Table of content
» Introduction » 2: Kalashnikov's family » 6: AK-74 / AK-100 / Saiga » 10: A study of Kalashnikov Vodka
» 1a: About The Kalashnikov Museum » 3: Kalashnikov: years 1933 - 1942 » 7: The Hall of Fame: Part I » 11: What's coming in the next version
» 1b: Izhevsk, Kalashnikov's homecity » 4: Kalashnikov's design career begins » 8: The Hall of Fame: Part II » Copyright
» 1c: Entering the Kalashnikov Museum » 5: The AK-47 is born » 9: The 2nd hall of the exhibition    Back to main page of

The Kalashnikov Museum Virtual Tour: Part 1b - Izhevsk, Mikhail Kalashnikov's homecity

Let's start with the city where the Museum of Kalashnikov is located - the city of Izhevsk.

We thought that you might otherwise never get any exposure to Izhevsk, so here are some facts and history, with a few pictures. We are planning on a major expansion of this section if the interest warrants, so please don't hesitate to e-mail us with your comments.

We'll start with the information quoted from official Udmurt Republic web site:

Izhevsk is the capital of the Udmurt Republic. The city biography dates its inception to the year 1760, when according to a decree of a tsar an ironworks factory was laid on the Izh river.

At the beginning of the 19th century, the mounting threat of Napoleon's France prompted the Russian Emperor Paul the First to commence the construction of a new large arms factory. That was the beginning of the glorious history of the Izhevsk gunsmiths. The banners of a conquered Napoleon are forever immortalized in metal on the tower of the main arms factory building, a memorial to the first victories.

The Udmurt Republic is proud of its culture and achievements. This is the place where the well-known Russian composer Peter Tchaikovsky was born and grew up, as well as where the legendary small arms designer Mikhail Kalashnikov has lived and worked.

Izhevsk has a population of 650,000. The city lies about 1300 kms (800 miles) east of Moscow. Distances to some other cities: 1900 km to St. Petersburg (previously Leningrad); 800 km to Ekaterinburg; 400 km to Kazan.

 Click to enlarge the picture
Pic.1b-3 The city is within 10 km (6 miles) of the airport.

Pic.1b-4 The new railroad station in Izhevsk 
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You can get a train to Izhevsk from virtually any location - European Russia is crisscrossed by an extensive rail network that makes trains a viable means of getting to practically anywhere. They're inexpensive and comfortable, though the journey usually takes a long, long time (compared to an airplane trip) - e.g., it takes 20 hours to get from Moscow to Izhevsk.

The new railroad station in Izhevsk was originally intended to commence operation on the same day as the Museum of Kalashnikov opening, November 4, 2004. Unfortunately, delivery of the station's clock was significantly delayed, and the station didn't open its doors to passengers in 2004.

Gorkovsky Railroads (subsidiary of Russian Railroads) financed the construction almost solely on its own. The new building is without a doubt one of the most beautiful stations in Russia, and its cost (178,000,000 rubles, approx. US$ 6,350,000 ) is not much less than the cost of the Museum of Kalashnikov & Exhibition Center (230,000,000 rubles, approx. US$ 8,200,000).

There are daily flights to Izhevsk from Moscow, Ekaterinburg, Krasnodar, Nizhnevartovsk, Samara, Saratov, Surgut and St. Petersburg.

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Pic.1b-1 the Izhevsk airport.

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Pic.1b-2 Izhevsk welcomes its guests


Getting around

Unless you are fortunate enough to have someone to pick you up, the options for transportation from the airport to your accommodations are to take a taxi or bus. From the railroad station to your accommodations, your can take a taxi, a tram or the bus.

While public transportation is the least expensive, this choice is often not practical if you have a lot of luggage. If you decide to take a taxi, ignore anyone waiting by the airport or station doors who offers to give you a ride, and go to the official taxi line outside.

The majority of Izhevsk residents still rely on public transportation to get around, especially for city travel. Izhevsk has four types of mass transit: trams, buses, trolleybuses and taxis. =

Trams (streetcars). Tram stops are marked with signs above the tracks (with the letter "T"). You can pay the tram conductors directly, or show a monthly pass if you have one. Conductors normally wear a special uniform (yellow & blue). Don't be surprised to see an occasional kontrolyor (inspector), who might ask you to show your ticket. The cost of a ticket on the trams, trolleybuses and regular buses is 5 rubles ($0.18).

Buses. Bus stops have an "A" on their signs, which stands for "avtobus". You can also pay the conductor on the regular buses, or show your monthly pass. T-buses (taxi buses) take cash only and get you to your destination a bit faster (a ticket is 6 rubles ($0.21).

Trolleybuses. These vehicles are buses that are powered through a connection to an overhead electric line, just like trams. Their signs are also marked by a "T" (just like trams) but they take different routes.

Taxis. Taxis are more expensive than mass transit. The fares vary from 50 rubles ($1.80, usually at so called mini-taxis) to 100-150 rubles ($3.50-5.35, the regular taxis) for rides within the city. A trip to or from the airport costs about 200 rubles ($7). If you need a taxi, you can flag one down in the street or ask your hotel to call one for you.

There are a number of taxi companies in Izhevsk, and the vehicles are marked in several different patterns; for example, some taxis are painted bright yellow, while some have an orange checkered light on the roof.



Kalashnikov Vodka advertising #1

As soon as you enter the streets of Izhevsk, you'll be exposed to spirit of Kalashnikov - or rather spirits´┐Ż

Back in October-November 2004, the Glazovsky Distillery ran extensive advertising campaign for its Kalashnikov Vodka 85th anniversary special. One could buy a bottle of Kalashnikov Vodka and submit the tax mark off the bottle for a lottery drawing, the main prize was Russian car VAZ 2110 (colloquially known as simply "the 10"), hence the ad slogan, "Hit the 10!"

Kalashnikov Vodka advertising #5

Kalashnikov Vodka advertising #2

Kalashnikov Vodka advertising #3

Kalashnikov Vodka advertising #4

Browse through our brief overview of all the varieties of Kalashnikov Vodka
(10 various bottle designs) produced in Udmurt Republic.

There are other kinds of street ads bearing the Kalashnikov name, too.

The City of Izhevsk
welcomes Kalashnikov's 
85 anniversary
Pic.1b-9 The City of Izhevsk
welcomes Kalashnikov's
85 anniversary

 A small print ad for the
Computer Gaming Kalashnikov 
Cup dedicated to 85th anniversary
Pic.1b-10 A small print ad for the
Computer Gaming Kalashnikov
Cup dedicated to 85th anniversary.
It was held on November 26-28,
2004, supported by Sport
Committee of Udmurt Republic. Nominations:
Half Life: Counter-Strike 1.6 (5/5),
Warcraft III: TFT (1/1),
Starcraft: BroodWar(1/1),
Quake III Arena(1/1)

 Computer game snapshot:
good(?) guy firing an AK-47
Pic.1b-11 Computer game snapshot:
good(?) guy firing an AK-47




Museum of Kalashnikov

To get the flavor, we provide pictures of only two of the hotels without any details - based on readers' feedback we might expand this part of the guide, so please feel free to email us with your comments.

Museum of Kalashnikov

A new luxury hotel is currently being built in Izhevsk, and will be finished in 2005. The hotel is part of the recently opened Circus Center.

The Centralny Hotel might be quite average, but is at least relatively spacious and is situated near the Museum of Kalashnikov - if you get the right suite, you'll enjoy a view of the Museum from your hotel window.

Once you've settled your accommodations, it's time to come visit the Museum. You don't need any special directions or instructions - just head toward the Central Square and go past the "Leon" Mall - you'll see the Museum building immediately.

Pic.1b-13 East meets West. The cold war is over: Levi's to the left - AK-47s to the right.

East meets West. The cold war is over: Levi's to the left - AK-47s to the right
Pic.1b-14 These shop ads hung directly opposite the museum on the mall's wall: one offers a NATO uniform, other claims that it's "4 you". Salute, comrade Kalashnikov!
These shop ads hung directly opposite the museum on the mall's wall: one offers a NATO uniform, other claims that it's