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Tour the Interesting City of Izhevsk

Located on the banks of the Izh River, the city of Izhevsk is the capital of the Udmurt Republic of Russia. While today visitors are free to come and go in Izhevsk, during the Soviet era it had the status of being a ‘closed city’ with restricted access for foreigners due to the manufacture of military equipment and weapons that took place in and around the city. The notorious AK-47 assault rifle was designed by Mikhail Kalashnikov and manufactured in Izhevsk. Kalashnikov, who was born in 1919 in the Southern Altai Region of Russia, reportedly still lives in Izhevsk. Although armaments are still produced in the city, the need for secrecy has diminished and there are a number of interesting tourism attractions for visitors to enjoy.

Izhevsk is one of the cities participating in the Intercultural City program initiated as a joint project by the Council of Europe and the European Commission. Other participating cities are Berlin Neukölln (Germany), Lublin (Poland), Lyon (France), Melitopol (Ukraine), Neuchâtel (Switzerland), Oslo (Norway), Patras (Greece), Reggio Emilia (Italy), Subotica (Serbia), and Tilburg (the Netherlands). The project aims to address problems arising from cultural diversity within cities created by an increase in migration between countries, and to find workable solutions to these problems.

From an education point of view, Izhevsk is considered to be the scientific and cultural center of the Udmurt Republic, with a multitude of public education facilities from kindergarten through to university. Quality education has a long history in Izhevsk, with the Udmurt State University having celebrated its 75th anniversary in 2006. Architecturally and historically noteworthy buildings include the Neoclassical Alexander Nevsky Cathedral built in 1823, and the St. Michael’s Cathedral from the early 1900s, which was destroyed by the Bolsheviks and rebuilt in 2007.

Museums provide insight into the history and culture of a city and its surroundings, and visitors to Izhevsk have a number of museums to choose from. The Kalashnikov Museum focuses on the history and development of weaponry, while the Galina Kulakova Museum honors the legendary cross country skier. The Presidential Palace is a popular attraction, and art lovers should make a point of visiting the Gallery of National Arts and the Galeria Arts Center. Theaters include the State Opera and Ballet Theater of the Udmurt Republic, the State Puppet Theater of the Udmurt Republic and the National State Theater of the Udmurt Republic.

Originally created in 1760 to serve the iron works in Izhevsk, the 24 square kilometer artificial reservoir known as Izhevsk Pond still serves some industries, but also has an esplanade for recreation and leisure activities. Visitors have the option of a leisure trip by boat from Izhevsk to the nearby village of Volozhka, and the walkway with its boulevards and squares is popular with young and old alike. A special feature of the esplanade is the ‘Friendship of Nations’ monument marking 400 years of the Udmurt Republic’s inclusion in the Russian Federation.


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