Togliatti (until 1964, Stavropol) is the second-largest city after Samara in the Samara Region. It is situated on the left bank of the Volga River, across the Zhiguli Mountains, and has a population of 720,000.
Stavropol was founded in 1737 by Vassily Tatishchev, at which time it was a fortress. In the XIX and early XX centuries, it was known in Russia as an accessible climatic health resort. In 1953-1955 the city was moved to a higher altitude since the old town was flooded during the construction of a hydroelectric plant. Since 1964, it bears the name of the Italian communist Palmiro Togliatti. In the 1970s there was a sharp increase in the city’s population due to the construction of a plant by the giant automatable manufacturer AvtoVAZ, which is still the main enterprise there.
Today Togliatti is the focal point of the region’s artistic, intellectual, scientific, and spiritual potential. There are many shopping and entertainment centres, theaters, stadiums, museums, national centres and Orthodox churches.
Most of the city’s material and spiritual monuments are stored in the Togliatti Museum of local lore. The museum’s most striking project, which has earned well-deserved international fame, is the annual “Museum Picnic”, which is attended by designers, artists and art dealers from different countries.
The city’s residents and visitors also enjoy visiting the Technical Museum of the Volga Automobile Plant — AvtoVAZ, with about 450 exhibits in its collection. The collection includes models of weapons from the First and Second World Wars, as well as technology used by modern armies. One of the most unique exhibits is a real 90-metre long submarine. The local railway equipment collection is unique as well. This is, perhaps, the largest public collection of military equipment in Europe.
The city has many monuments. One of the most popular is the Monument to Devotion, which is dedicated to a dog patiently waiting for its owners, who died in a car crash. The dog sat in the same place for seven years.
Togliatti isn’t only a place for fun and relaxation, but offers possibilities of health rehabilitation as well. The city has a recreation area with numerous facilities, including health centres and dispensaries offering perfect conditions: high quality service, restaurants, a wellness bar, sports and exercise facilities, and a water park.
The city is a sailing and motor sports centre in the Samara region. The main kinds of sport are ice-hockey and tennis. It also offers ski resorts. In the winter, the international winter wind-surfing and snow-kiting festival and marathon called “Zhigulevskoye Sea” is held in the waters of the Volga.