Population: 248,782 (2010 Census); 256,719 (2002 Census); 241,601 (1989 Census).
Yoshkar-Ola means red city in Mari. The current name is the third to have been given to the city. The city was known as Tsaryovokokshaysk (Царёвококшайск) before 1919 and as Krasnokokshaysk (Краснококшайск) between 1919 and 1927. These names were derived from the name of the Malaya Kokshaga River, which runs through the city. The city's old Mari name was Charla (Чарла).
Yoshkar-Ola was established as a military fortress in 1584, following the Russian conquest of the Mari region.
During the Soviet era, especially after World War II, the city was a regional industrial and transport center and grew to its current size. The collapse of the Soviet Union removed support for state enterprises, and led to the shutdown of most manufacturing activity in the area. Much of the city's economic activity was supported by shuttle traders who would transport (often counterfeit) goods from the bustling markets of Moscow to Yoshkar-Ola's bazaars. The sharp decline in living standards led to the emigration of specialized professionals to larger cities in Russia.
Yoshkar-Ola is the capital of the republic. Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is, together with ten rural localities, incorporated as the city of republic significance of Yoshkar-Ola—an administrative unit with the status equal to that of the districts. As a municipal division, the city of republic significance of Yoshkar-Ola is incorporated as Yoshkar-Ola Urban Okrug.
Yoshkar-Ola is linked to other cities and regions in Russia by a series of train and bus routes. The local train station is currently served by a daily train to and from the capital Moscow with other short-service trains running to and from Kazan. Moscow and various other nearby towns and regions can also be reached by buses departing from the local bus station. The Yoshkar-Ola Airport is also located 9 km north of the city and handles small aircraft Moscow-bound flights (Vnukovo International Airport) since April 2012. It is planned to expand the range of destinations in the near future.
Destinations within the city limits can be reached through a network of buses, trolleys, and route taxis, or marshrutkas. There are currently seven different bus routes, eleven different trolley routes, and seventeen marshrutka routes.
A train leaves Yoshkar-Ola every evening at 19:00 to Moscow, stopping at routes along the way.
Climate of Yoshkar-Ola is very similar to Nizhny Novgorod or Kirov. The city is situated in a temperate continental climate. The winters are long and cold with lots of snow, with average January temperatures from −10 to −15 °C (14 to 5 °F), and record low of about −48 °C (−54 °F). On the other hand, city enjoys very warm summers, marred by only occasional, brief intervals of sultry or rainy conditions with July as the hottest month, when average high is +25 °C (77 °F), and the temperatures may stay around +35 °C (95 °F) for weeks.
Yoshkar-Ola is home to 88 educational institutions, among them several institutions of higher education:Mari State University
Volga State University of Technology (before 2012, Mari State Technical University)
Interregional Open Social Institute
There are also 30 schools for primary students aged between 7 and 18 and 52 kindergartens. Additionally, Yoshkar-Ola has many private educational centers offering different qualifications and trainings in such disciplines as foreign languages, computer science and many others.
The 14th Kiev-Zhitomir Rocket Division of the 27th Guards Missile Army of the Strategic Rocket Forces is located nearby.
Yoshkar-Ola is twinned with: Szombathely, Hungary
Princeton, West Virginia, United States