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This gorgeous city at the confluence of the Samara and Volga rivers features endless sand, summer parties, and gorgeous cultural landmarks. A number of historical sights populate this city of casual walks, including the religious eye-pleasing Iversky Convent, which once held 500 nuns, and the not-so-religious Zhigulevsky Brewery (before the Revolution, the brewmaster kept his home supplied with his product by pipeline!). The Moscow Baroque-style Drama Theater and the Alabin Samara Regional History Museum educate about this region’s culture. The Ulyanov family, including brothers Alexander and Vladimir (the latter of whom led the Russian Revolution under the pseudonym Lenin), lived here.

It has also been home to Russia’s aerospace industry - the Samara Progress Plant built the launch vehicle that sent Yuri Gagarin, the first man in space, into orbit. Many of the monuments and institutions reflect the industry’s presence in Samara, including those found in Ploshchad Slavy and the Monument of Glory, dedicated to city’s aviation workers during World War II. The best views of the Volga are from Ploshchad Slavy.

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