Yoshkar-Ola (Russian: Йошка́р-Ола́ yahsh-KAHR ah-LAH) is the capital of Mari El in the Volga Region of the Russian Federation. The city was founded in 1584 during the reign of Ivan IV The Terrible as a fortification post with the purpose of controlling the newly annexed Kazan Khanate. Today its population is about 200,000 people.

Get in

Nogotkov-Obolensky square by night

By plane

The city is just a few hour drive from Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan, cities with international air connections.

By bus

By train

By car

Yoshkar-Ola is situated on the northward extension of one of the main highways of the Russian Federation leading from Moscow to the industrial areas of Tatarstan, the Southern Urals, and Siberia. Samara (560km), Nizhny Novgorod (350km)

Get around

Public transportation

Yoshkar-Ola transport structure is represented by extensive trolleybus system (rather old in outlook and yet bringing back nostalgy of the soviet epoch), buses, and minibuses (marshrutkas) and a few taxi agencies, so-called "gipsy" taxis, which are privately owned and potentially dangerous and thus not recommended. The cost of travel in the trolleybus and the bus is RUB13, the payment is made by the conductor. Marshrutka costs RUB15 rubles, pay the driver at the entrance. The average cost of a cab ride in the city is RUB110-150.


Assumption cathedral

The city is home to a few cultural legacy sites, ranging between wooden mansions dating back to the 18th century and soviet neoclassicism style municipal buildings of the 1920-1960. Recently the city center has seen a major renovation with emergence of such landmarks as the Kremlin, Nogotkov-Obolensky square (in honour of the city founder) distinguished by such a curiosity as the religiously designed Mari automatic clock.






The city can boast of a certain level of cultural activity exemplified by theatre performances based on classical and modern works (both in Mari and Russian languages).





Mari style embroidery, wooden items such as "mari matryoshka" are a local speciality.


There are a few worthy European style cafes and restaurants in the city centre, local mari food is represented at Podkogolnaya cafe, 166 Volkova st. Traditional plates are: - sokta, - lashko, - podkogylyo, - kazh, - komanmelna, - tuara, - podkinde, - salmaginde, - puro, - eran

Fast food





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