Ulyanovsk is the administrative center of Ulyanovsk region of the Russian Federation.
The town of Simbirsk was founded at the territory of Ulyanovsk in 1648. The city was first called "Sinbirsk" first, but later it changed to "Simbirsk." There is debate as to the origin and meaning of the name, but the greatest consensus is that it signifies "Seven Winds".
It was founded as a base station on the Simbirsk-Karsun frontier defense line by the command of Tzar Alexey Mikhailovich and under the leadership of Commander Khitrovo. He chose an excellent location - the high right bank of the Volga River.
The period of Simbirsk settlement was a time of growth and expansion of the Russian feudal state and of active development of the Volga River region. Thanks to its strategic position on a busy waterway, the city grew rapidly and quickly became the center of industry and commerce for Middle Volga region.
It became a district center of Kazan Province in 1708, then the capital of the Simbirsk region on August 15, 1780, and finally, the capital of Simbirsk Province on December 12, 1796. Its history is closely connected with the history of Russia – the Mongol and Tatar Yoke, numerous peasant wars, the War of 1812, the Decembrist Revolt, revolutions and world wars influenced the town. It is also the birthplace of many famous writers, poets and statesmen. In 1870 Vladimir Ulyanov (Lenin) was born in Simbirsk and in 1924 Simbirsk was renamed to Ulyanovsk in his honor. The city became the capital of Ulyanovsk Region on January 19, 1943. Its original name was restored after the fall of the Soviet Union.
Ulyanovsk is the region's major industrial center where large engineering plants and light industries producing fabrics, knitted goods, and shoes are located. The region is noted for production of cars, machine tools, automatic circuit reclosers, press-forging machines, electric crane motors, water sprinklers, and other machines. Other sectors include flour-milling, meat, butter-making, starch and molasses, distilling, building material, and woodworking industries.
Ulyanovsk Region is a multinational territory with more than 80 nationalities. Russians, Tatars, Chuvashes and Mordvins are the predominant nationalities. Ulyanovsk has many cultural esteblishments. There is an Art Museum, the famous Simbirsk High School restored to just how it was in Kerensky and Lenin's days, the house of Ulyanov family. There is the Lutheran Church, built in 1913 for some of the many Germans that once lived along the Middle Volga and re-opened for religious services ten years ago. Visitors to Ulyanovsk today can see the homes where the Ulyanovs lived. Lenin Memorial Centre houses an impressive exhibition on the communist leader's life.