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The birthplace of Vladimir Lenin and a bunker of museums, Ulyanovsk was founded in the 17th Century under the name of "Simbirsk". Dubbed "Nobles' Nest" because of the number of young aristocrats spending dreamy summers of breakfast at midday and long naps in the afternoons before nights of revelry. The city is grey and uninspiring with mediocre sights celebrating Lenin. Sitting on the bank of the Volga River, this is the one stunning vista to celebrate in the whole of the city.
The city has one foot on the left bank and the other in the shadow of Venets Hill where you will find the historical center. The buildings hide in the trees of the steep slope where it is said that the poet Pushkin would walk. The wonderful historical and religious buildings of Simbirsk were predominantly destroyed during the 1920-1930s for being "damned tsarism". At the end of 1960 when Ulyanovsk replaced the silhouette of Simbirsk, the entire city was reconstructed at the cost of the historical area. The city today is divided into 4 districts: Zheleznodorozhny is in the south, Zavolzhsky includes 3 parts Nizhniaya Terrassa, Verkhniaya Terrassa and Novy Gorod, Zasviyazhsky on the left Volga bank and Leninsky is the oldest section where you will find the center of town.
The city of museums, as it is known because there are 13 in the township, is the thirsty for knowledge person's wet their pants moment. This is where you will glean the true history of the Simbirsk region, from its foundation up to current times. The memorial preserve "Homeland of V I Lenin" is an open-air museum that may interest those that can't get their fill in the other museums on offer.
A walk along the Venets promenade by the expansive Volga River with its jaw- dropping scene will shake you out of the disappointment of the depressing townscape. Sailing has become a huge sport over the last few years and there are now many regattas held by the local yacht club. You can jump on a cruise boat of this mammoth flow of water or simply sit on its banks as the locals do and contemplate the Russian soul and historical misdemeanors.
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