Yoshkar-Ola city, Russia

The capital city of Mari El republic.

Yoshkar-Ola overview

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.

Yoshkar-Ola city flag

Yoshkar-Ola city flag

Yoshkar-Ola city coat of arms

Yoshkar-Ola city coat of arms

Yoshkar-Ola city map, Russia

Yoshkar-Ola city map of Russia

Yoshkar-Ola history

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.

Yoshkar-Ola views

Holy Trinity Church and stylized Kremlin wall in Yoshkar-Ola

Holy Trinity Church and stylized Kremlin wall in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

Buildings on the waterfront and Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Buildings on the waterfront and Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

Uspenskaya Street in Yoshkar-Ola

Uspenskaya Street in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin


Yoshkar-Ola features

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.

Yoshkar-Ola pictures

On the reconstructed embankment of Yoshkar-Ola

On the reconstructed embankment of Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

Holy Trinity Church in Yoshkar-Ola

Holy Trinity Church in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin


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).

Yoshkar-Ola places

Chavain Boulevard and the entrance to the Central Park in Yoshkar-Ola

Chavain Boulevard and the entrance to the Central Park in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

“Tree of Life” monument in the Central Park in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

The City Hall of Yoshkar-Ola

The City Hall of Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin


Yoshkar-Ola museums

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).

Other museums:

  • 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).

Yoshkar-Ola attractions

The entrance to the main building of Mari State University

The entrance to the main building of Mari State University

Author: Sergey Kozin

The monument to Obolensky-Nogotkov, the founder of the city

The monument to Obolensky-Nogotkov, the founder of the city

Author: Sergey Kozin

Obolensky-Nogotkov Square in Yoshkar-Ola

Obolensky-Nogotkov Square in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin


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.

Yoshkar-Ola city of Russia photos

Yoshkar-Ola churches

Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Resurrection Cathedral in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin

Holy Trinity Church in Yoshkar-Ola

Holy Trinity Church in Yoshkar-Ola

Author: Sergey Kozin


Cathedral of the Annunciation on Republic Square - explore the streets of Yoshkar-Ola yourself


The questions of our visitors

Juan Manuel asks: I wonder if it is dangerous to visit Yoshkar-Ola at this moment due the Russian -American confrontation?
Expert's answer:
It is pretty safe to visit Yoshkar-Ola. All this confrontation takes place mainly on TV and people in general do not behave aggressively towards foreigners.
Mary Rose asks: Hello, we will stay in Yoshkar Ola in September 2013. We have found an interesting offer to fly from Germany to Moscow and then to Y.O. Is that ok? Or would you prefer to go there by train? Thanks, Mary
Expert's answer:
Yes, it is definitely the fastest way to go to Yoshkar-Ola. But if you want to understand Russia a little better I think going by train from Moscow will be interesting experience, if you haven't had such trips before of course. The daily train leaves Kazansky railway station in Moscow at 16:40 local time and arrives to Yoshkar-Ola at 06:52 in the morning.
Peter asks: Why are there so many more women than men in Yoshkar-Ola?
Expert's answer:

The official statistics (2010) says that 55% of the population in Yoshkar-Ola are women, and 45% - men.

According to it, in average there are 813 men per 1000 women in Yoshkar-Ola. The main reason is that a lot of men die in the working age (81,3% of all deaths in the working age) because of injuries and accidents, cardio-vascular system diseases and oncology.

The average life expectancy in the region is 67.4 years: men - 61.3 years, women - 74.1 years.

The comments of our visitors

Cristal
Visiting Yoshkar Ola
Our visit to Yoshkar Ola was amazing, the city was beautiful, the people were friendly and our hosts were great about sharing their culture and cuisine. I would go back in a minute. Many people spoke a little English but a few lessons in Russian from Rosetta Stone really helped.

Dave
Re Chris message

Yoshkar Ola is a lovely city. Most people are very friendly, you get good and bad in all cities. I have been to Yoshkar Ola 15 times, the reason I go back is because it is so nice and there's plenty to do.

Chris you are very negative they do not speak English because they don't have to, they are Russian, I suggest you learn some Russian, do you also expect to get fish chips and mushy peas in Russia? Perhaps the people you have met are similar to yourself.


Will
One of the friendliest cities I have ever visited
We couchsurfed in Yoshkar-Ola for three days and had an absolutely fantastic time. Our hosts were incredibly generous and hospitable. They took us to the 'Courchevel of Mary El' for some extreme sledging on bits of linoleum! Chris - you obviously had a bad day and want to take it out on Yoshkar-Ola - how on earth do you think you can judge if people are nice/nasty/happy/unhappy when you clearly don't even speak their language; and about the lack of English spoken - do you speak Russian for Russian tourists in America?

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