Cheboksary (Russian: Чебокса́ры chee-bahk-SAH-ree) is the capital of Chuvashia in the Volga Region of the Russian Federation. About 600,000 people live here and in the nearby satellite city Novocheboksarsk.
Cheboksary airport receives both cargo and passenger aircraft. Commercial aviation traffic to Cheboksary airport is served by various local airlines on Russian Yakovlev Yak-42 jet and Antonov An-24 turboprop. There are regularly scheduled flights to Moscow and other destinations. Cheboksary is also about a four-hour drive from Nizhny Novgorod, a city with international air connections through Lufthansa on an Airbus A319 aircraft. Lufthansa also flies its A319s to Kazan, which is a short two-hour car ride away as well. Microbuses may be hired to get to Cheboksary from Kazan, but it is highly recommended to seek transportation with acquaintances.
The railway network is developed and accessible all year. One of the largest railway junctions of Russia, Kanash, is in the center of the Republic. Via Kanash, the rail system connects Cheboksary with the major industrial centers of Eastern Siberia, the Urals, and Moscow. Express trains present a low-cost, comfortable way to travel. Express trains to and from Moscow are available everyday, and the easy overnight journey is approximately 14 hours each way.
Autos, trucks, and buses carry the majority of transportation, as the Republic ranks fourth in highway density in all of Russia. Cheboksary is situated on one of the main highways of the Russian Federation leading from Moscow to the industrial areas of Tatarstan, the Southern Urals, and Siberia.
The Volga river connects Cheboksary with Nizhny Novgorod, Yaroslavl, Moscow, and the northern regions of Russia. By using river-sea vessels, it is possible to get from Chuvash riverports all the way to Saint Petersburg, Novorossiysk (on the Black Sea), Astrakhan, and ports situated on the Danube river. However, the river is frozen from December through April.
Cheboksary is covered by an extensive system of trolleybuses, autobuses, and minibuses. There are several official taxi agencies, but also many so-called "gypsy" taxis, which are privately owned. The latter can be a convenient way of getting around, but also potentially dangerous and thus not recommended. Official taxis cost less than two dollars for travel between most points within the city.
Cheboksary is a frequent stop on many boat tours that travel up and down the Volga. A boat tour to the major cities along the Volga is highly recommended.
Like many Russian cities, Cheboksary possesses excellent cultural opportunities. There is an Opera-Ballet Theatre, a Philharmonic Orchestra, and numerous theaters (showing productions in both Russian and Chuvash languages). However, a very popular gathering place for the locals is the recently completed zalev (bay), beautifully situated in the middle of the city. There people gather to stroll, visit cafes, and socialize. Cheboksary also has beautiful boardwalks and beaches along the Volga River, where people swim in the summer. There are also a number of heated pools, health clubs, and museums (including Russia's only beer museum).
Embroidered textiles are a local specialty, as are beer related items such as wooden mugs. Chuvash specialties also include hohloma, a beautiful wood embroidery as seen on the image at the right.
Many restaurants and cafes exist throughout the capital city, and excellent dishes can be found at the Restaurant Emilia, the Hotel Rossia, and Favorite.
Ask someone in Russia about Chuvashia and they will likely respond with a comment about beer, as the republic has been a center of hops growing and beer brewing for hundreds of years. There are two beer manufacturers in Cheboksary, Buket Chuvashii and Yantar, as well as Russia's only beer museum.
Hotel Volga and the Promtraktor Hotel in Cheboksary provide clean rooms and friendly service at a reasonable price. Hotel DIS' is very nice too.