Ioshkar-Ola is the capital of Mari El Republic. It was founded in 1584. Since that time the city changed names several times. Originally it was known as Tsar's city on the Kokshaga and was named Tsarevokokshaysk. In 1918 it was given a new name of Krasnokokshaysk which meant Red City on the Kokshaga. Red was the color of the banner and that's where the name derives from. At that very time local Maris called the city Charla (red city). And only in 1928 the city got the name of Ioshkar-Ola, which still mean Red City.
Appearance of the city is tightly connected with a historical event - joining of Mari Land to the Russian State. It was built as a fortress against troops or Tatar Khanate (today Tatarstan). At that time the city was governed by a voevode and had fortifications like ditch, thick walls, 5 watchtowers. Gradually the city became inhabited by merchants, craftspeople and peasants. Since it was wooden the city was destroyed by fire not once, but rebuilt every time. Later some of the houses and buildings were made of bricks and by 1903 Tsar's city had 15 streets, 3 squares, a garden and 5 elementary schools, 2 libraries and one hospital.
Today Ioshkar-Ola is a large industrial, cultural and administrative city. It is the capital of Mari El republic, located 862 km away from Moscow. The city is constantly growing and renewed. It counts 200 historical and cultural monuments and places of interest. Among the most significant Voznesenskiy and Troitskiy Churches are worth mentioning. Uniqueness of the city is achieved by modern parks and squares, numerous gardens full of flowers and greenery. It's not in vain Ioshkar-Ola is also called Green City.
In 1999 Ioshkar-Ola was enrolled in the list of historical cities of Russia. Ioshkar-Ola is a brother-city to Sombatkhey found in Hungary (in Mari El capital there is a district called Sombatkhey); it also became a brother to French Bourges.
Ioshkar-Ola is a large cultural center. There are five palaces of culture, five theatres, three museums, quite a number of universities, over thirty schools. Various concerts, exhibitions, holidays, and theatre performances take place every now and then.