30 main sights of Mordovia
Mordovia is proud of all the peoples who have ever inhabited it. The republic scrupulously collects everything related to national identity, but at the same time emphasizes the unbreakable connection with the rest of Russia. Orthodox churches and monasteries are a great opportunity for pilgrims to visit holy places, as well as to travel all over Mordovia.
Many attractions are concentrated in Saransk. It can occupy the most demanding tourist: art gallery, theater, walking areas, monuments – what not in the capital of the republic. Another direction is traveling to the bosom of nature. National Park “Smolny”, lakes and rivers, as well as forests of all types are ideal for lovers of ecotourism.
The most interesting and beautiful places of the region
List, pictures with names and descriptions of the best sights!
Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov
Built in Saransk in the early 2000s. It is a cathedral and replaced the former temple with the same status, as it has a larger capacity. It bears the name of the canonized admiral. The cathedral was consecrated by Patriarch Alexy II. The architectural style is Empire, and the 12 gilded domes, cast using the technology of previous years, belong to the Neo-Byzantine style. The iconostasis was made in Saratov of gilded wood.
The village, which has become a center of Mokshan culture and traditions. Festival with participation of Fino-Ugric peoples is held. There is a cultural center, St. Nicholas Church, and an ethnographic museum. Master classes are held, including beadwork. Tourists are offered to taste traditional Mokshan cuisine – pancakes and poza. The local choir, which has existed since 1957, performs all over the country and abroad.
It was founded in 1936 on the territory of more than 32 thousand hectares of the Temnikovsky District. In addition to exploring the nature, you should look around in the local museum and visit center. The reserve offers visitors 8 ecological tours for all tastes. Before visiting here, you need to obtain a special permit. There is a hotel open year-round. You can also stay at one of the cordons.
Insarsky Svyato-Olginsky monastery
Established on the basis of a small hotel for nuns, founded in the 80s of the XIX century. In 1900, was consecrated a temple, attached nearby. It has 12 chapters, all small. The purpose of such architecture is to reduce the attention to the bulky facade. In Soviet times there was a museum of local history. Since 1988, the monastery began to revive. At the time of restoration, 30 sisters lived in the monastery.
Located near the border with the Chuvash Republic. The men’s monastery was founded in the 18th century and dates back to the appearance of an icon near the holy spring. The spring was popular even in the years of desolation of the monastery. It began to be restored since the mid-90s of the last century. They reconstructed the former buildings, built a new bell tower, a bathing house with a chapel near the spring and a hotel for pilgrims.
It is about 70 km from Saransk. The area is 44 hectares, it has an elongated shape. The water is transparent with a bluish tint most of the year. Birds nest and water lilies grow near the shores. A little further away there are several types of forests: coniferous, deciduous, and birch. Off-road vehicle races, fishing competitions, concerts, beach parties, and other events are held around the lake.
Smolny National Park.
Founded in 1995 and occupies an area of 35,500 hectares on the left bank of the Alatyr River. Rare birds nest in the forest and floodplain, this area is of particular importance to ornithologists of the world. Forests here are both mixed and pine, as well as deciduous. Meadows are mostly floodplains. The national park has an educational function, so there are eco-routes and excursions.
The year of foundation of the convent is 1865. It grew quickly and had workshops and children’s orphanage. The main relic is an icon of Saint Martyr Paraskeva in which a part of her relics is kept. Two cathedrals, two churches and three chapels were built on the territory. Each building has its own characteristic features, but the ensemble looks unified. Nearby: a spring with a chapel and a bath and a hotel for pilgrims.
Built in Temnikovsky district in the middle of the XVII century. For some time, the monastery was considered one of the spiritual centers of the country. After 60 years of desolation, it started to be restored in 1991. Opened a small sawmill and a candle shop. In the woods nearby is a holy spring of St. Theodore. The area is landscaped, built bathing holes and easy access to the water.
Makarov Monastery of St. John the Theologian
Founded in the mid-90s of the last century, with most of the temples and other buildings erected much earlier. They were restored and supplemented with the details necessary in modern times. In the XVIII century there was a pogost here. There are a number of architectural features. For example, the bell tower is built into the fence along with the towers. It is the residence of the local metropolitan. On the basis of the monastery there is the Synodal Department of Youth Affairs.
Ichalkovskiy stud farm
The stud farm No 27 “Mordovskiy” has been located in the village of Obrochnoye since 1778. It is 60 km away from Saransk. It is one of the biggest stud farms of the Volga Region. Besides thoroughbred horses from different countries, they work here with a unique breed – the Moksha trotter. The program of the visit includes acquaintance with the history, examination of the stables, walks on the horses. Tourists are welcome all year round and every day except Monday.
Mordovia Arena Stadium
Built in Saransk for the FIFA World Cup, which was held in Russia in 2018. It has the fourth category according to UEFA classification. Capacity – from 30 thousand to more than 43 thousand people. Perfect visibility from any seat in the stadium. Technologically advanced, making matches more entertaining and journalists’ work more convenient. Suitable for people with disabilities.
St. John the Theologian Church
The oldest building in Saransk, appeared on the site of its wooden predecessor in 1693. Repeatedly rebuilt and changed, limits appeared, and then the bell tower. The church was closed in the 30’s, but in the 40’s worship began again. For a while it had the status of a cathedral. The main sacred thing is a copy of the miraculous Vladimir icon of the Mother of God.
Mordovia Museum of Local Lore
It has been based in Saransk since 1918. Since 2017 the museum has a new building. Funds – more than 200 thousand items. It is divided into three departments: history, modern history and nature. The first two mention important events of the Russian and world scene, and their reflection in Mordovian life, as well as mention cultural features of the region. The third one is the most visited. Here the natural complexes of the republic are recreated in miniature.
Museum of Mordovian folk culture
In 1999 a building in Saransk, which formerly belonged to a merchant, was given to it. The exhibits are national costumes, household items, folk art and more. The funds are about 3.5 thousand items. They collect stories about holidays, legends of the peoples of the republic, record traditions and hold events with a special flavor. The goal is not to let new generations forget their roots.
Botanical Garden named after V. N. Rzhavitin
Named in honor of its creator. It has been based at the Faculty of Biology of Mordovia State University since 1960. Area – just over 35 hectares. The total number of species is 1700. Thanks to the botanical garden in Saransk there are miniature natural zones characteristic of different parts of the world. In addition, samples of local vegetation are collected here. It is open for visitors from May to October.
S. D. Erzya Museum of Fine Arts
The museum has been situated in Saransk since 1941. It is named after the sculptor and has a large collection of his works. Besides that, the collection includes paintings, graphics, decorative and applied art, both by world-known masters and local artists. Some of the exhibitions are supplemented with multimedia content. The museum has a cinema hall, a lecture hall, a souvenir store and a cafe.
Museum and Ethnographic Complex Mordovskoye Podvorye
It was opened in 2012. Given the fact that the complex is located in Saransk, it can be called unique: it successfully blends into the urban environment. On the spacious territory there are reconstructed constructions that are typical for the peoples inhabiting the republic. They are different in style and purpose. Green areas are laid out, paths are laid out, there are fountains and mini ponds. Before visiting you should clarify the operating hours.
Musical Theater named after I. M. Yaushev
Founded in 1935 in Saransk, and received its present name in 1994. It was named in honor of the honored artist of the RSFSR, who developed opera in the region. The theater moved into a new building in 2011. The troupe puts on productions based on classical works, as well as using material by local authors and composers. Touring ensembles and festival participants occasionally take to the stage. There is a cafe “Mask” at the theater.
Monument “Forever with Russia”.
It was erected in Saransk on People’s Friendship Square in 1986. On the stele, towering over the neighborhood, are two female figures. They are wearing national costumes that symbolize Russia and Mordovia. The women are holding a large spike of wheat in their hands. The sculptor is Brodsky and the material is bronze. In 2012 a fountain complex appeared next to the monument, which added to the overall picture.
Monument to Stratonauts in Saransk
Installed in 1963 and dedicated to all those who were able to reach the stratosphere. The reason for its creation was the tragedy of 1934, when the descent failed, and the stratonauts were killed, and their module fell in Mordovia. The monument is a high stele, on top of which stands a man wearing a special helmet, chest out, as if ready to fly.
Pushkin Park of Culture and Recreation
Its history began in the XIX century with the desire to create a green area on a nameless square in Saransk, namely to plant trees. The final design of the territory into a park occurred in the early 20th century. Notable places: a Ferris wheel, a monument to Ushakov, a special flower calendar, Pushkin of plants, a zoosad and more. There is a comfortable hotel and cafe nearby.
A. S. Pushkin National Library
The largest library of the republic is located in Saransk. It was opened in 1899. The funds are more than a million items. At the time of its creation it had just over 300 books. The library was more like a reading room, and then changed its direction, gradually expanding. Now a copy of each edition, published in Mordovia, goes to the library repository.
The Polezhaev Museum
The museum has been working since 2001 in Saransk and it is dedicated to the local poet. Three halls are devoted directly to Polezhaev, his work, lifetime hobbies; the writer’s personal belongings are kept here. The fourth hall is devoted to a collection devoted to other local authors of various scales. And the fifth is a lecture hall and sometimes a discussion club. Like most museums, it is not open on Mondays.
Leninsky District Park of Culture and Recreation
Located in Saransk since 1978, locals use another name besides the official one – “Ogarevsky”. The area is about 150 hectares, most of it is a forest belt. It’s cool here in summer even in the heat, holidaymakers are situated under the shade of trees and near small ponds. Skiing is popular in winter. On the territory there are points to rent the necessary equipment. One of the symbols – the Ferris wheel – had to be removed due to dilapidation.
Victory Square in Saransk
The current name has been assigned to it since 1972. Sights: Chapel of Alexander Nevsky, Memorial Sign “Escape from Hell”, Monument to the soldiers-natives of Mordovia who fell during the Great Patriotic War, Monument to the heroes of WWI, Eternal Flame, Memorial Museum of the Military and Labour exploits of 1941-1945, Monument to the soldiers-internationalists. All kinds of events are held in the square, including those related to May 9.
Museum of locomotive depot in Ruzaevka.
There is more than 40 years, but in different forms. Initially it was a small room with memorabilia, gradually the museum expanded and got its current status. In 2006 it was redesigned and the collection, which consists mostly of documentary, photo and other original exhibits, was put in order. Sometimes the funds are added by ordinary citizens, who bring to the museum what they think is appropriate.
House Museum “Ethno-Kudo” named after V. I. Romashkin
Opened in 2006 in the village of Podlesnaya Tavla. Dedicated to the folklorist Romashkin and his many years of work. Part of the rooms are devoted to the personal belongings of the researcher, who was also the founder of the folk group Torama, and part of the rooms are devoted to the ethno-collection. The museum hosts an annual festival, where songs of local ethnic groups are performed. The exhibition can be seen all year round, except for weekends – Mondays.
The house-museum of F. Sychkov
The house has been situated in the village of Kochelayevo since 1970. The exhibition consists of the artist’s personal belongings, attributes and decorations typical for homes of that time, as well as works of the master. All rooms were restored by memories of the wife Sychkov, some household items are provided by his family. A separate collection includes awards, received by Fyodor Vasilievich, including during the war.
Its length is 656 km, half of its total length is within Mordovia. The name of the river is supposedly derived from one of the national groups that have inhabited this area since ancient times. The calm waters allow even novice tourists to travel on the river. On the banks of the river there are camp sites, children’s camps, the sanatorium with the same name. In some communities, such as in Krasnoslobodsk, equipped with beaches.
Attractions in Mordovia: natural and cultural sites of the republic
The most interesting sights of Mordovia are in the city of Saransk: museums, parks, churches, monastery and much more. Of the natural sights of Mordovia, the most striking are the beautiful Lake Inerka, the Smidovich Nature Reserve and the Smolny National Park.
The Republic of Mordovia is 330 km from Moscow (Moscow Ring Road). What makes it interesting? Despite its proximity to Moscow, many people confuse it with Moldova or have heard very little about it.
The center of Mordovian life is the city of Saransk, the capital of the Republic of Mordovia. Here is the center of culture, entertainment and everything else. Saransk is a city of republican significance. Citizens from all over Mordovia flock here for any narrower problem: medical examination, obtaining state services, etc.
There are about 315 thousand people living in Saransk. In second place by number and importance is Ruzaevka with about 46 thousand people. In third place is Kovylkino with a population of 20 thousand people. Next come Komsomolsky urban settlement with 13 thousand people and Zubova Polyana urban settlement with 10 thousand people.
There are seven towns in Mordovia: besides Saransk, Ruzaevka and Kovylkino, there are Krasnoslobodsk, Ardatov, Insar and Temnikov. The oldest and smallest town is considered Temnikov. Its population is only 6.3 thousand people, the date of foundation is 1536.
The entire population of the republic is less than 1 million – about 800 thousand people. Russians, Mordovians, and Tatars live in Mordovia. Mordva are divided into three nationalities: Mokshane, Erzyane, and Shoksha.
Natural Sites in Mordovia
The largest lakes in Mordovia are:
- Inerka, the largest lake in the Republic. Translated from Mordovian, “Inerka” means “Great Lake.” Its length is 3.35 km, width is 80-150 meters, maximum depth is 11.5 meters.
- Imerka is the deepest lake in Mordovia, located on the territory of Zubovo-Polyansky district.
The rivers of Mordovia are flat and quiet. The main rivers are the Moksha and the Sura.
Map of Mordovia
The federal highway M5 Moscow-Chelyabinsk runs through Mordovia. Passing along the highway after the Moscow and Ryazan regions, Mordovia begins. The farthest to Moscow and the largest district of Mordovia is Zubovo-Polyansky.
After entering the territory of Mordovia, the highway will be the famous village of Umet. It is known for the abundance of tiny cafes along the highway (more than 200 units) and the strong smoke and smell of kebabs. The names of cafes are varied, the most famous of them “Mordonald’s”.
The main target audience of the local catering – truckers, but there are also just hungry people passing by. Stopping in a cafe Umeta remember that here everything is simple, for the undemanding customer: a wooden toilet on the street, simple dishes, not fancy homemade food.
The entire village of Umet with a population of 2.7 thousand people works in the catering industry.
Attractions in Mordovia
Mordovia is famous for its prisons; Dubravlag or ZhH-385, part of the Gulag system, was built here in the late 1920s. It is not something to be proud of, but it is a sad fact. The camps were located among the forests of western Mordovia in the Zubovo-Polyansky district, and now there are more than 30 of them.
The center of this largest state institution is the village of Yavas, formerly named 36 Kilometer and Zavodskoy. Therefore, the Mordovia zone is often called Yavaskaya.
In Soviet times, a special camp for political prisoners was located here. Now among the penal colonies (IC) there is the only zone for foreigners in Russia. Here is also a zone for life convicts and women’s camps. By the way, today’s political prisoners were also incarcerated here: YUKOS lawyer Svetlana Bakhmina, Pussy Riot participant Nadezhda Tolokonnikova.
Most of the sights of Mordovia are concentrated in Saransk. Saransk sights are museums and monuments, theaters and cinemas, parks, zoo, amusements, nightclubs, restaurants, shopping centers and other pleasures. If you find yourself in Mordovia not to get bored and buy Mordovian souvenirs, come to Saransk for sure.
The Star of Mordovia fountain on the Millennium Square
The city makes a favorable impression. There are many squares, beautiful modern fountains and embankments. Despite the large number of factories, it does not give the oppressive impression of an industrial city. Saransk is an oasis of civilization among the endless forests, fields, swamps and small settlements of Mordovia.
In addition, Saransk is an ancient fortress city, founded in 1641. Stepan Razin’s troops and Yemelyan Pugachev himself visited it. It is always interesting when a city has some kind of history.
Saransk is the smallest Russian city that hosted the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The sun-shaped Mordovia Arena stadium was built for the event, with a maximum capacity of about 44,000 people.
Ruzaevka railway station
Ruzaevka is the second most populous city in Mordovia after Saransk. After the last FIFA World Cup 2018 Ruzaevka was transformed for the better. The railway station has been repaired, the streets have been improved, the main roads have been repaired. And also the bus station is finally put in order and most importantly: the railway pedestrian bridge is reconstructed.
What pleases the passengers of Ruzaevka station is the fact that the railway station and the bus station are in the same place. The truth divides them with a pedestrian bridge over the railroad tracks. It is now covered and beautiful instead of the still quite new, but shabby and dilapidated bridge.
The bridge now has elevators on each side. No more dragging heavy bags up to the bridge and then down. Walking across the new glass bridge, you just want to say thank you, World Cup. If it wasn’t for you, the passengers would have suffered, dragging their luggage across the bridge.
In 2011, a monument to Ruzaevka railway workers – a freight steam locomotive “Lebyadanka” – was installed on Privokzalnaya Square. The locomotive was built in 1954 and spent most of its life on the Penza-Ruzaevka and Ruzaevka-Krasny Knot sections. Nearby there are bronze figures of a railway worker and his son.
From Ruzaevka bus station to Saransk bus station is 27 km.
Museum of locomotive depot
Ruzaevka is not rich in interesting or beautiful places. The city of railway workers can offer as a cultural leisure – the museum of the locomotive depot. It is located at: Revolution Street, 1905, 7.
Holy Trinity Cathedral of Ruzaevka with 16 golden domes was founded in 2009. It was built in 2012 with funds from the Ruzaevsky glass factory and donations from the faithful at 61 Karla Marksa St. Construction of the temple was timed to coincide with the celebration of the 1000th anniversary of the unity of the Mordovian people with the peoples of Russia.
The temple is huge, 40 meters high, there is a library and a Sunday school, a refectory and an assembly hall. It is divided into upper and lower churches. It is located at the entrance to the city from the side of Saransk on the highest place.
Near Ruzaevka is the village of Paigarma, where the old female Paraskevo-Voznesensky monastery is located. The monastery is active.
The town of Temnikov is located on the Moksha River and is surrounded by pine forests. There is a relic pine grove Emashevskaya on the shore of Lake Vyakchisheva.
The town of Temnikov is first of all famous for the ancient Sanaksarsky monastery, where there are the grave and relics of Admiral Theodore Ushakov. There are also Temnikov Museum of History and Regional Ethnography and House-Museum of Composer Leonid Voinov.
Ornament Temnikov is the old church of the Assumption of the Blessed Virgin Mary (1827). It was built in honor of the Temnikov militia in 1812.
Address: Mordovia, Temnikov district, village Sanaksar.
A few kilometers from the town of Temnikov there is the most beautiful ancient Sanaksar monastery of the Nativity of the Theotokos. It is located on the bank of the Moksha River and was founded in 1659.
The name of the monastery is connected with the personality of Admiral Ushakov, the famous Russian naval commander. He spent the rest of his life in his estate in the village of Alekseevka near the town of Temnikov. Now there is nothing left of the estate. The illustrious admiral was buried in the Sanaksarsky monastery. In 2001, he was canonized by the church as a saint in the face of the righteous. And now the monastery has not only the grave of the great commander of war, but also the relics of the saint.
The remains of Fyodor Ushakov occasionally travel around Russia as holy relics for solemn church events involving, among others, servicemen and sailors.
Tomb of Fyodor Ushakov
It is noteworthy that the admiral’s uncle Ivan Ignatovich Ushakov, after the monastic tonsure – Feodor of Sanaksary, was the vicar of the Sanaksary monastery (1764-1774), died and is buried here as well. In 1999 the church canonized him as a saint, but only locally venerated by the Saransk diocese.
The monastery was closed by the Soviet authorities in 1929. The reconstruction of the monastery started in 1991.
Passing through the town of Krasnoslobodsk, you will not confuse it with anything else. A noticeable sight of Krasnoslobodsk is the Cathedral of the Resurrection. It is located at the crossroads of the main roads and rises 35 meters above the houses.
The view of such a tall pompous church with its dazzling gilded domes on the background of dull typical houses is disconcerting. It absolutely does not fit in the local landscape and once again emphasizes pathos and grandeur of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Chamzinsky District of the Republic of Mordovia cannot boast of any sights, despite the fact that the settlements of Komsomolsky and Chamzinka are located here. They are major settlements of the Republic. In Komsomolsky there are large plants “Mordovcement” and “Lato”.
There are no large lakes or rivers in Chamzinsky district, the only natural attraction is Lysaya Gora, spread out near the village of Alekseevka. At its foot there is Alekseevsky pond.
You can also note the beautiful old church of Kazan icon of the Mother of God in the village of Makolovo.
Church of Our Lady of Kazan in Makolovo
Township Torbeevo with a population of 9 thousand people is located on the M-5 highway between Zubovaya Polyana and Krasnoslobodsk. Torbeevo is famous all over the world for the man who managed to escape from a German concentration camp – fighter pilot, Hero of the Soviet Union, Mikhail Devyataev. He was born in Torbeyevo; now there is a house museum devoted to the pilot’s exploit in his homeland.
House Museum of a Hero of the Soviet Union Mikhail Devyataev.
Web: mrkm.ru Address: Torbeevo, ul. Oktyabrskaya, 29. Cost: 50 rubles, school and college students – 20 rubles, children from 5 to 7 years – 15 rubles.
The museum was opened on May 8, 1975. It is a branch of the Mordovia Republican Museum of Local Lore named after Voronin. It consists of two parts: an ethnographic museum, recreating the conditions of a peasant hut of 1920-1930s, and dedicated to the Great Patriotic War. There are Devyataev’s personal belongings, documents, photographs, awards, as well as items from the concentration camp “Sachsenhausen”: striped prisoner’s uniform, wooden shoes, a whip and others.