Looking at this big and welcoming city with beautiful wooden, Art Nouveau and Constructivist architecture, wide sandy beaches along the Volga River and a new promenade, it's hard to believe Samara was a closed city to foreigners until 1990. The history of Samara began in the end of the 16th century with the construction of a fortress at the confluence of the Volga and the Samara rivers. By the end of the 19th century it was a busy river port and a growing industrial city. But the most important role Samara played after the revolution of 1917. It served as the capital on two occasions. The first time in 1918 as the capital of the pro-tsarist White Army, and then in 1941-1942 when the Soviet government was exacuated here along with the diplomatic corps, plants and industries. After the war Kuybyshev (as Samara was known during the Soviet Era) became a large centre of the rocket-building industry.