Ryazan Region is a part of Central Federal District of the Russian Federation. It shares borders with Vladimir Region in the north, Nizhny Novgorod Region in the north-east, Mordovia Republic in the east, Penza Region in the south-east, Tambov and Lipetsk Regions in the south, Tula Region in the west and Moscow Region in the north-west.
The region’s area is 39 600 km2; the population is 1 148.5 thousand people. Administrative center is Ryazan, a town with 535 thousand residents. The distance between Ryazan and Moscow is 196 km. The region is situated within Moscow Time Zone.
The climate is moderately continental; average temperature in January is –11°Ñ, average July temperature is +20°Ñ.
Traditionally, vyatichi tribes are considered the ancestors of present-day Ryazan residents. In the 12th century, vyatichi already managed to set up an independent princedom (today it’s become Old Ryazan Archaeological Reserve). The original city was destroyed by Mongol-Tatar invaders in 1237. Since then, its place in the princedom has been occupied by Pereslavl-Zalessky which has gradually inherited the name of the former capital. The princedom reached the peak of its prosperity during the reign of Prince Oleg Ivanovich who was a rival to Moscow princes. Oleg’s descendants were not successful in their antagonism towards Moscow and in 1521 Ryazan princedom was finally included into Moscovia. In 1778, Pereslavl was renamed into Ryazan and soon Ryazan Governorate was established.
The main tourist attraction of Ryazan is the local citadel — the Ryazan Kremlin. The complex has been gradually formed at the site of ancient wooden constructions. At present, the distinctive feature of the Ryazan Kremlin ensemble of the 15-19th centuries is the complex of civil stone buildings dated by the 17th century. During the recent decades, the architectural monuments of the Kremlin have been thoroughly restored and today many of them were returned their original looks. The Ryazan Kremlin ensemble contains 18 architectural, historic and cultural objects of the 11-19th centuries, including Singers’ Corps (1658), the Dormition Cathedral (1693-1699) and the Cathedral of the Nativity of Christ built in the 15 — 19th centuries.
Another grand attraction of the ancient times is Old Ryazan wall dating to the 12–13th centuries — the only site remained from the ancient town. The walls’ height reaches 10 m, length is 3.5 km.
Solotcha Convent is one of the most interesting sites of Ryazan lands. It was founded by Prince Oleg Ivanovich in 1390. After the revolution the convent was closed, part of its buildings destroyed, but in the 60-s restoration began and in April 1994, the convent was returned to the Ryazan Eparchy of the Russian Orthodox Church.
Another famous cloister is the Monastery of St. John the Evangelist situated in Poschupovo settlement. It was founded by missionaries in the 12-13th centuries. The main sanctuary of the monastery is the icon of St. John the Evangelist brought from Constantinople. The local shrines include the miracle-working icons of Our Lady Znamenie-Korchemnaya and Tikhvinskaya.
The region is rich in attractions, including the Esenin Museum, Academic Pavlov’s estate, Old Ryazan museum in the open air, the Airborne Forces Museum, the Tsyolkovsky Museum, the Wooden Architecture Museum in Lunkino village and the famous Ryazan crafts — Mikhailov lace, Skopino ceramics and Kadom «veniz» embroidery. When you arrive in Kasimov, be sure to take a look at the minaret of the local mosque, and while spending your holidays at the Vozha River you are recommended to visit the memorial of the battle at the Vozha.
The Oksky Biospheric Reserve representing the nature of south-eastern Meschera lies 120 km away from Ryazan. Apart from other natural attractions, the place is famous for its crane breeding nursery — the only point where one can observe all the species of Russian cranes. Visitors are offered a 90-minute excursion over the nursery and the River Pra. There is a small hotel in the reserve and the right bank of the Pra is a perfect place for permitted tourist camps.
The national park was set up in 1993 for the purposes of protection and revival of the unique natural complexes. The park’s guests may take a rest on the banks of the Pra or Klepikovski lakes, gather mushrooms and berries, take a walk or a bike ride as well as go boating or skiing. About five thousand visitors annually arrive here to spend their vacations. Water tours over the lakes and various excursion programs are also popular among travelers. All the tourist routes are equipped with comfortable rest areas. Totally, the park features 8 natural attractions, 8 wildlife reserves and over 100 archaeological sites.
Hunting and fishing are allowed in the region almost all year round. The Oka, the Pronya, the Ranova and the Pra as well as numerous water reserves and lakes are well-fitted for amateur and sport fishing activities. Pikes, perches, carps and catfishes are caught here; in the Oka River one may catch a famous Russian sterlet. The best season for fishing is spring and autumn. Special hunting tours may be arranged on request; «Russian hunting» with dogs is rather well-spread among local hunters. Hunting is open for water and moor fowls, quails, deer, roes, hares, foxes, martens and wolves.