Yoshkar–Ola: a piece of Europe in the heart of rural Russia
This article dwells on one of the most unique towns of provincial Russia. Yoshkar–Ola is the capital of Mari El Republic, the only republic in Russia where paganism is practiced (yes, with sacrifices!).
Reasons to come to this backwater place?
To begin with, Yoshkar-Ola is the unique city of Russia which starts with an unusual letter of the Russian alphabet – "й" [y]; [j]. Officially, the town was founded in 1584 under the name of Tsarevokokshaisk (Tzar Town). In the XIX century, Tsarevokokshaisk became one of the centers of political exile.
The town center looks like a European fairy tale. The river embankment of Malaya Kokshaga is striking unusual architectural ensemble. You have no reason to travel to Europe to enjoy their so-called gingerbread houses! There are all in the center of Yoshkar – Ola. This place is called Naberezhnaya Brugge – the Brugges Embankment. This is the row of 20 houses built in Flemish style. They are painted pastel red, silver, blue or yellow and with large bay windows looking on to the river, copied exactly from the town in Belgium. We bet this is the most desirable address of the whole Mari El! There are various government institutions in these buildings such as departments and ministries. The street has become one of the most popular among residents and tourists. Such a great place for photo shoots!
Belgium, the Netherlands, Italy, Germany… everything at once!
If Belgium seems to be not enough, we are pleased to invite you to the other side of the embankment. It is called Amsterdam one. Speaks for itself! You could enjoy beautiful bridges with torches and the Kremlin walls there. Renting a small boat is highly advised and cruise around the whole center is appreciated! These locations are amazingly beautiful to shoot movies there.
They made Swiss jealous.
One of the must-do things is to see the all-time favorite Tower Clock of the National Art Gallery. It is located right in the center of the city. You can pass it by on your way or you can come to especially watch the clock. There is a performance with a donkey and the icon of the Mother of God every three hours. The plot of the action is based on the story of the rescue of this icon. The weight of the donkey with the icon is 600 kg, and the weight of the icon itself is 120 kg. The donkey is estimated to cover the distance of 91 km during the whole year. A special computer controls music and bells ringing.
There is a complex of "Twelve Apostles" on the Patriarch's Square, the left bank of the river. It looks like a fairy-tale palace from the outside. There are a TV and radio company, a Georgian cuisine restaurant and a shopping center inside the picturesque building. Every 3 hours, from 9.00 to 21.00, there is a performance "Entrance into Jerusalem". To the sound of music, the figures of the twelve apostles and Christ appear on one of the balconies. They pass in front of the public and hide on the other side of the building.
Yoshkin cat to make your dreams come true.
“Yoshkin cat” is the most well-known monument of Yoshkar-Ola. The composition consists of a garden bench and the cat sitting on it with wild eyes and a charming smile. The sculpture is located next to Mari State University and on the other side flanked by the Tower Clock of the National Art Gallery. He immediately became a traditional symbol of luck for students during the exam period. Students and tourists alike swing by this attraction to rub cat’s paw and head for good luck and a cherished mark.
How to get to Yoshka? (the way residents call it).
If you want to experience this European fairy tale inside Russia, we are pleased to help you make this dream come true! There is a direct overnight train from Moscow to Yoshkar–Ola. There are also options to take a flight to Kazan or Cheboksary (2h flight) and then a taxi (1.5h). Be one of the first to discover this magic place with SOAR production.