34 best sights of Kaluga – description and photos

Kaluga: Museum of Cosmonautics, Merchant’s Mansions and Dough, which is not dough

Kaluga is a beautiful ancient city that is located on the hills along the Oka River. Already at the entrance you are greeted by ship pines and a stele with a picture of Gagarin, pointing upward, to dreams and stars. Everything in the city breathes with the space theme: the father of Russian cosmonautics Konstantin Eduardovich Tsiolkovsky lived and worked here for more than 40 years.

In 2016, Kaluga was included in the expanded list of the Golden Ring of Russia, and it clearly benefited the city: the authorities renovated facades of merchant mansions, revived the gastronomic brand “Kaluga Dough”, presented a new complex of the Museum of the History of Cosmonautics. So the city has become even more attractive in terms of tourism. I will tell you about the sights of Kaluga, where to walk and what you must visit.

What to see in Kaluga: sights and interesting places

The city was first mentioned in a letter of 1371, which Lithuanian Duke Olgerd wrote to the patriarch Philotheus of Constantinople. This date is considered the official year of Kaluga.

It became an independent princely town only in 1505. In 1681 there was a large fortress with 12 towers, 1045 households, 429 shops, mostly bread, and 27 churches. Due to its convenient location on the Oka River Kaluga became a center of trade. By the end of the reign of Catherine the Great the city was making many millions of dollars and was considered to be one of the most well-appointed provincial cities of Central Russia.

Marshal of the Soviet Union, Georgy Konstantinovich Zhukov was born here and began his journey as a military leader. At the beginning of the Great Patriotic War – from October 12 to December 30, 1941 – the city was occupied by the Germans. While retreating, they destroyed 196 houses and burned the theater on the Sennaya Square. Now in its place – the Peace Square.

The most interesting things you can see in the city in one or two days, I marked on the map. On some attractions I will tell in detail.

Museum of Cosmonautics

It was founded in 1967 with the participation of space exploration pioneers Sergei Pavlovich Korolev and Yuri Alexeyevich Gagarin. In 2021 the museum was expanded, reconstructed and made interactive – a new building was opened which amazes with its scale, number of exhibits and design. Most of the space-themed items are unique.

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The most iconic exhibits: a double of the first artificial satellite; cardiogram of Yuri Gagarin before the legendary start; spacesuit SK-1 first six cosmonauts; base unit orbital station “Mir”, which can enter, moon rover and rover, a copy of a duplicate Gagarin rocket booster “Vostok” catapult to rescue Booger, Squirrel, Arrow and other dogs cosmonauts.

In the center of the hall is a scaled-down replica of the Luna 16 spacecraft, which delivered the first lunar soil samples to the USSR. To its right is the Lunokhod-1, the world’s first automatic self-propelled vehicle, which spent 318 days on the moon.

The museum is not boring at all for both children and adults. Here you can even buy real space food – for example, borscht from a tube heated with a space heater. This is the most popular dish, but the assortment is very wide – there’s even shawarma and Moscow cake. You can also try out the space ship docking simulator which costs 200 rubles, the sessions are held every 15 minutes. The visitors may look at the celestial objects through the telescope of astronomical observatory, but only on clear weather.

Museum address: Kaluga, Akademika Koroleva ul. 2. The entrance ticket is 450 rubles. Monday is the day off. All details on the official site of the museum.

Tsiolkovsky was considered a geek and a dreamer, but he made a real breakthrough in science and now his figure literally hovers over the museum space. From the scientist’s recollections: “How many times I raced through the ice in a storm, using the umbrella as a sail. It was fascinating”.

Tsiolkovsky House Museum

The great scientist lived for 29 years in this modest gray house on the outskirts of Kaluga, a stone’s throw from the Oka. Through lush lilac bushes Tsiolkovsky would make his way to a small door leading to the roof of the woodshed. From there he liked to look at the stars. It is hard to believe, but in these ascetic conditions the daring Russian cosmism was born. Dozens of important works on aeronautics, aviation, jet propulsion and cosmonautics were written here.

Among the exhibits is a legendary black cape with metal clasps in the form of two lion’s heads, the scientist’s favorite watch, hanging over his bed, a mug with the inscription “Poverty teaches, but happiness spoils,” some homemade hearing aids made of tin, models of airships and other authentic items of Tsiolkovsky family. In the book of honorary visitors of the house-museum there is a handwritten entry by Yuri Gagarin.

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The second floor of the house, where Tsiolkovsky’s study is located, was completed after a terrible flood in 1908, when the Oka river rose by almost 17 meters. Now there is a narrow steep staircase, which is called “gangway” or “stairs to the sky”.

Address of the museum: Kaluga, Tsiolkovsky Street, 79. Visit without excursion – 250 rubles. Monday is the day off. All details on the official website of the museum.

Kaluga sights

Devil’s Fortress National Park Ugra Church of St. John the Baptist The river Ugra Kaluga Kaluga Drama Theater Kaluga Turbine Works Protva River Techa

This site contains a collection of attractions in Kaluga – photos, descriptions, and travel tips. The list is compiled on the basis of popular travel guides and is presented by type, name and rating. Here you can find answers to questions: what to see in Kaluga, where to go and where are the popular and interesting places in Kaluga.

Chyortovo gorodishche

Devil's fortress (photo)

Chertovo Gorodishche is a tract located on the bank of the Chertovskaya River on the territory of the Ugra National Park.

This is one of the most interesting and mysterious places in the Kaluga region, which has gained huge popularity among tourists. There are even several legends stating that these places are inhabited by evil spirits, as the names of the river and the settlement itself say.

By the way, there is an interesting structure in the settlement with stone objects of unknown purpose, among which the cup stone stands out. Interestingly, the holes in it are filled with water, even in the heat. There are versions that in ancient times, rites of worship to pagan gods were held here.

Those who have been to the Devil’s Fort tell us that abnormal phenomena, such as time loss, interesting light effects on film, wandering “in three pines”, etc., constantly occur here. It is recommended to visit the settlement with experienced people, better – with the locals, who in addition will tell interesting stories.

Coordinates: 54.05646600,35.96220000

National Park Ugra

National park Ugra (photo)

National Park Ugra, the largest protected area in the region, attracts tourists with a huge variety of natural and cultural attractions. It is located on the territory of six administrative districts and occupies an area of almost 100,000 hectares.

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The park has been popular with tourists since long before its creation. The richness of natural landscapes, including rivers, streams, lakes, swamps, fields and dense forests attracts visitors to plunge into the world of nature. In addition to hiking trails, popular are water routes, fishing and monuments of historical and cultural heritage – old estates, monasteries and fortresses, which are in harmony with the natural beauty of the park.

Coordinates: 54.54574000,36.15044200

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Church of St. John the Baptist

Church of St. John the Baptist (photo)

The first mention of the church dates back to 1685, at that time it was still wooden. The church of John the Baptist was rebuilt in stone in 1735, but only lasted a year. In 1754 it completely burned down. Only the image of John the Baptist survived, which the sexton Tikhon took out of the fire. The temple was rebuilt in its former appearance. The top of the temple is crowned with one main dome, dotted with stars on a silver background, and four smaller domes.

Inside the temple is painted with paintings, the basis of which were taken several paintings of famous church artists such as Vasnetsov, Nesterov and Makovsky. The floor was entirely lined with Mettlachian tiles and the walls were covered with marble. The main relic of the temple is a miraculously preserved icon of John the Baptist. The icon depicts the saint with wings and a bowl in his hands; the head is in it. This icon is especially revered by the people of Kaluga for help with headaches.

Coordinates: 54.51429000,36.26107800

In photo mode you can see landmarks in Kaluga only by photo.

Ugra River

The river Ugra (photo)

The Ugra is a left tributary of the Oka and a river flowing through the Smolensk and Kaluga regions. Its length reaches almost 400 kilometers.

The river begins in the southeast of Smolensk region. The water is fed by melt water and rainwater. In the spring there is a high flood on the river, which even covers the roads, bridges and holiday villages.

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The Ugra is home to chub, burbot, bream, pike, roach, zander, catfish, sterlet and other fish that are also found in the Oka.

The Ugra is also known for some historical events that took place on it. In 1480 on the river there was the so-called “Standing on the Ugra” – the confrontation between Moscow Prince Ivan III and Khan Akhmat. Due to its defensive value, the river was also called the “Belt of the Virgin”.

Coordinates: 54.50747900,36.10583800

Kaluga Drama Theatre

Kaluga Drama Theater (photo)

In August 1776, Catherine II issued a decree on the transformation of the Kaluga province into the governorship of A.M. Krechetinikov. The lieutenant-general was considered a brilliant courtier and was reputed to be a lover of theater. He decided to create his own court, and the theater was to be his property. Lukov, Nikitin, Yermolin and Poryaev arrived in Kaluga from St. Petersburg; an actress was invited from Moscow (her name remains unknown). N. Titov, a well-known theatrical figure, organized the first play, which was written by the poet V. Maykov.

For the first time the curtain of the Kaluga Drama Theatre was raised in January 1777. I. Pevtsov, P. Sadovsky worked there and became popular, M. Savina began her theatrical activities. P. Mochalov, V. Davydov and G. Fedotova performed here.

Over time, all-Russian festivals were organized in Kaluga. As part of the festival, the “Association of the Oldest Theaters of Russia” was created. Here for the first time opened the Monument to the Spectator, the only one in the world. Today the theater has 232 seasons, with monthly premieres and a playbill of more than 20 titles.

Coordinates: 54.51393200,36.25830900

Kaluga Turbine Works

Kaluga Turbine Plant (photo)

Kaluga Turbine Works (KTZ) is a Russian manufacturer of turbine generators, steam turbines, power units and other products for energy and industry. The company is considered one of Russia’s largest manufacturers of equipment for this sector.

During its existence the plant has produced more than 3,000 units of power equipment. KTZ products are distinguished by their original turbine design, reliable performance and long service life.

The plant was founded in 1946 and since 2000 it has been a member of Power Machines concern. In 1985 the plant manufactured the jubilee 2000th turbine and started the launch of the 3rd generation turbine units.

It is also worth mentioning that KTZ produces equipment for the oil and gas industry. All products manufactured by the plant are sold all over the country and also delivered to foreign countries.

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Coordinates: 54.53812800,36.27624400

Protva River

Protva River (photo)

The Protva River, flowing on the border of Kaluga and Moscow oblasts, is 275 kilometers long. It is considered the largest, after the Moscow River, left tributary of the Oka.

The river is inhabited by bream, gudgeon, chub, pike, perch, silver carp, ide and other fish, which also inhabit the Oka and attract the attention of fishermen. Fishing on the river is possible with fishing rods, fly fishing, spinning and jerkbaits.

The river starts near Mozhaisk and flows into the Oka near Serpukhov. In the river there are also many springs which flow straight from the cracks of coal limestone. The upper reaches of the Protva are heavily littered with snags and reeds, but after Vereya, the river expands and becomes more full-flowing.

The depth of the river varies from 0,2 m on the rifts to 3 m in the holes.

Coordinates: 54.85879800,37.16094400

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Techa river

Techa river (photo)

The Techa is a tributary of the Ugra, 52 kilometers long and with a basin area of 945 square kilometers. It belongs to the Oka basin. The river flows in Kaluga, Smolensk and Moscow regions.

The river is of great interest to fishermen, who, despite the sharply reduced number of roach, “hunt” here for pike. In the river you can catch fish up to 2 kilograms. The best fishing is by spinning (you may catch a large pike, chub, spruce, perch, gudgeon). It’s better to fish farther away from the Ugra, because there are more fish there.

On the Techa often gathers lovers of abandoned and untouched by man places. The river is heavily overgrown with trees and shrubs along its banks. In these places you can see roe deer and hear nightingales.

Coordinates: 54.55282700,35.47339400

The most popular attractions in Kaluga with descriptions and photos for all tastes. Choose the best places to visit famous places in Kaluga on our website.

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