Ulyanovsk, the centre of Ulyanovskaya oblast, is situated on the Volga heights on the banks of the rivers Volga and Sviyaga. The distance to Moscow is 893 km. It is a railroad and highway junction (to Moscow, Kazan, Ufa, Saratov). Here is a river port and airport. The population is 656,4 thousand people. (1992).
Ulyanovsk was founded in 1648 as a fortress Sinbirsk on the abrupt bank of Volga by voevode B.M.Khitrovo (1615-80) and clerk G.Kunakov. Up to the Russian revolution it preserved its name. In the 19th century it became one of the centres of trade of bread, fish, cattle and wood. In 1790s in the city a theatre was built. In 1828 the railway connected the city with the town of Inza, in the beginning of the 19th century - with Bugulma.
Simbirsk is the home of V.I.Ulyanov (Lenin), poet N.M.Yazykov, writers D.V.Grigorovich and I.A.Goncharov. In the Simbirsk province the writer and historian N.M.Karamzin was born.
The leading part in economy belongs to machine-building and metal working. The major plants are the automobile, machine-tool and the engine plants, "Contactor", "Avtozapchast", the machine-building plant named after Volodarsky, the plant of hydraulic equipment and the aircraft industrial complex. Here work the shoe factory, knitting factory, plant of heat-insulating products, house-building enterprise, plants of building materials and the food-processing industry. Ulyanovsk has a branch of the Moscow State University named after M.V. Lomonosov, the Polytechnic, Agricultural, Pedagogical institutes, the Branch of the Samara Economic Institute; the Civil Aircraft School.
There are the Drama and Puppet theatre, the philharmonic society (with a concert hall); the Museum of local lore named after I.A.Goncharov (1895) and some other museums.