Ufa (Russian: Уфа́ oo-FAH, Bashkirː ӨФӨ oe-FOE), the capital of Bashkortostan, is a large, interesting, and rapidly developing city, with a population of over 1.1 million in 2018. Ufa is exceptionally interesting for a traveler. The city is diverse architecturally and demographically, with influences from multiple distinct cultures and religions. Quite appropriate for a city at the junction of Europe and Asiaǃ
Life in Ufa swings from major highways to quiet streets, modern nightlife to rich cultural traditions. It also regularly hosts major international competitions and events.
Ufa is one of the shortest place names in Russia. As the locals say, "If you get only three letters, come visit usǃ" It is only three letters in the Bashkir language as well, ӨФӨ, the unusual appearance of which has given the city one of its odder nicknamesː City of Three Screws. Ufa is situated west of the Ural Mountains on the Belaya River (in Bashkir, Agidel River) at its confluence with the Ufa River. The toponym itself may mean “river” or simply “water”: opinions differ on this matter.
In a loose sense, Ufa may be one of the oldest cities in the Ural Region. Excavations indicate a permanent presence here back to the 4th century AD and, if the Bashkirs did in fact have medieval cities, archaeologists say it was either here or somewhere close by. Written sources from the time of the Golden Horde report a city on the Belaya River named Bashkort, which perhaps corresponds to the location of modern day Ufa, but there are no visible traces of it.
Under its modern three-letter incarnation, Ufa dates back to 1574 when Ivan the Terrible ordered the construction of a prison on the Belaya River, and later a small kremlin (however, nothing older than late 18th century buildings survived to the present). In its early history, Ufa more resembled a fortress than a city, occasionally assailed by rebellious Bashkirs. After the Pugachev Uprising in 1774, Ufa entered a long period of peace. The kremlin did burn down, after which stone construction began in earnest; however, construction was not very active, as Ufa had the lowly status of "county town" under the Orenburg Governate. In 1865, however, the Ufa Governate was formed, with the titular city made its capital. Around the same time the Samara-Zlatoust railway was completed (the old, historical Trans-Siberian route), which contributed significantly to the city's growth. Additionally, Catherine II gave the city's upward trajectory a major boost by naming it the capital of Russian Islam. In Ufa there are fewer old mosques than in Kazan, but there are old madrassas, which are exceedingly rare in Russia.
|Climate chart (explanation)|
Despite being the capital of the Ufa Governate and later the Bashkir ASSR, Ufa was until World War II a relatively modest Ural city with light industry along the lines of lumber and food production. In the post-war years the population boomed along with the growth of the region's oil and chemical industries. The face of modern-day Ufa is marred by unattractive Soviet buildings, and you could accidentally miss the rather large historic center if you went there for work, as the city center has shifted north along the riverbank over the years — the Belaya River and the steep topography of its bank have had a great influence on the city. Its length from north to south is over 50 km, while west to east it is less than 5 km.
The Old City is bounded in the west by ul. Aksakov, in the north by ul. Chernyshevsky, in the east by ul. Tsyurupa, and in the south reaches (intermittently) to the cliff over the Belaya River. The train station is north, almost on the outskirts. In the west, the old city turns into a very colorful one-story suburban area, stretching along the slope to the railway itself and beyond. In the east, a similar suburb is gradually giving way to modern buildings. In the north, along Lenin St, a gradual path through history is visible: from pre-revolutionary houses to provincial Stalinism and on to the concrete block-style housing from the time of Brezhnevian Stagnation. A highway, Prospekt Salavat Yulayev, leads to the north of the city; running parallel to it is Prospekt Oktyabrya, at the end of which is the Chernikovka district with Ufa's main mosque. Further on are the oil refineries. Apart from Chernikovka with its mosque and sound Soviet architecture (it was once a separate city), most travelers will be interested only in the historical center, although bad luck and especially the hunt for cheap lodgings can thrust you into odd corners of the city.
There are at least two modern centers. The older of the two, Verkhnetorgovaya square near Gostiny Dvor, is located in the southern part of the city. The newer center is along the middle portion of Prospekt Oktyabrya by the Park of Culture im. Gafuri, the Russian Dramatic Theater, and the circus.
- 1 Ufa International Airport (UFA IATA) (southeast of the city, not so far from the city center), ☏ . Ufa is one of the primary centers for flight traffic in the Urals. In addition to regular flights from Moscow (more than 10 times a day), there are direct flights from Saint Petersburg, Yekaterinburg, and many cities throughout Western Siberia (Surgut, Novy Urengoy, etc.) Small prop planes fly almost every day to Yekaterinburg, Rostov, Kazan, Perm, Orenburg, and Samara - the last, however, is easily reached by train. International flights go to Vienna, Prague, Istanbul (Turkish Airlines), Dushanbe, and Tashkent.
The airport of Ufa has been renovated is quite modern, with jet bridges, although the width of the corridors and the design of the halls sometimes leave much to be desired. There are two terminals at the airport - domestic and international. Coming in from the entrance, you'll see a kiosk with honey and Bashkir souvenirs, as well as a "Bashkir goose" («Башкирский гусь») kiosk that serves essentially the same function. To the right at the end of the corridor is a 24-hour Cafe Moskva, where you can sample Bashkir pastries at low prices, as well as salads and hot food. Also in the terminal are Shokoladnitsa for chocolate and a fresh-squeezed juice counter. On the second floor there is a small shop and post "office," which has the only computer with (supposedly) internet access. A round-the-clock left-luggage office on the lower level: 200 руб for the first day and 50 руб for each subsequent.
After security, there is one large hall with another souvenir shop and a "duty-free" store (which is absurd for domestic flights...). There is a counter on the left with coffee and tea (expensive). At the end of the hall there are a couple of cheaper cafeterias, indistinguishable from one another. There is no hot food. Throughout the terminal there is decent free Wi-Fi, with also a paid option, Ufanet.
There is a large area in front of the terminal building. Public transport leaves from the inconspicuous pavilion (автопавильона), located diagonally to the left from the terminal exit. Local minibuses as well as intercity buses collect passengers here. Inside the pavilion there is a 24-hour ticket office and the pleasant aroma of coffee from the machine in the cafeteria here, which is rare in Bashkortostan. There is no separate waiting room - it wouldn't fit - but you can sit at the cafeteria table.
Food options outside the airport are poor. 24-hour Cafe Flight in the square (diagonally to the right from the terminal exit) serves as a cafeteria with warm food of rather poor quality. A 24-hour restaurant should be in the hotel, perhaps it is better there. The airport hotel has been renovated and apparently not bad, but the prices are high: from 2400 руб for a single room (2015), ☏ .
City buses and minibuses (marshrutki) go to the airport from the city center. Coming from the center, find a bus/minibus with a sign for «по Ленина» or «Гостиный двор» (for example, routes 101 and 110). Minibus service stops after 22:00 or so, while Bashavtotrans buses stop service even earlier. The fare on the municipal bus is 39 руб. Via commercial minibus it's 40 руб, although drivers sometimes will add a surcharge for bulky baggage. Taxis are very common in Ufa, and the fare to the center of Ufa is about 350-500 руб (2018) and takes about 25-35 minutes, although farther-out destinations like Chernikovka are more expensive. There are also intercity buses heading south to Salavat, Sterlitamak, and Orenburg.
Ufa is on the trunk line Samara-Chelyabinsk, but there are fewer trains than you might expect. Trains leave 7-8 times per day for Samara (8 hours) and Chelyabinsk (9 hours). Trains in both directions will continue on - west to Moscow and east to Siberia and Kazakhstan. A few trains per day go to Ulyanovsk (13 hours). There are no passenger routes to Orenburg, except for an irregular and quite uncomfortable service, Ufa-Tashkent. There are no direct trains to Kazan or Izhevsk. Suburban/commuter trains only serve nearby small towns. Of Bashkortostan's larger cities, they only go to Sterlitamak.
2 Train Station (Железнодорожный вокзал), Вокзальная ул. 1, ☏ . Housed in a large new building with a mosque-like dome. It's 2 km to get to the main city streets from here, and you won’t immediately understand which way. This is due to Ufa's complex urban relief: the railway runs at the bottom of the mountain along the bank of the Belaya River, and the city is mainly located up on the hill. Leaving the station building and climbing another staircase, you will find yourself at a public transport stop, from which numerous minibuses (No. 74, 3, 251, 252) will take you to different parts of the city.
Inside, the station is clean, spacious, and modern. Ticketing is on the first floor, the waiting room on the second, and the third is a wide concourse with access to the platform. At basement level there is a left-luggage office 120 руб per day, 2013). The food situation is bleak — you will not find anything here except cafeterias with dried Bashkir pastries. There is no food in the vicinity of the station either.
Ufa is on the M5 Hwy, 460 km from Samara and 380 km from Chelyabinsk. Ufa is also the terminus of the M7 from Moscow (1350 km) via Kazan (500 km). The road south heads to Orenburg (350 km). North, it's 400 km to Izhevsk and about 500 km to Perm and Yekaterinburg.
The most frequent bus connection is with Orenburg, about 10 times per day, 7½ hours. A few times per day buses go to Yekaterinburg (13-14 hr), Perm (11 hr), Naberezhnye Chelny (6 hrs), and Kazan (10-11 hr). In all directions there are also private, express "marshrutki," which are generally 1½-2 times faster. To Samara and Chelyabinsk, it's more convenient to take a train. Lastly, there are buses and marshrutki to Izhevsk, but the time to get there varies widely, depending on the ferry across the Kama River. Another option is to cross the Kama by elektrichka from Sarapul and then catch a bus to Ufa, which is easy to do from Yanaul or Neftekamsk.
3 South Bus Station (Южный автовокзал), ул. Рихарда Зорге, 13, ☏ . Contrary to the name, the bus station is in the center of the city, not the south. You can get between here and the train station by either bus 101 or minibus 251. It's a renovated Soviet-era building with plenty of stalls and snack bars as well as a small waiting room.
Theoretically, in Ufa there is also a North Bus Station 4 North bus station (Северный автовокзал), ул. Кемеровская, 82: Черниковка. (Kemerovskaya St., 82: Chernikovka), but in 2013 it closed for repairs (there is a joke in Russian about the phrase, "temporarily closed for repairs"). But since the buses are all still running from the South Bus Station, there's a chance it will never reopen. Buses heading north toward Birsk still make a stop at the former North Bus Station. There is also a ticket office in operation.
There has been no regular passenger service along the Belaya Rover for a long time and there never will be. From time to time there are cruise ships of the Bashkir River Shipping Company from Ufa to the Volga somewhere, and a couple of times a year cruises from Moscow or Nizhny Novgorod to Ufa and/or Perm. Prices for Moscow cruises are extraordinarily high.
- 5 Friendship Monument Pier (Причал у монумента Дружбы), ул. Набережная. The main city marina for pleasure boats. Ideally, cruise ships should also be moored here, but often because of the low water level they stop at Safronovskaya pier further downriver.
- 6 Safronovskaya Pier (Сафроновская пристань), Сафроновский пр. 4. Pier near the cargo port.
By public transport
Marshrutkas and buses go all over the city and run very frequently. These can be hard to figure out if you can't read Russian so look up the route on yandex before heading out. Pay right before getting off, not as you get on. The drivers will make change for 50- or 100-ruble notes. Transit essentially shuts down after 22:00. Only a few minibuses continue to operate, until 00:40. There are trams and trolleybuses here as well, but they offer far more limited service than the buses and minibuses.
Fares are paid to the driver or conductor. Cash fares are 20 руб on trams and trolleybuses, 25 руб for buses (January 2018). On the minibuses, the price varies from 20-40 руб, depending on the length of the route and time of day (in the evening the price rises).
Taxis are a very efficient method of getting around Ufa and are easily summoned by phone. Lider Taxi (☏ ) and Motor-Servis (☏ ) provide the price over the phone, based on trip distance. Yandex. Taxi, Uber, Gett, and Maxim cars can all be ordered by smartphone app and may be cheaper than taxis. The average taxi waiting time is just 4 minutes from the time of order. Catching a taxi on the street is problematic, since all local services are designed for phone or internet dispatch. Hailing off the street can also be more expensive than by calling .
Ufa suffers from traffic congestion and a lack of parking. In the center, paid parking is available at Gostiny Dvor on the ul. Kommunisticheskoy side. On most streets, parking is free, but check signs to make sure it's permitted.
What to see in Ufa is a tricky question. On one hand, it is easy to spend more a day here, especially if you visit Chernikovka and other areas outside the center. On the other hand, there no one well-known attraction in the city. Perhaps the best known sight is the Monument to Salavat Yulaev, but for the average traveler, it's just another monument, albeit one with a beautiful setting overlooking the river. It's also worth visiting the National Museum, Friendship Monument, and the Fountain of Seven Girls. There are many Orthodox churches, but the oldest and most interesting ones were destroyed during Soviet times. The situation is even more dire with regards to Ufa's mosques — almost all of them are rebuilt. Older stone architecture in the center fared better under the Soviets, but thinned out in the 2000s courtesy of "urban development," and anyway was inferior to larger cities like Kazan or Yekaterinburg. Historic houses along Aksakova, Krupskaya, and Mustaya Karim were almost all demolished. There is another architectural travesty flourishing locally, known as “facadeism”: when only the front wall of the building is preserved, and a multi-story, glass-concrete monster of an office, hotel, or shopping center is built around it. The result looks about the same as the mustache painted on the Mona Lisa, ridiculous and sad.
Nonetheless, Ufa is an interesting city, and walking around it is well worth your time. Ufa's main attraction is in the details, whether a small, but exceptional monument, or an elaborate fence revealing an ordinary red-brick house as a historic madrasa. Of particular interest are the ornate wooden houses found even in the very center of the city. There is a good concentration of these along ul. Gogol. Other particularly colorful areas for a walk are the residential areas on the steep parts of the slope over the river, like the Niznhy Novgorod and Trunilov settlements.
Private houses adjoining the center of the Sloboda dominate, usually not of interest in themselves, but composing in constantly colorful areas: those that are located on the steep slopes above the river, like Nizhny Novgorod or Trunilov settlements. Finally, modern Bashkir architecture, using elements of Bashkortostan's national style, is of interest. Its best examples are the National Theater Building, the Dynamo stadium adjacent to it and the Lyalya-Tyulpan Mosque.
- Statue of Salavat Yulaev - In the summer there are beautiful gardens around the statue and in the winter there are huge ice slides.
- Victory Park - Park dedicated to the Great Patriotic War located in the Chorney Kofka part of Ufa. It has many monuments, artillery guns and a tank.
- The House Museum of Lenin - Dostoevsky, 78 - Entry: 25 руб.
- 1 Lenin Monument, Lenin Square (at the intersection of ul. Lenina and Kommunisticheskaya, near Gostiny Dvor). The first monument to Lenin in Ufa was erected in the autumn of 1924. Like all early monuments to Lenin, the project emphasized global socialist revolution. Lenin stood against the backdrop of a marble slab, crowned by a globe entangled in chains of imperialism (Nizhny Tagil has a similar monument, with Lenin standing on a globe). In the late 1930s, the state of the monument was declared in disrepair, so the leader’s figure was replaced by a typical sitting one, which together with the marble slab took on a humorous aspect (Lenin looked crushed by thoughts about the fate of the revolution) and gave rise to the joke, "In 1937 they even put Lenin in prison." By the end of the 1980s, the seated monument was in disrepair. It was removed, but not replaced, due to lack of money and political change. For a long time there was no Lenin in Lenin Square, and the globe stood alone on the slab, seemingly freed from the chains of imperialism by then, without any revolution. Finally, in 2011, the city installed this new statue, exactly on Halloween — almost the first monument to Lenin of the 21st century.
- 2 Gostiny Dvor (Гостиный двор), Verkhnetorgovaya Square. One of the largest shopping centres in Ufa is also an architectural monument. It was built in the first half of the 19th century on the main market square. This square was surrounded by merchant mansions, some of which have survived to modern times, albeit converted into something like a McDonald's: for example, three two-story buildings with corner towers from Lenin Street. In the summer, there is a fountain in front of the market in the form of waterfall flowing from granite bowls.
- 3 Gentry Assembly Building (Здание дворянского собрания), ул. Ленина, 14. This three-story, mid-19th century mansion is noteworthy because the great Russian opera singer, Fyodor Shalyapin, began his career here. Financially constrained, the young singer rented rooms in wooden houses on the outskirts - first in Trunilovskaya and then in the Bishop's settlement (none of these houses have been preserved). The young Shalyapin is immortalized with a 2007 monument. It is alleged that this is the only monument depicting the singer as a youth. Across the road is an interesting building from the beginning of the 20th century - the Aksakov National House (now the Opera and Ballet Theater).
- 4 House of Cooperation (Bashpotrebsoyuz) (Дом кооперации (Башпотребсоюз)), ул. Ленина, 26. This massive corner building with a seven-story tower was built in 1935-1936, and it's one of the best examples of Soviet architecture in Ufa. The first elevator in the city was unveiled here. The building is associated with the proverb, "When there is money, in Ufa we walk, when there is no money - in Chishma we sit," referring to two former eateries here, Restaurant "Ufa" and an eatery named "Chishma." The joke, though, comes mainly at the expense of a nearby and rather poor village, Chishma.
- 5 Temple of the Savior (Спасский храм), ул. Октябрьской революции, 37. This small copy of the Kazan Cathedral om Saint Petersburg in a one-story Ufa suburb looks really out of place. Built in 1824, the temple was ruined during Soviet times, but now is slowly being restored.
- 6 Demidov Home (Демидовский дом), ул. Октябрьской революции, 57/1. This small, one-story mansion and one-time home to the Demidov miners has magnificent stucco molding and is believed to be the oldest building in the city. At the latest, it may have been built in the early 1770s (since in 1774 the commander Suvorov had already stopped here, sent to Ufa to suppress the Pugachev riot). There are tales of Suvorov's visit suggesting that the future field marshal secretly rode into the city under cover of the night, and then bribed the sentries and secretly inspected the stables.
- 7 Ufa Cathedral (Temple of the Nativity of Mary) (Храм Рождества Богородицы (Казанско-Богородский)), ул. Кирова, 102. The largest and most visible Orthodox Church in Ufa received the status of cathedral only in the 1990s. It was built 1903–09, and the focus was not on the temple, but rather on the tall, tiered bell tower, which looks down on Kirov St. You can get an interesting view/shot of the church through a ravine on the side of ul. Oktyabrsky Revolyutsy.
- 8 Mayakovsky Square (Сквер Маяковского). A small, quiet, pleasant park at the intersection of Tsyurupy and Kommunistichesky streets. The square is filled with flowers, and there is also a monument to the great Soviet poet, Mayakovsky.
- 9 Realnoye School (Реальное училище), ул. Коммунистическая, 23. The largest educational institution of pre-revolutionary Ufa was in this huge, three-story building on the corner of Kommunisticheskaya and Aksakova Streets. Opposite the building is a very pretty, wooden Bukhartovsky House (48 Aksakova St.) On Aksakova itself, there are several more interesting wooden houses with carved platbands. Check out house ul. Aksakova, 46 at the same intersection, where the blue platbands stand out brightly against the white walls.
Trunilovskaya Sloboda and ul. Tukayev
The eastern part of Tukayev Street is where the standard provincial city layout suddenly shifts to private one-story buildings. The oldest mosque in the city stands right on this border. Trunilovskaya Sloboda (sloboda translates very loosely to suburban settlement) is bounded by Salavat Yulaev Avenue, Tsyurupa, Tukayev, and Zaynulla Rasuleva Streets. In the 19th century it was known for poverty and lawlessness. One of the muftis, tired of observing this disgraceful state from his window, supposedly set out to buy up property throughout Trunilov Sloboda in order to repopulate it with more honorable residents. His success is hard to measure, and the buildings here were clearly not for noblemen, but lots of attractive wooden houses from the beginning of the last century are preserved, which makes this area nice for a stroll (it also has good views over the river).
The boulevard on Tukayev Street is known as Sofyushkina Alley, named after Sofya Aksakova, the wife of the former Ufa governor.
- 10 Old Ufa Mosque (Tukayevskaya Mosque) (Первая соборная мечеть (Тукаевская мечеть)), ул. Тукаева, 52. The history of the oldest extant mosque in Ufa is poorly known. Nonetheless, for many years this was the main mosque in Russia, since the Central Muslim Board created by Catherine II was located in Ufa. The honorific title of the "Center of Russian Islam" was bestowed upon Ufa (notably not Kazan) because of its location on the border between Europe and Asia. There was, however, no proper infrastructure in the city at that time (and the share of Muslims barely reached 30%), and thus, in the early years, the mufti was actually holding worship in his own house. In 1830 a simple mosque was built in the style of classicism; it later was expanded and reconstructed at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries. The author of the original project is unknown, and in general, the oldest Ufa mosque is more modest than any in Kazan, but it is surrounded by tombs of the Ufa muftis with inscriptions on their tombstones in the Arabic script, which is quite unusual for Russia. The Central Board of Muslims (1860-1863) was located in the neighboring building at ul. Tukaev, 50, and the red-brick building across the road (ul. Tukayev, 39) belonged to the Usmaniya Madrasah (1906).
- 11 Salavat Yulayev Garden (Сад им. Салавата Юлаева), ул. Салавата. This city garden was built here in 1900. Over the course of the 20th century, it went through four name changes, ultimately landing on Salavat Yulayev, the Bashkir national hero, a warrior-poet who participated in Pugachev's Rebellion. The shaded walkways are exact copies of the original wooden ones, and the cast-iron gates have been preserved from the original garden. The beautiful suspension bridge, known as the Lovers Bridge, was built in the 1950s.
- 12 House of the Republic (Дом республики / Дом правительства), ул. Тукаева. 46. This gray, concrete building (1979), known in Ufa as the "White House," is the epitome of the Soviet administrative building. In addition to the observation deck behind the building, note the wall of high reliefs, designed to give the House of the Republic at least a little Bashkir flavor, but that goal is undercut by their location, noticeably further down along Tukayev Street. The reliefs depict the daily life of the Bashkir people. Separate wooden houses down the slope are what remain of the Bishop’s Sloboda, named after the Bishop’s house, which once looked out over the river where the House of the Republic stands today.
- 13 Lenin Gardens (Matrosov Gardens) (Парк им. Ленина) (by the House of the Republic). In the large square square between Tukayev and Zaki Validi streets, you can easily guess where the Cathedral of the Resurrection was blown up by the Soviets in 1932. Today the park has a number of interesting monuments as well as the grave of the famous Bashkir and Tatar writer, Mazhit Gafuri. The corner building on the Tukayev St side (ul. Tukayev, 23) is the former governor's house (1849-1850), one of the best examples of classicism in Ufa. The Gafuri Bashkir Theater adjacent to Lenin Park is also an excellent example of modern Bashkir national architecture.
Also, don't overlook the 14 Aksakov House Museum. and 15 Tyulkin House Museum. . The first is an 18th century wooden house (quite old for Ufa), and the second itself would be unremarkable, but for its pretty setting above the ravine, away from residential development.
Trinity Hill & Old Ufa
The area east of Ufa is a little off the beaten path, but colorful in its own way. It was here, on Trinity Hill at the mouth of the Sutoloka River, that the Ufa Kremlin once stood, and the area behind it is known as Old Ufa, where the first settlements were located. However, neither the Kremlin itself its surrounding buildings have survived the passage of time.
- 16 Friendship Monument (Монумент Дружбы), ул. Заки Валиди / Октябрьской Революции. A granite obelisk stands atop Trinity Hill at the site of the old Kremlin, and later of the oldest church in Trinity in Ufa. The church was blown up in 1956, and the monument was erected a year later on the 400th anniversary Bashkiria's voluntary annexation to Russia (1557-1957). This is a good example of Soviet monumental art. Granite stela are connected by gray braces, alluding to unity and friendship. At the foot of the monument, two female figures represent Bashkiria and Russia. The monument has a beautiful view over the river and the city center, looking over the top of Salavat Yulaev Avenue.
- 17 St. Sergius Cathedral (Свято-Сергиевский кафедральный собор), ул. Бехтерева, 2. This 1868 wooden church was main temple of the Streltsy Sloboda. It gained cathedral status because the church remained in operation through the Soviet era. Below, the hillside is a neighborhood of private wooden houses that is yet untouched by modern construction.
- 18 Church of the Intercession, ул. Мингажева, 4. Built in 1817-1823 in the style of classicism, this church is both stylish and at the same time restrained. Its in a quiet neighborhood of private houses, but has somewhat jarring views of the multi-story residential buildings to the southeast and the huge, new Salavat Yulaev mosque to the northwest.
- 19 Ikhlas Mosque (Мечеть «Ихлас»), Сочинская ул., 43. The mosque is a repurposed Soviet cinema and accordingly looks nothing like a mosque. You'll recognize it by the large crescent sculpture in front.
The hill on which the city center is located is sometimes called the Ufa Slope (Уфимский косогор). Its highest part is located to the west of the central streets and is covered partly by modern buildings and partly by the old Muslim cemetery. The most famous landmark of Ufa, the Salavat Yulayev Monument, is located here.
- 20 Salavat Yulayev Monument (Памятник Салавату Юлаеву), ул. Гафури. Salavat Yulayev, a participant in the Pugachev Rebellion, is considered to be the national hero of Bashkiria. This monument to him was erected in 1967, rare in Russia, still has no sarcastic local moniker, which can only be considered a sign of universal respect for the hero. Salavat is immortalized here, hand raised up upon a horse, set dramatically on a cliff overlooking the Belaya River. There is an observation deck near the monument with excellent views of the river (the view of the city, though, is obscured by the monument). The alley leading to the monument is the most touristy part Ufa, with Muslim books and souvenirs sold in improvised yurts. There is also a simple cafe with Bashkir pastries and tea.
- 21 Telecentere (Телецентр), ул. Гафури, 9/1. The terminus of city transport and the principal landmark of the southern part of the city, the three-story Telecenter (1959) stands at the end of ul. Zaki Validi. A 192-m broadcasting tower rises above right behind it, giving the funny-looking illusion that it rises right out of the building. It does not, of course, but the juxtaposition makes the building very recognizable.
- 22 Old Water Tower (Старая водопроводная башня), Малая Водопроводная ул.. The semicircular dome atop this pre-revolutionary water tower (1899-1900) does not signify a mosque, but rather an observatory, added in 1957. Now the tower is abandoned and is being destroyed, and there are plans to create a water supply museum in it.
- 23 Muslim Cemetery and Gufran Mosque (Мусульманское кладбище и мечеть «Гуфран»), ул. Алтайская. One of the oldest city cemeteries is located behind the television center, at the highest point of the Ufa Slope. It was supposedly established in the second half of the 19th century. Historic, pre-revolutionary graves have survived to the present day. This cemetery is also something of a nature memorial, with flora characteristic of the Bashkir forest-steppe — because it was not customary to clear graves, plant flowers, and generally change the landscape. The cemetery's Gufran Mosque is modern (1994). It stands on the site of the wooden Fifth Cathedral Mosque, destroyed by fire in 1960.
Nizhny Novgorod Sloboda
West of Ufa's center, the Nizhny Novgorod Sloboda doesn't have any particularly notable attractions, but it is perhaps the most picturesque part of Ufa, with pretty wooden houses along the slope and wonderful views over the Belaya River and the dense forests beyond. It is especially beautiful here in the winter, when the frosty fog merges with the smoke from the chimneys, and time seems to shift a hundred years back, as though there was no asphalt, no high-rise buildings, or other signs of modernity. Just like 100 years ago, the main street of the district - Traktovaya-Uritskaya - is paved with cobblestones. If you turn onto the side streets, you will inevitably find yourself on paths that either stretch along the slope or climb uphill steeply. The sloboda was named after people from Nizhny Novgorod, but it also could be noted that it really is lower in relation to the center of Ufa (nizhny = lower).
- 24 Church of the Exaltation of the Holy Cross (Крестовоздвиженская церковь), ул. Лесопильная, 2. This wooden, five-domed church (1892-93) was conveniently at the bottom of the slope, near the railroad. Next to it are several old brick buildings: a school for the "deaf and dumb" and the abbot's house.
- 25 Galia Madrasa (Медресе «Галия»), ул. Чернышевского, 5. One of the many Ufa madrassas almost hangs over the Nizhny Novgorod Sloboda. This is a very typical brick-style building, but the religious nature of the institution is immediately revealed by the patterns on the gate. There is an observation deck nearby.
North of Center
- 26 "House of the Martens" sculpture (Скульптура «Дом куницы») (at the entrance to Yakutov Park from ul. Lenina). The marten (Martes martes, a cute animal related to otters and ferrets) is a symbol of Ufa, owing to the fact 17th century taxes were paid with its skins — there was even a type of coin during that era named for it, the kuna. There are two martens playing around a "house," with one of them looking in questioningly, giving the statue its popular name, "Where's my money?" This subject is based on the legend, according to which some martens turned into mythical creatures and played a role in the founding of the city. The sculpture was unveiled in the summer of 2010 at the Gostiny Dvor, and in 2014 it was moved to its current location.
- 27 Yakutov Cultural Park, between ул. Ленина & Карла Маркса. This city park and gardens was established in 1904 and prior to the revolution was called the Garden of the Temperance Society. The park owes its current name to a local revolutionary, Yakutov. It's a small park, but has a number of family-friendly attractions and activities, like Soldier Lake with a boat station and a Children's Railway, 1.8 km long.
- 28 Lutheran Church (Лютеранская кирха), улица Белякова, 2, ✉ firstname.lastname@example.org. Opened in 1910 for German immigrants from the Baltic states, but from the 1930s until 2000 the Soviets used it as a warehouse. In 2016, an organ was added.
- 29 Monument to the October Revolution "6:55" (Памятник героям Октябрьской революции и гражданской войны), ул. 50-летия Октября / ул. 8 марта. A blacksmith, a Red Army soldier and a peasant-horseman rushing forward serve as a useful landmark: you'll need to hop off here for the railway station, otherwise the tram will take you to the southern bus station and further to the bedroom communities on the outskirts. Locals call the monument "6:55," for its location right across from a store that closes strictly at seven o'clock!
- 30 PL Kosterina Country Home (Загородный дом П.И. Костерина), ул. Рихарда Зорге, 15 (рядом с Южным автовокзалом). This beautiful wooden mansion is worth a stroll from the bus station. This corner two-story building with a large octagonal tower was built around 1890. It could not have better fit in with the first Ufa airport, which was located in this area until the mid-1960s.
- 31 Monument to the Janitor (Памятник дворнику). A life-size, bronze statue paying homage to the janitorial profession in front of the Mir Shopping Mall.
The name Chernikovka, from the name of the founder of the Ufa fortress, Ivan Chernikova, has no relationship whatsoever to blueberries (черники cherniki), which are nowhere to be found around here. This section of the city was built in the 1930s, along with a motor and boiler-turbine plant. The area was first included in Ufa, then in 1944 became the separate city of Chernikovsk, but again rejoined the city in 1956, at that time with the same population (215,000 and 265,000 people, respectively). Modern-day Chernikovka is by all appearances a separate city, with a historic center and separate tram network, but it is with some justification regarded as a somewhat run-down, working-class outskirts to the city proper.
The easiest way to get to Chernikovka is to take one of the minibuses on ul. Lenina. Look for ones signed "Первомайская улица" or "Черниковка." You'll need to get off near Lyalya-Tulpan Mosque and Victory Park or Ordzhonikidze Square. From the center of Ufa, you'll need at least 40 minutes. You can get to Chernikovka more quickly via elektrichka (commuter rail), but trips are few and far between, and you'll still have a walk from the station (get off at Parkovaya, as the Chernikovka is actually far from anything interesting in the district.
- 32 Lyalya-Tyulpan Mosque (Мечеть Ляля-Тюльпан), ул. Комарова, 5. Ufa's principal mosque was built 1989-1998.Two 53 meter minarets resemble tulip buds beginning to bloom, while the building itself is notable for its sharp triangular designs. Unfortunately, the view from the city is obscured by trees. When there is no active service, anyone is allowed inside, but the interior, unlike the distinctive exterior, is not particularly noteworthy.
- 33 Grieving Mother Monument (Памятник «Скорбящая мать») (ул. Комарова / at the beginning of ул. Космонавтов). Monument to mothes of soldiers who died in local conflicts. Opened in 2003, it is part of Victory Park, located just north.
- 34 Victory Park (Парк Победы), ул. Комарова / начало ул. Первомайской. Chernikovsk needed its own park of culture and recreation, and it was laid out on the high bank of the Belaya River in 1947, under the name "Oil Workers' Park." Later, the park was given an ideological bent, housing a museum of military victories, a collection of military equipment, and a rather expressive "Monument to the Heroes of the Soviet Union A. Matrosov and M. Gubaidullin." The sculpture at the foot of the stele depicts the moment of their self-sacrifice in battle. From the monument there is an excellent view of the river.
- 35 Ordzhonikidze House of Culture (Дом культуры им. Орджоникидзе), ул. Первомайская, 14. This grand Stalinist monument has three porticoes, one in the center and two on the sides. In the square in front of the House of Culture there is a 1955 monument to Ordzhonikidze (a Bolshevik revolutionary hero). Pervomayskaya Street goes further towards the river, but its front part impressive post-war buildings are all to the east of the House of Culture.
- 36 Eight-story buildings (Восьмиэтажки), ул. Первомайская, 26 и 27. Exemplary of the Stalinist "gate-composition," post-war architecture, these buildings are at the intersection with ul. Ulyanovykh, one block from the Ordzhonikidze House of Culture. For Ufa, these buildings are special, since at the time of construction (1955) they were the tallest in the city. From the eight-story front, the buildings stretch for several blocks. Just past them, at the border with the "historical center" of Chernikovsk, there is a large "Pobeda" Cinema (1948) - another good example of Stalinist architecture.
Zelyonaya Roshcha (Зелёная Роща) is the historical name for the southeast part of the city, often referred to as "Zelyonkoi."
- 37 Botanical Gardens (Ботанический сад), ул. Менделеева, 195. 10:00 – 18:00 daily. Nice flower beds, trees and shrubs, and tropical plants in a series of greenhouses. Entrance, including the greenhouse: 150 руб.
- 38 Lemonarium (Уфимский лимонарий), ул. Менделеева, 152/2, ☏ . Tours: Tu-Su 10:20, 11:00, 12:00, 14:00, 15:00, and 16:00. A quick Google search suggests that this is the only "lemonarium" in the world, or at least the only one you can visit. It's also the first place anywhere in Russia to grow lemons. The nursery grows not just lemons, but also a number of other tropical plants rare in the Bashkortostan climate: bananas, kiwis, avocados, grapefruits, tangerines, etc. The greenhouses cover a full hectare, and there is a 20-30 minute tour (Russian language only, naturally), after which you can buy some seedlings. The lemon trees are in full bloom in February. 80 руб.
- 1 Bashkortostan National Museum (Национальный музей Республики Башкортостан), ул. Советская, 14, ☏ . Su Tu-F 11:00-18:00, Sa 13:00-21:00. The main museum of the republic is located in the former building of the Peasant Land Bank (1905), which is interesting as the best Art Nouveau monument in Ufa. A full inspection of the museum will take at least two hours, since each of the obligatory departments of the local history museum (history, archeology, nature, ethnography) is presented here in several halls: for example, in the ethnographic one they will tell about the Bashkirs and other peoples inhabiting the republic - Tatars, Chuvashes, Mari. One of the interesting exhibits is a model Kapova Cave with rock paintings. 150 руб.
Mega is a huge mall outside of the city with an Ikea, Ashan Hypermarket, H&M, and many other stores.
- Mado Bistro, ul. Lenin 16 (Just opposite to McDonald's). Recommended. Offers meals for about 200R.
- Tasty Tramcar (in the square outside of Guest's Yard (mall) on Lenin). Only open in the summer. Good cheap schwarma and donuts. The schwarma is like a Russian burrito. ~70 руб per person.
- Lido, Pushkin, 94 or Mendeleev, 201b. Don't eat anything from the hot bar.
In the summer, there are good places for shashlik everywhere, usually in squares or outside of malls. ~300 руб per person.
- Indochina, ul. Communist 80. A great Chinese restaurant, one of the few places in Ufa where you can get something that is spicy. They have normal Western-style Chinese dishes such as egg rolls, sweet and sour pork, etc. and a few unusual things as well. ~500 руб per person.
- BeerBerry, ul. Komsomol 140. European and Japanese food and good beer, and the wheat beer is particularly good. The menu has pictures so it's easy to order if you don't speak Russian. ~600 руб per person.
- Raisins, ul. Gogol 60/1. Great Uzbek food and reasonably priced hookahs. They have belly dancers and live Eastern music on some nights. ~500 руб per person.
- Brau Haus (inside of "Flames of Ufa" entertainment complex.). European restaurant and microbrewery. Good dark beer, sausages and other food. On weekends they have live music but there's a 200 руб per person entrance fee, and the music is not that good. ~500 руб per person without the entrance fee..
- 1st Kalyannaya.
- A Kafe.
- LaRuch. For a nice dinner, go here. It is not cheap, but it is really nice.
- McHighlander, ul. Karl Marx 24/1. Scottish-themed restaurant and microbrewery. Good Scottish eggs and excellent decor. ~800 руб per person.
- Svoya companiya.
There are several nice hotels in Ufa: President Hotel, Bashkortostan Hotel, Amaks-Tourist Hotel and Azimut, but the best are Eurasia Hotel, President Hotel and Bashkortostan Hotel as they are the most comfortable. President Hotel is in the forest zone of the city. Bashkortostan Hotel is in the historical part of the city on Lenina Street.
Lime Ufa offers short term apartments.
- 1 [dead link] Holiday Inn Ufa, 2 Verkhnetorgovaya Square, ☏ , ✉ email@example.com. 193 comfortable and modern rooms and suites, restaurants and cafes, flexible conference and banquet facilities and gym. First hotel in Russia with Open Lobby Concept.
Ufa is a fairly tranquil city, and "disadvantaged" neighborhoods are located far from the center. Nevertheless, it pays to be prudent after dark while walking outside the center, if only because small streets are poorly lit, especially in one-story, residential neighborhoods.
In Ufa, the ban on consumption of alcoholic beverages in public places is taken seriously, and you risk a fine.
Almost all Bashkir sights are in the Ural Mountains in the eastern part of the republic. Although the way there lies through Ufa, the distance to the most interesting attractions, such as the Shulgan-Tash Nature Reserve, Iremel Natural Park, and resorts in the vicinity of Beloretsk, are all more than 200 km away, so day trips are tough. Sterlitamak the one-time capital and second largest city of Bashkiria, is probably the most reasonable place for a day trip. It has moderately interesting architecture (including some very colorful wooden buildings), interesting mosques, and distinctive shikhan chalk hills nearby on the steppe. Another option would be Chishmy, a small village, which has two medieval mausoleums, which are themselves the oldest architectural monuments in the whole of Bashkiria.
By overnight train, you can go to Samara - one of the most interesting cities in the Volga Region - or to Zlatoust, a city picturesquely set in the mountains, from which it is not far to severe, industrial Chelyabinsk.