Before Russia established the city, the region was filled with river pirates up to the mid 16th century. The Samara Bend, the Volga River’s hair pin twist that runs through the Zhiguli Mountains afforded pirates a good view as a look out point. After spotting a target, pirates would then cross the river to the mountains to prepare for ambush. These mountains also created a myriad of hide outs for the pirates to avoid capture and today are easily visited by ferry and ensconce the super cute and picturesque village of Shiryaevo.
Samara was officially established in 1586 as a fortress city, designed to protect the empire from nomadic tribes, in particular the Mongol-Turkic and Tatar clans of the Volga region. As the city was on the nation’s then border, a customs office was established in the early 17th century, setting Samara on course to become an important port town and transport hub in the region. The Volga River became a vital transport route for commercial, industrial and private travel, and Samara became an important stop on all journeys. Today, in the heart of Samara, the long wide sandy stretch of the Volga’s banks are turned into an inland seaside during the long hot summers, filled with locals thawing out from the freezing winters.
Founding of Zhiguli Brewery
Austrian aristocrat and entrepreneur Alfred von Volcano founded the Zhiguli Brewery in 1881. The brewery went on to make the most iconic beer of Soviet times, Zhigulevskoye, a stalwart libation in a time of food and produce flux. Originally labelled as a Viennese style beer, it was rebranded to reflect state ideals when the Bolsheviks took control of the city and the plant during the Russian Revolution in 1917. The Zhiguli Brewery is still open to the public, who can enjoy a drink at the historical building, along the banks of the Volga. Customers can also bring a bottle to fill up straight from the keg to take away.