Walking in the streets
I recommend you to walk in the city. It's very amazing when old houses are neighbors of the newest one. In any way, many people are still live in old 2-floor houses. For example, my friends live in such house that was built in XVIII (!!!) century. Fortunately they have got a new flat in the new house, just 1 day before my arrival and they hope to repair it in near future and to change living place till autumn.
The majority of Samarites live in huge apartment buildings that rose up during the soviet era. These buildings are very ugly and mar the urban landscape of Russia. However, in the old section of Samara these quaint houses can be found and not an apartment block in sight. I was told that these houses are very old and crumbling because only poor people would live in a wooden house. Concrete structures are apparently a status symbol in Russia.
One of Samara's largest industries is producing the infamous Lada!
Samara was a closed city to foreigners until the Iron Curtain collapsed about ten years ago, the city's industries was one reason for this.
Lada cars are driven by almost everyone.
Among residents it is very popular to spend weekend on the isles in Volga River. There are many sanatoriums and little hotel as far as I know. In one of them I had the party with my friend and her friends and it is really funny to make crazy things in the distance from th city and in the open air. Some of isles have the own ships and other are connected by ships from River Ships Station
Stalin's Bunker in Samara
Yes, just imagine!!! Only in 1991 citizens of Samara learnt that in the very heart of the city, in Chapaev Square, on the other side of the building of the Institute of Culture, there is a tiny metal door that leads to the bunker that was built during WW II for Stalin.
It is 37 m deep!!!
(Cf.: Hitler's was 16 m. Churcill had an ascape room just on the second undeground floor.)
There are 192 steps leading downstairs. The bunker is actually a 8-m wide shaft.
Absolutely hermetic up to now, and is suitable for 5 days of self-air supply.
It was built within several months in 1942 -1943, when Samara became the extra capital as many factories, plants, embassies, etc. were moved here and Stalin thought of moving there as well in case Hitler took Moscow. The bunker was built in absolute secret, nobody knew of it except for the builders who were obliged to keep the secret till they die.
Only in 1991 it was announced, and opened for visitors. You wil see several rooms, offices inside, pictires of Karl Marx and Lenin, real old telephone that is still working, only is switched off by the supervisors as some of the tourists being on top of delight called their friends to say hello from the Bunker and later the bunker got bills to pay :-)
Though Stalin never visited this bunker as thanks god there was no need for him to use it, but it does not make it less valuable. Still it is history, a war monument, and an amazing marsterpiece of Soviet architects and engineers.
Normally they have excursions for groups from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m., it costs USD 20, and actually you can visit it alone and the guide will show you around if you pay the sum.