Puppet Theater (Patriarchal Square),
- Mari Republican Theater Center for Children and Youth (Voznesenskaya Street, 87),
- National Library named after S.G.Chavain, the largest library of the republic (Pushkina Street, 28).
Chavain Boulevard and the entrance to the Central Park in Yoshkar-Ola
“Tree of Life” monument in the Central Park in Yoshkar-Ola
The City Hall of Yoshkar-Ola
Museum of the History of Yoshkar-Ola is located on one of the oldest and most enchanting streets of the city (Voznesenskaya), in the merchant’s mansion of the early 20th century, a historical and architectural monument. The exhibition shows a rich material about the foundation of the town, its socio-economic development, life, religious beliefs and traditions of the locals (Voznesenskaya Street, 39).
National Museum of the Republic of Mari El bears the name of the prominent local historian and scholar T.E.Yevseyev. This is one of the leading museums of the republic having more than 200 thousand exhibits.
The most valuable collections are archaeological and ethnographic ones, including costumes, jewelry, weapons, household items of Mari and other nations of the 19th-20th centuries, as well as masterpieces of applied art. Also the museum has a unique collection of stuffed animals and birds of the region (Sovetskaya Street, 153).
Republican Museum of Fine Arts. The main section of the museum is devoted to Mari national visual arts (Gogol Street, 15).
National Gallery of Art. The exposition is located on two floors and is presented in the form of a twisting spiral. The exhibition shows the cultural heritage of the Republic of Mari El. On the gallery building you can see one of the local attractions - the so-called “clock with a donkey” or “Mari chimes” (Lenina Avenue, 24).
- Museum of Applied Folk Arts (Chernyshevskogo Street, 23),
- The house-museum of the first Mari composer I.S. Klyuchnikov-Palantay (Lva Tolstogo Street, 25),
- Memorial Museum of Gulag history (Kremlyovskaya Street, 2).
The entrance to the main building of Mari State University
The monument to Obolensky-Nogotkov, the founder of the city
Obolensky-Nogotkov Square in Yoshkar-Ola
New squares and sights built in Yoshkar-Ola in recent years
Obolensky-Nogotkov Square. This square was opened in the center of Yoshkar-Ola, in front of the Government House and the City Hall, on November 4, 2007. The area includes a complex of office buildings, the National Gallery of Art, the Tsar Cannon monument, the monument to Obolensky-Nogotkov (the city’s founder), the monument to Hieromartyr Leonid - Mari Bishop.
Here you can also find the so-called “Mari chimes” (“the clock with a donkey”). This square and the surrounding complex of buildings are designed in the Venetian style. Nearby, in front of the main building of Mari State University, you can find one of the symbols of present day Yoshkar-Ola - the sculpture named Yoshkin Cat.
Square of the Republic and the Blessed Virgin Mary. Here you can see the following sights: the fountain with the figure of the Archangel Gabriel, the sculpture of the Virgin with the Christ Child, the building of the Cathedral of the Annunciation and the Annunciation Tower (53 meters) with a copy of the Kremlin chimes.
Patriarchal Square. On this square you can find the monument to Patriarch of Moscow and All Russia Alexy II, the fountain-monument of the Holy Reverend Peter and Fevronia, the chapel of St. Peter and Fevronia of Murom, the clock “12 Apostles”, Mari Republican Puppet Theater.