Welcome to Ufa, Russia!
Ufa is one of the most populous places in Russia with just over a million people. Located in the Ural region of the country in the area known as Bashkortostan, Ufa borders Tatarstan in the west and Sverdlovsk in the north. Ufa was founded in the 1500s, making it one of the older cities in Russia.
The Bashkortostan region is interesting and is sometimes equated as the “Switzerland of the Urals” as the region is mountainous, has extensive lush forests and rolling steppes. As a worldwide local all this should be a perfect mix of things that make you want to visit and if you’re not convinced here are some of the best things to do around Ufa.
Worldwide Local Tip: The crime rate of Ufa has increased a little over the years since some financial difficulty in 2014. Try to avoid walking alone at night and don’t show anything expensive like electronics or money.
Visit a Popular Park
As a worldwide local, you’ll want to experience the day to day of the locals. Of course, the best way to do that is to go where they go--and no matter what time of the year it is, there are always people at the grand park around Salavat Yulaev, Ufa’s most popular hang-out spot. Lounge here on a hot day and get something cool to drink from a nearby vendor or head to a local cafe and do a little people watching. In the winter months, there are ice slides with children frolicking, and in the summer months, there are beautiful gardens around the statue.
Worldwide Local Tip: The Salavat Yulaev park is beautiful, but if you’re looking for something a little more obscure and unique, Victory Park is the more interesting option. Dedicated to the men and women who fought in World War II, the park is your standard park--with the exception of the tanks and artillery guns that dot the greenery. Victory Park is essentially half, park half museum, and spending a day here is a truly unique way to enjoy the Ufa weather.
Ufa after Dark
Ufa is a pretty big city, and with big cities, you can expect some pretty fun nightlife. One of the hippest spots around town for Ufa’s younger population is Burzhuika. Located near the hotel Azimut, Burzhuika serves food and drinks and even has a hookah lounge on site. Sit back and relax while you mingle with some locals--perhaps you’ll get into a debate about the merits of the local Ufa soccer team as you enjoy a cocktail or two.
Worldwide Local Tip: If sipping on cocktails and smoking hookah is not your thing, then try checking the Ufa Jazz Club. For a jazz club in the middle of the Ural mountains, the club attracts a lot of local and international talent--it’s a little surprising that there is such a thriving jazz scene here, but no one is complaining!
Get in Touch with the Bashkir People
Naturally, as a worldwide local you’ll want to get an understanding of the local culture and customs. Bashkortostan is named after the Bashkir people, a Turkic speaking group who have lived in the area for centuries. Ufa is the center of culture and life for the Bashkir people, and the Bashkortostan National museum is a great way to learn about local life. Spread over two floors, there are exhibits showcasing art, culture, ethnography, history, and natural environments.
Worldwide Local Tip: Of course, another great way to experience the local culture to eat your way through it. Azyk-Tulek is one of the best restaurants that serve authentic Bashkir food. All dishes are prepared fresh and beautifully presented, representing all different types of Bashkir food--plus, their wine menu is large and extensive.
Have a Wonderful Time in Ufa, Russia!
Ufa is probably not on most people’s radar when they’re traveling to Russia, but the mountainous locale, interesting local Bashkir culture, and thriving city center certainly make it worth your time. Being a worldwide local means exploring all parts of a city, from the food to the locals who live there.