Zhigulevskie mountains are located on the right bank of the Volga, not far from Samara. The mountain range stretches along the river for 70 kilometers. It is interesting to note that the Zhiguli mountains can be called conditionally, it is just a hill. The average height is only 250-300 meters, and the highest point (381 meters above sea level) is called the Observer.
The name of the mountains has changed several times. For example, they were first described by a Persian writer whose name remained unknown. He called this area the Pechenezh Uplands. In the Kazan chronicle of the 16th century, the mountains are called Maiden. And the modern name, according to researchers, comes from the Turkic word "dzhiguli", which means "horse-drawn" in Russian.
There are many legends about the Zhigulevsky mountains. Since ancient times, "dashing people" hid here, who robbed merchant caravans passing along the Volga. It is believed that the treasures of the ataman Stepan Razin are hidden in the Zhiguli mountains. The first searches began in the 17th century, shortly after the execution of Razin. But, it has not been possible to find the ataman's treasures so far. Despite the fact that they haunt more than one generation of treasure hunters.
Another version of the name of the mountains is associated with the Volga robbers. They said that the intractable merchants who refused to part with their goods were flogged with whips - "burned". And those who carried out this execution were called "Zhiguli". The legend is interesting, especially since the word "Zhigul" is also in the dictionary of Vladimir Ivanovich Dahl. According to the author, the so-called "desperate man".
One of the most famous peaks of the Zhiguli Mountains is the Usinsky Kurgan. It was a favorite place of robbers, from the top of the mound the Volga was clearly visible. To stop the robbery, in 1614 a prison was founded here for the safe passage of ships along the Volga. As you can see, this was not always possible, the Razin detachments also plundered here in the second half of the 17th century.
The famous Russian artist Ilya Repin first saw the barge haulers on the Neva. Then he had the idea of one of his most famous paintings. But Repin worked on the canvas already in the village of Shiryaevo on the Zhigulevsky Hills. In search of the most picturesque places, the artist made his way from Rybinsk to Saratov in 1870, deciding to stop in Zhiguli. The painting was completed in 1873. At present, the Repin Museum operates in the village of Shiryaevo.
Not only Repin was fascinated by the beauty of the Zhigulevsky mountains, in the mid-eighties of the XIX century another famous painter, Ivan Konstantinovich Aivazovsky, traveled along the Volga. As a result, in 1887 he painted the painting "The Volga near the Zhigulevsky mountains".
Oil is being extracted in the Zhigulevsky mountains, it is located at a depth of 500 to 2, 000 meters. Oil fields were discovered here during the Great Patriotic War. Until the middle of the last century, natural bitumen was also mined in Zhiguli, and now limestone is taken out from here for the manufacture of cement and building stone. The Zhigulevsky lime plant is located in the village of Bogatyr.
There are a lot of caves in the Zhiguli mountains. It is assumed that thanks to them, the ataman Stepan Razin could suddenly appear in the most unpredictable places. Near the village of Malaya Ryazan there is a cave called Razin's Lair, there used to be numerous passages from here, but now most of them are inaccessible due to landslides. Archaeologists have discovered on the Zhiguli the remains of an ancient city that existed here in the XI-XII centuries.
In 1927, a reserve was founded, which after 50 years was named after Ivan Ivanovich Sprygin, a famous botanist and the first director of this reserve. It currently covers an area of over 23, 000 hectares. Moreover, 90% of the territory is covered with forests.
Scientists still cannot explain the amazing fact - the mighty Volga River did not destroy the Zhiguli Mountains, which are composed of soft rocks. At the same time, the streams of the river cut through the granite between Samara and Togliatti.
In 1966, the Soviet government signed a cooperation agreement with Fiat. Soon the project for the construction of an automobile plant in the city of Togliatti was approved. The first cars were assembled in April 1970. The car was named "Zhiguli" in honor of the famous mountains located near the city.
Zhiguli quickly gained recognition not only in the Soviet Union, but also abroad. True, cars came to the foreign market with a different name - "Lada". We decided that European consumers would associate the word "Zhiguli" with "Gigolo". Therefore, the name was changed to a more euphonic one.
Zhigulevskie mountains attract many tourists. But, a significant part of the Zhiguli is inaccessible to them, as it is located on the territory of the Sprygin reserve. You can get there only in a group, accompanied by a guide.