mordovia republic - республика мордовия

The Republic of Mordovia is located in the European part of Russia about 500 km south-east of Moscow. As a national entity it was established in July 1928. The title of Republic was conferred on Mordovia in December 1934.  There are no outstanding attractions in the republic but the city of Saransk the capital of Mordovia is surely worth a visit.

saransk - саранск

Saransk was founded in 1641. Currently it is a colorful dynamically developing city. The major sights are located in the city center which has lately been effectively renovated. The main eye-catching feature is the huge blue cathedral with golden domes. It is dedicated to the famous Russian admiral Fyodor Ushakov who in the late 18th century was the Commander-in-Chief of the Russian Black Sea fleet. In 1798-1800 admiral Ushakov played a key part in liberation of Greek Ionian islands from French occupation. Some Greeks still remember this fact. Ushakov never lost a battle. He was canonized by the Russian Orthodox Church in 2001.  The cathedral looks nice at any angle. Many other noticeable buildings and monuments huddle around the cathedral.

A happy Mordovian family hurries to a Sunday sermon.

One of the most prominent leaders of the Russian Orthodox Church was Patriarch Nikon. Born in 1605 in a Mordovian family, Nikon became Patriarch in 1652. His priority was to bring the rites and books of the Russian Orthodox Church in compliance with those of the Greek Church. Before Nikon the entire Russian religious community crossed themselves using two fingers. In 1653 Nikon ruled to begin crossing with three fingers. Nikon's reforms were strongly opposed. The church split into Nikon's followers and so-called Old Believers. The latter eventually had to escape to scarcely populated areas of the Russian North and Siberia. In August 2006 the monument to Nikon was unveiled and consecrated in Saransk by the then Patriarch Alexei the Second.

The reformer Patriarch.

The Russian Orthodox Church office.

The House of the Republic.

The World War II memorial.

The WWII museum.

The central post office.

The red fox is a national symbol of Saransk.

The number one Russian poet Alexander Pushkin (1799 - 1837).

To the founders of Saransk.

A Mordovian farmer came to the Agricultural Bank for a loan.

Streetscapes of Saransk.

The bronze gold-painted Lenin is watching closely what is going on in Saransk.

Having explored Saransk, John Burke (USA) and Jack Goldstein (Colombia) are walking back to the Park Hotel.

The Park Hotel.

The railway station.


The town of Insar located about 80 km from Saransk was founded in 1647. Currently it is a quiet provincial town.

The 1900 St. Olga Convent.

The 1823 Nativity Church stands nearby.

The town hall.

WWII memorial.

stratonauts - стратонавты

January 30, 1934 a stratospheric balloon equipped with instruments and having three persons on board took off in Moscow and reached the record altitude of 22,000 meters. At that time no one had any experience of flying a balloon at such high altitude. The crew made a number of mistakes. As a result, the balloon descended too fast, the gondola went loose and crashed landing in the vicinity of Insar. The crew died. Their ashes were buried with great honours in the Kremlin wall in Red Square in Moscow. There are three monuments commemorating the event.

In Saransk the monument stands across the railway station.

Another one is in the outskirts of Insar.

The third one in the village of Usyskino about 10 km from Insar. That's where the gondola actually crashed landing.

Sanaksarsky monastery

The Sanaksarsky monastery located near the town of Temnikov was founded in 1659. The monastery is known as the burial place of admiral Fyodor Ushakov the most outstanding commander of the Russian Navy in late 18th-early 19th century. The big cathedral in Saransk is dedicated to him.

A monument to Ushakov near the entrance to the monastery.

Admiral Ushakov's grave.

Somewhere in Mordovia.