Do you find yourself in Mordovia? In that case, you must go to the very heart of this republic – the city of Saransk.
Saransk is an ancient city in the central Volga region. It was founded in 1641 as the fortress of the southeast edge of the Russian kingdom. This fortress was called Saransky Ostrogek and was situated on the Insar river. It’s status as a city wasn’t bestowed until 1780.
The capital got its name from the word sara, which means “swampy area” in the Finnish, Karelian, Estonian and other Finno-Ugric languages. Today Saransk is bright cultural center, the Russian capital of speed walking, which was given the title of “the most well-maintained city in Russia” in 2012. Do you want to learn more? So, get comfortable and read the list of places worth visiting to make your trip unforgettable!
The S. D. Erzia Museum of Fine Arts
This museum is a particularly valuable part of the cultural and national heritage of the Mordovian People. The works of such artists as Stepan Erzia, Fedot Sychkov, and Ivan Makarov, as well as collections of Russian art, the modern art of Mordovia, and modern domestic, decorative and popular art are all exhibited here. The museum has the rich collection of paintings, graphics and sculptures.
If you come to Saransk, you should certainly visit this famous place. The works of the artists are strikingly beautiful and filled with love and a sense of nature. You should save some time for a thorough visit to the museum.
The Pushkin Park of Culture and Recreation
Walk through the Pushkin park of Culture and Recreation. This is the favorite place for townspeople to relax over the weekend Here you will see a live flower bed, which is constantly reconfigured to display the today's date. There is also a zoo, floating fountain, children’s rides, and numerous cafes and restaurants mixed among many other landmarks here. In the summer when the weather is good a lot of people gather here at the park to relax.
There are plenty of different sculptures for those who like to take pictures. The shaded alleys of the park and pure air bring guests and city residents to this beautiful park again and again to relax and enjoy.
It’s worth mentioning that the fox isn’t just an animal to this city, it is its state symbol, and can be found on both the flag and in the anthem of the capital of Mordovia.
In 2009 the park complex was built for city patrons. It was set right in front of the museum of fine arts.
If you visit the museum, go up to the fox and rub its nose. Make a wish here and wait for it to come true. There are also crystal balls which hold predictions of the future near the fox, and anyone who wants to can find out his or her future.
This is the main square of Saransk. It is situated in the very center of the city on Sovetskaya Street. It was created in the first half of the 17th century. The square has held different names: Bazarnaya, Verhnebazarnaya, and Torgovaya.
The last, most modern name was given to the square because of its location near the Spasskij Cathedral, with its unusual sculptures and furniture inside.
This place is popular among the town’s residents. Here one can take part in big parties, festive processions and rallies, or just enjoy a walk.
The Memorial Museum of Great War and Labor Exploits 1941-1945
As in many other Russian cities, Saransk has monuments connected to The Great Patriotic War. The Memorial Museum of the Great War and Labor Exploits was opened in 1995 in honor of the 50th anniversary of The Great Victory. There are more than 40,000 items connected with the war and the Republic of Mordovia in the museum, such as documents, archives, arms, photographs, awards and letters from the battlefield. Paintings and sculptures dedicated to the war are also exhibited in the memorial museum. There is military equipment from both wartime and after the war outside the museum.
The I. D. Voronin United Museum of Regional Studies of the Republic of Mordovia.
This is the vault of the material and spiritual cultural monuments of Mordovia
There are 3 main departments here: nature, history, and modern history. More than 200 thousand momentos are held in the vault. They are traditional arts and household items: documents, reflecting the historical past, scientific, cultural and technical achievements, and materials describing natural conditions and resources. The exhibition of applied art and traditional crafts is in high demand. The museum contains a memory of not only historical events, but historical people as well: mementos from famous scientists, actors, writers, sportsmen, and politicians can all be found here.
There is a historical monument of state significance on the territory of the museum. The Pugachev tent, named after the moment when Pugachev, the famous mutineer, came to the city. Feasts and terrible executions happened here. From the porch of this tent Pugachev read his decrees.
The modern museum uses its space productively. Lectures, tours, excursions, and events are all held here.
The star of Mordovia
Thehe previously mentioned unique fountain of light and music in the capital of Mordovia. It is located in the center of the city, at the Millennium Square, where town residents and guests love to visit.
It is not the first such fountain in the city, but due to its height and technical complexity it is considered to be one of the most fascinating fountains in Russia.
And finally - souvenirs! You should definitely go gift shopping and buy several keepsakes here. Dolls depicting Mordovian girls, embroidery, toys from Tavlin, magnets and T-shirts – bring a little part of Mordovia into your house or the houses of your relatives.
Get away from the boring places! Have you gotten bored with typical walks in parks and squares? Do you want to learn about the local spots of the town’s residents, hidden from tourists? In that case, read the rest of this post, and see that Saransk is not boring at all!
#1. The Gerard Depardieu Center
Isn’t it interesting that the most famous French actor has flown and set up a center in his own name in a Russian province, where no foreign stars have ever stepped before? Don’t believe it? Google it. And those who have made sure it’s true, may run directly to the movies to enjoy novelties of the cinema! “Russian movie stars became the first visitors of this center in Saransk: that evening Ivan Kalnynsh, Natalia Gvozdikova, Lev Prygunov. Arcadi Inin, Armen Medvedev and Irina Tsivina walked along the red carpet before a crowd of people. But the biggest round of applause came for Gerard Depardieu. The actor marched along the red carpet shaking hands with town residents, giving autographs and posing to take selfies with fans. Good afternoon! – he greeted everyone gathered in Russian, almost without an accent, but then apologized in French for not being able to say more without a translator. “I am glad that my name will be on the map of Saransk, because I’m a town resident. It is a great pleasure that there is the new church opposite the cinema. I hope that our center will become a place where you will be able to go with your families” said The Russian Paper, about the opening of the new cinema. If you want to spend an evening in comfort, you should definitely visit the cinema. You may meet the french actor while walking through Saransk, who knows?
#2. Do you want to do something totally crazy
Do you want to do something totally crazy and remember Mordovia as the place where you conquered your fear of heights (if you have one)? If so, you should go to the flying club, which is located outside the city, go through training and step into the thrills! Skydiving and paragliding will help you to see the Mordovian sights from a bird’s-eye view.
#3 Horseback riding
If you are not ready for the extreme, you might go to the local stables and carriage house to ride a horse. This ride will relieve your stress and will help to restore your contact with nature. You may stay and spend the weekend there, there are nice wooden villas with terraces and bathhouses in this center. Nowadays there are 15 horses in the local stables and carriage house, including ponies. They all have different colors and temperaments. You can treat them to carrots and apples that you’ve bought at the stables or brought with you, but only under the supervision of an instructor and after an introduction to the safety rules. Horseback riding is an excellent emotional jolt, and is stress relieving for people living in the age of information overload. So, what could be better than that?
#4. Have you gotten bored with the local atmosphere?
Do you want to smell coffee beans?
There are plenty of nice cafes, where you can enjoy jazz, and delicious drinks and cakes. The Mint Shop, where one can buy floral compositions, especially attracts town residents.
The list goes on, but you should avoid the boring, and walk through the city. Everyone can find something interesting to enjoy here!