Izhevsk was founded in 1760 as a small settlement near the ironworks by the Count Shuvalov and mining engineer Alexey Moskvin.
The “second birth” of Izhevsk took place in 1807 when small arms factory was constructed there under the guidance of an engineer Andrey Deryabin. It took relatively short period of time to master gun production – fame and pride of the future city.
Swift development of production resulted in the fact that in the beginning of the XXth century the settlement Izhevo outnumbered the closest principle cities, such as Perm, Novgorod, Ufa. In the course of many years not even having the legal status of a city Izhevsk in fact was the biggest industrial center of the region. There were two classical schools, a theatre, a library, a printing house, the “School of choral singing and orchestral music”, a telegraph, a power plant and a cinema here.
On 21st of February, 1918 Izhevsk plant was reorganized into the city according to the decision of Izhevsk Soviet of working, soldier and peasant deputies. In November, 1920 native population obtained autonomy that was later transformed into the Udmurt Republic. In less than a year the Presidium of VTsIK of Russian Soviet Federative Socialist Republic resolved that since June 10th, 1921 Izhevsk became the center of Udmurtia. This particular date is considered as an official birthday of the city of Izhevsk.
Izhevsk dwellers made a valuable contribution to the result of the Second World War. The city was the biggest supplier of small and aviation arms. During the War the Izhevsk small arms factory produced 11 million 145 thousands of rifles and carbines, more than 15 thousands of aviation guns, near 132 thousands of antitank guns.
In 1949 a legendary small arms’ constructor Mikhail Timofeevich Kalashnikov moved to Izhevsk. His AK-47 produced by the “Izhmash” factory successfully passed army tests and was added to the Soviet armory. Today Kalashniov’s automatic machine is one of the most widely spread types of small arms. In different periods it was added to armories of 50 countries across the world.
Today the capital of the Udmurt Republic enters the number of the biggest centers of the Russian industry. 50 machine building, metallurgical, electronic and chemical enterprises are functioning here. Among them there are JSC "Concern Kalashnikov”, JSC “Izhevsk Electromechanical Plant Kupol”, JSC “Izhevsk motor plant “Axion Holding company”, JSC “Izhevsk Mechanical Plant”, JSC “Izhneftemash”, JSC “Izhstal”, JSC “Izhevsk radio plant”, JSC “Izhevsk plastic plant”, Izhevsk Automobile plant, etc. On 29th of November, 2011 the capital of the Udmurt Republic was awarded the title “The City of the Labor Glory” for significant contribution to the development of industrial potential and strengthening of defensive power of Russia.
Izhevsk population today is 642,0 thousands of inhabitants (as of January 1, 2015). Udmurt population accounts for 30% of the whole number. Along with Russians and Udmurts representatives of more than 100 nationalities live in Izhevsk – Tatars, Ukrainians, Byelorussians, Maris, Bashkirs, Chuvashes, Jews, Azerbaijanis, Uzbeks, Mordvins, Kazakhs, Armenians, Georgians, Kyrgyzs, Turkmens, Komi, Tajiks, Poles.
To unite representatives of these nations preserving their diversity the unique institution - House of Peoples’ Friendship - was opened in Izhevsk in September, 2008.
Izhevsk is the largest educational, scientific and cultural center of the Udmurt Republic. There are four state institutions of higher education: the Udmurt State University, The Izhevsk State Technical University n.a. M.T. Kalashnikov, the Izhevsk State Agricultural Academy and the Izhevsk State Medical Academy. There are a lot of celebrated sportsmen among famous natives of the capital of Udmurtia – Soviet boxer Andrey Abramov, Russian biathlonists Maxim Maximov, Valery Madvedtsev, Ivan Tcherezov, hockey player Fedor Tyurin, famous skier Galina Kulakova, basketball player Andrey Kirilenko, international draughts champion Alexey Tchizhov.
Sport objects of international importance are functioning in the city: the Sport and health-improving skiing complex n.a. Galina Kulakova, the Sport complex “Chekeril”, the Biathlon complex n.a. Alexander Demidov, the Sport and tourist centre "Nechkino". During a year in the capital of the Republic more than 600 events of district, city, republican, all-Russian and international levels are organized.
Such cultural institutions as the State theatre of opera and ballet, the National theatre, the State Russian drama theatre, the State puppet theatre, the Udmurt state philharmonic, the Museum and exhibition small arms complex n.a. M.T. Kalashnikov, the National museum n.a. Kuzebay Gerd, the Republican museum of visual arts, the State circus of the Udmurt Republic are functioning in Izhevsk. In 2008 the State Zoo, one of the biggest zoological parks in Russia, was opened for visitors. For some years reconstruction of the biggest cathedral of the Republic - the Saint Michael Cathedral lasted. After the grand opening in 2007 it became one of the city symbols. Another visiting card of the Udmurt capital is the renewed embankment of the Izh pond. Its opening took place in 2010, and since then it has been a favourite place for Izhevsk citizens spending their leisure time. Parents and children are walking here, bicyclists, rollers and skateboarders are driving across a special bikeway. The reconstruction of the embankment is being continued on.