Ufa is the capital of the Republic of Bashkortostan, a multinational city with a population of one million, combining the features of different cultures and religions. The city is located in the valley of the Belaya River under the supervision of the country's tallest equestrian statue. Ufa is well known to international volleyball fans as a venue for FIVB Volleyball Nations League matches.
Ufa is located in the foothills of the Urals, at a distance of 1,355 km from Moscow. Travelling by car from the Russian capital takes 19-20 hours, with the trains making the journey in 22.5 hours. Other than Moscow, Ufa is connected by rail to Samara and Chelyabinsk, then to Siberia and Kazakhstan, as well as to the south of Russia - Adler, Anapa, Krasnodar and Simferopol. Ufa International Airport receives flights from St. Petersburg, Ekaterinburg, Surgut, Novy Urengoy, Nizhnevartovsk, Sochi, Anapa and Rostov-on-Don.
History and landmarks
Ufa is considered to be one of the oldest cities in the Urals. Excavations confirm that Bashkir tribes lived on the territory of modern Ufa in the Middle Ages. In 1557, Bashkiria voluntarily became part of the Russian state, guaranteeing protection from military raids. The date of Ufa's foundation is considered to be 1574. During the reign of Ivan the Terrible, a detachment of Moscow archers landed here to build a fortress. Ufa was a small military border settlement until the early 18th century. Then the active expansion of the borders of Russia to the southeast began, and Ufa gradually turned into a crafts and merchant city.
The main landmark of Ufa is the monument to the national hero of the Bashkirs, Salavat Yulaev. A unique equestrian statue, standing almost 10 meters high and weighing 40 tons, is installed on only three anchor points - it is definitely worth seeing live. Salavat Yulaev, known to every resident of the Republic, became a hero of the events of the Peasant War of 1773-75. He headed a military detachment to fight Emelyan Pugachev, but eventually went over to the side of the rebels and fought against government troops. The brave warrior Salavat Yulaev became a national hero who fought for justice. Legends and traditions were written about him, a city, district and streets were named after him, an order and a republican award were established in his honour.
The architecture of Ufa united Russian merchant and oriental traditions. Construction was carried out spontaneously, without any plan and for a long time, Ufa remained a small wooden city, which is why constant fires became a big problem - one of them in the middle of the 18th century destroyed the old Ufa Kremlin, which was never restored.
Souvenirs will leave pleasant memories of the city: the famous honey, which is popular not only in Russia, but also in European countries due to its beneficial properties and incredible taste; the traditional local candy chak-chak, which is also made using honey; unusual-tasting horse meat sausage - kazylyk; accessories with a national flavour: national Bureka headdresses and musical instruments resembling a flute - kurai and kubyz.
The hospitable capital of Bashkiria welcomes tourists at any time of the year: both in summer, when the city is buried in the green of squares and parks, and in winter, when Ufa sparkles with lights on the eve of the New Year holidays. The city leads an active sports life, regularly hosting major international and Russian events.
In Soviet times, when volleyball began its journey across the country, many cities of Bashkiria held massive competitions in parks. The more recent history of volleyball in Ufa is written by the Urals club, which is one of the three strongest and largest sports clubs in the Republic. The teams Bashkortostan Oilman and Energetik united in 2007, under this name, combining success and productivity, stability and efficiency. In 2012, the Urals volleyball players entered the top five strongest Russian teams and earned a place in European competitions, a year later showing their best result in winning silver in the Superleague and the European CEV Challenge Cup.
Ufa twice hosted stages of the FIVB Volleyball Nations League with Russia, Iran, China and Brazil meeting at the Ufa-Arena in June 2018, followed a year later with a pool formed of Russia, USA, Italy and Portugal. Locals and visitors responded with great interest to the arrival of world volleyball in Ufa, filling the stands to capacity at almost every occasion - hardly surprising as matches of this level have not been played in the city very often.