Yoshkar-Ola (other spelling Ioshkar-Ola) is the capital and administrative center of Mari El Republic of Russia. It is situated on the banks of the Malaya Kokshaga River. Yoshkar-Ola is included in the list of historic cities of Russia. There are two universities: Mari State University and Mari State Technical University.
The city is located in the region of temperate continental climate. Long cold and snowy winters with the average temperature of about -18 degrees Celsius are usual. January and February are the coldest months. From the other side the summers are warm with the July average temperature of about +24 degrees Celsius.
Yoshkar-Ola has the population of about 253,000 (2012).
The phone code is +7 8362; postal codes - 424000-424045.
Yoshkar-Ola is connected with others cities and towns of Russia by several bus and railway routes. There are regular runs to/from Moscow and Kazan by trains from Yoshkar-Ola railway station (daily). Also the cities and towns of neighboring regions can be reached from the bus station located nearby.
The airport is located about 9 km north of Yoshkar-Ola. Since June 2008, the regular flights to Moscow (Domodedovo airport) were available. In 2009, the flights were stopped as the result of the economic crisis.
The flights are available again from November 1, 2010, every day except Saturday and Sunday. Departure from Moscow (Vnukovo airport, airline “UTair”) is at 19:55 local time, departure from Yoshkar-Ola at 06:25, time in flight about 1 hour 40 minutes. The cost of the flight is about 120 USD (February 2011).
The transport system of the city is based on networks of route taxis (marshrustka), buses and trolleybuses. The taxi system is also well developed.
In 1584, after Mari people lands were captured by the Russian forces a small fortress Kokshatsk was founded (later Kokshatskiy Gorodok). In 1708, the town became the part of Kazan province of Russia.
Before 1919, the city was known as Tsarevokokshaisk. In 1919-1927, it was called Krasnokokshaisk. The present name of the city, Yoshkar-Ola, means “Beautiful city” in Mari people language.
During the World War II, several large military factories were evacuated to Yoshkar-Ola. It was the main reason of Yoshkar-Ola growing after the war and becoming important regional industrial and transport center.
After the end of the Soviet Union, military enterprises lost state support. The manufacturing activity in the city decreased greatly. There is a Strategic Rocket Forces base near Yoshkar-Ola.
Yoshkar-Ola embankment view
Yoshkar-Ola places of interest
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. The exhibition shows a rich material about the foundation of the city, its socio-economic development, life, religious beliefs and traditions of the citizens. Address: Voznesenskaya Str., 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 unique collection of stuffed animals and birds of the region. Address: Sovetskaya Str., 153.
Republican Museum of Fine Arts. The main section of the museum is devoted to Mari national visual arts. Address: Gogol Str., 15.
National Gallery of Art. It is a subdivision of Republican Museum of Fine Arts. 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. Adress: Lenin Ave., 24.
Yoshkar-Ola main theaters:
- Mari National Drama Theater named after M.Shketan (Lenin Square, 2).
- Mari State Opera and Ballet Theater named after Eric Sapaev (Lenin Square, 2).
- Russian Academic Drama Theater named after G.V.Konstantinov (Nikonov Square, 1).
National Library named after S.G.Chavain is the largest library of Mari El. It is a leading information and documentation center in the republic. Address: Pushkin Str., 28.
Cultural heritage of Yoshkar-Ola reflects different historical periods of the formation of the city, from the early stages of urban development of the 18th century to the buildings of the middle of 20th century. Almost all the architectural monuments are concentrated mainly in the historic center of the city.
At the present time there are four parks in Yoshkar-Ola. The main one is the Central park of culture and rest, a popular place of citizens and guests of the city.
Yoshkar-Ola Obolensky-Nogotkov Square
The square was opened on November 4, 2007 in the center of Yoshkar-Ola, in front of the Government House and City Hall. The area includes the complex of office buildings, National Gallery of Art, the Tsar Cannon monument, the monument to the city’s founder Obolensky-Nogotkov, the monument to Leonid, Bishop of Mari. Also the place is known for “Mari Chimes” - the clock tower, symbolizing the Christian faith.