The city of Ryazan is situated in the European part of Russia 200 km from Moscow. Ryazan is the administrative center of the region with the population of five hundred thirty five thousand people. The Oka river divides the territory of the region into two parts: the woody northern one and the south one which includes deciduous forest areas and forest-steppe zones.
The history of the Ryazan region is rich as it started approximately 15 to 25 millennia ago during the paleolith era when first human sites were formed. Slavic tribes of Vyatich are regarded as Ryazanians’ ancestors. They started to infiltrate into the territory of the Ryazan region at the end of the 1st century AC. In the 12th century the Vyatich created an independent principality with Ryazan as the capital (now the archeological reserve of Staraya Ryazan). In 1237 Ryazan was demolished by Tatar-Mongols. The heroic defense of Ryazan (the old city) which was the first to meet the hordes of Batyy and the heroic deeds of Yevpatiy Kolovrat make up a vivid page of the Russian history. After the destruction of Old Ryazan and subsequent invasions of the nomads, the town of Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy gradually took over the role of the former capital as well as its name.
The heyday of the Ryazan principality is usually associated with Prince Oleg Ivanovich (1350-1402) who was competing with Moscow princes with varying success. Certain peculiarities of the Ryazan principality geographical location made it necessary to constantly maneuver between the Golden Horde, Moscow and Lithuania and determined the actions of this outstanding warrior and politician. However, Oleg’s descendants did not succeed confronting Moscow and in 1521 the Ryazan principality officially became part of the Moscow State. On February 29, 1778 the Ryazan province was made per Resolution of Catherine the Great. That was also when Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy was renamed into Ryazan. The Ryazan region is a popular tourist destination. The city will not disappoint anyone.
Main Tourism Types and Directions (Ryazan)
Cultural And Educational TourismThe big cultural potential of the entire region is largely made of its unique popular culture: traditions, rites, art trades, holidays dating many centuries. There are over three thousand history, archeology and architecture monuments in the city and region which are unique such as churches, estates, industrial buildings, mansions of merchants. Also, the town has good theaters and more than thirty history, art, literature, military museums. The latter are especially popular: the airborne museum, long-range air force museum, military technics museum, Tsiolkovskiy museum, Skobelev memorial, etc.
Drama TheaterRyazan Regional Drama Theater (Architect I.N.Chistoserdova, bas-relief frontal panel sketch by artist K.K.Shelkovenko) was opened in 1961. The theater made a long and difficult way from its foundation in 1787. Ryazanians could see such luminaries on its stage as O.O.Sadovskaya, M.P.Sadovskiy, A.I.Yujin, P.N.Orlenev, A.A.Yablochkina. Ryazan performances were shown in many cities of the country as well as on the stage of the Kremlin Congress Palace.
Soborna Theater (formerly — Children’s Theater)Ryazan Children’s Theater faces Sobornaya Square. This theater was founded in 1937. It has a unique team. The typical repertoire is an open talk about the formation of a young person. The theater has been awarded many times.
Puppet TheaterThe only Ryazan puppet theater is next to Theater square. The audience can see performances with puppets, shadows, etc. There is a puppet museum in the theater where puppets are exhibited which performed in different shows. Children from Ryazan kindergartens and elementary schools like to visit this theater very much. Every winter there are New Year shows for kids, and during public holidays there are exhibitions of manufactured goods for the townspeople.
Since 1996 two non-government-sponsored theater companies have been in Ryazan, Anterpriza and Malaya Stsena. Both teams work on the private theatrical enterprise basis inviting actors from regional theaters for one-time performances.
Monument to YeseninThe monument to great Russian lyric Sergey Yesenin was opened on 2 October, 1975 when the entire country was marking his eightieth anniversary. It was set up on Trubezha embankment next to the architecture monument of Spasa-na-Yaru Church, opposite to the Ryazan Kremlin. The vast Oka plains sung by Yesenin can be seen from here. The monument is made as a bronze figure of the poet and gray and green granite surroundings.
The monument is a bit unusual. The figure looks like it is growing from the ground. Yesenin is shown enthusiastically reading his verses. His face looks inspired, the collar of the shirt is unfastened. The poet’s favorite trees grow behind the monument — birches, maples and service-trees. A special solid stone with a figure of a flying crane is an integral part of the monument.
Monument to TsiolkovskiyThe name of the rocket engine and interplanetary navigation theory was given to a big and beautiful street of the town. A monument to the famous citizen was opened in 1982 (sculptor O.K.Komov, architect N.I.Komova).
Monumental Complex on Victory SquareThe Monumental Complex in honor of the victory of the Soviet people over Nazi Germany during WWII was opened in 1975. The sculpture group in the center stands for the unity of the front and rear during that heroic time, and a 100-ft high column next to it raised a large copy of the Victory Order. The Eternal Glory Flame at the monument was lit from the eternal flame on the tomb of the unknown soldier in Moscow. By tradition, the second world war veterans gather here for the Victory Day. Front-line pals and brother-soldiers meet here. This is from where columns of Ryazan cadets set off to the traditional event of soldier songs.
MemorialThe memorial built in the Ryazan war graveyard designed by Ryazan architects became true people’s construction. It is difficult to find an enterprise or organization in the town which did not take part in the memorial creation in one way or another. Memory about the people who fought so heroically and sacrificed their lives for our Motherland’s freedom and independence will be honored for all time.
Pilgrimage TourismThe Ryazan region has been long famous for monasteries. Many of them became centers of spiritual life in Russia. Svyato-Ionno-Bogoslovskiy, Solotchinskiy, Vyshenskiy and Nikolo-Cherneyevskiy monasteries are a popular pilgrimage destination for thousands of people.
Solotchinskiy CloisterSolotchinskiy Monastery is one of the most exciting sights in Ryazan. It was founded by famous Ryazan Prince Oleg Ivanovich. According to a legend, Oleg and his wife happened to be on the bank of the Solotcha river and meet two hermits named Vasiliy and Evfimiy. They suggested the idea to build a monastery to the Grand Prince. Oleg laid it in 1390. In 1917 the monastery was shut down and a part of its buildings was lost. In April 1994 the monastery was transferred to the Ryazan Eparchy.
Svyato-Ionno-Bogoslovskiy MonasterySvyato-Ionno-Bogoslovskiy monastery was founded by missionary monks who had come there to enlighten local heathens in the 12th and 13th centuries. They had brought the wonder-working icon of St. Ioann the Divine, one of the relics given by the Konstantinopol Church to Russia. This icon became the main relic of the cloister. A lot of relics were collected in the cloister: the wonder-working icon of the Blessed Virgin called Znamenie-Korchemna and Tihvinska. Shrines with relics of saints’ bodies such as George the Victor, healer Panteleymon, Nikolay Wonder-worker and others are stored there as well as relics related to martyrs Mihail Ryazanskiy and Iuvenaliy Ryazanskiy. Next to the monastery and ancient monastery caves is the Holy Well which has been considered as wonder-working. A lot of miraculous healings took place here.
Svyato-Nikolo-Cherneyevskiy CloisterSvyato-Nikolo-Cherneyevskiy Cloister is situated near the town of Shatska in the Ryazan region. It was founded by celibate priest Matvey on the right bank of the Tsna river in 1576. The cloister played an important role in the life of the Moscow state. It was an orthodox outpost, a fortress of a kind. In 1929 the cloister was shut down and in 1994 returned to the church. The icon of Saint Martyr Healer Panteleymon was transferred to the cloister in 2000.
Svyato-Uspenskiy Vyshenskiy CloisterSvyato-Uspenskiy Vyshenskiy Cloister was set up in 1625 by a charter of Great Nun Martha Ioanovna (mother of king Mihail Fedorovich). The first temple of the desert was built in the name of the Blessed Virgin Assumption in 1761. On 7 May, 1827 the wonder-working icon of the Kazan Blessed Virgin was sacrificed to the cloister. The summer cathedral of the Kazan Blessed Virgin was built for the icon in 1832 through 1834. In 1886 Saint Bishop Feofan arrived in the cloister. He liked it there and wrote that “Vysha can only be exchanged for the Realm of Heaven”. The Nativity Cathedral was consecrated in 1890. For the time being it is under repair.
Strikingly beautiful temples and cathedrals seem to be above times. Built by talented architects they stand nowadays as a proof of the great level of the Russian religious architecture.
Ryazan Architecture Monuments
Ryazan KremlinThe Ryazan Kremlin is the ancient core of the town founded at the end of 1095. Ancient wooden constructions were gradually replaced by the existing ensemble of the Kremlin built between the 15th and the 19th centuries. Its distinctive feature is a completely of stone civil buildings of the 17th century. The architecture monuments of the Kremlin have been meticulously studied and gradually restored over the last 20 years. Many of them are no longer in a critical condition and look original. The great ensemble of the Ryazan Kremlin has 18 historical and cultural monuments of the 11th through 19th centuries and occupies 64 acres.
What is Worth Seeing in the KremlinThe Singers’ Building of the Vladychny Dvor, 1658; the Assumption Cathedral, 1693 through 1699.
Old Ryazan Ramparts of the 12th and 13th CenturiesLook at the mighty installations of the antiquity which are both archeological sites and the only architectural monuments of the ancient town which lasted out till the present. The height of the ramparts reaches 30 feet although in some places they sagged a lot; the length is over 2 miles. Historians and archeologists point out a connection between the defensive nature of the ramparts and the sophisticated way they are blent with the landscape and its foldings which also form the natural defensive system of the town. “The town is a triangle in the layout”, says old Ryazan researcher V.P.Darkevich, “about 40 acres in spaces, and a bow-shaped rampart protects it from the field made of yellow continental clay with its ends pointed to the banks of the Oka and Serebryanka rivers”. Archeologists distinguish fortifications of the ancient part of the town dated back to the middle of the 11th century (‘krom’) and the ‘middle town’ and the ‘capital town’ or southern site which was built during the entire 12th century.
Ryazan Orthodox Temples
Archangel CathedralThis monument can be regarded as the oldest one out of those who lasted out till the present (if we do not take into account archeological remains of the ancient Assumption temple at the site of the modern Nativity Cathedral). The Archangel Cathedral in the Prince Court of Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy was founded in the 15th century. That is when the shape of a small square building with three apses on four posts inside was made. However, the existing Archangel Cathedral was built together with Italian architects at the beginning of the 16th century — before 1520. The temple was dedicated to the cult of Archangel Mikhail which stresses the defensive direction of Ryazan monuments of the 14th and 15th centuries known from the icons. The eastern and southern facades of the cathedral are considered to be its earliest parts, and the top of the walls and the dome are deemed to be the latest parts built in the 1640s. The Archangel Cathedral is the tomb of several Ryazan bishops.
Epiphany Church (1647)It is a beautiful five-domed church with a refectory and a hip-roof bell tower situated at the old Spassk Cloister. When describing the outer decorations of the temple, G.K.Wagner mentions that “There is something which reminds Suzdal when one looks at the elegant drums decorated with hanging arches and beads engirdling columns. But the belt of keeled kokoshnicks just below the roof is lush and expresses the new ‘posad’ style…”
Ryazan Boris and Gleb Cathedral (now functioning)Several churches have been total built where this temple is now. Historians believe that this is also where the first ancient temple of Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy was built (Boris and Gleb Temple too). First (in the 16th century) there was a bishop church which did not last long, then at the beginning of the 17th century a wooden temple was built and replaced by a stone one in 1686. At present, the main part of the 17th century building remains but it was partly rebuilt in the 19th century. The stone decorations of this part and single architecture features hint at architect Yakov Buhvostov, the talented author of many famous Ryazan buildings of the 17th century.
Duhovska Church of RyazanAfter Ryazan was attached to Moscow in the 1740s, the former prince court in the Ryazan kremlin was being actively built with religious buildings. One of the first was the Duhovska (Spirit) Church in a 15th century cloister after the Holy Spirit. The church is associated with the previous 16th century by its shape and has two tall hipped roofs. Its builder, talented architect Vasiliy Zubov from Soligalich seemed to be contents with his creation; at least he set up a stone inside the church with his name carved on it. The church has always impressed people with its refined beauty, and the outer parts of the temple are not over overdecorated as it can often be seen in other contemporary buildings.
Consistorial Building of the Vladychny Court in the Pereyaslavl-Ryazanskiy Kremlin (mid-17th century)The consistorial Building of the Vladychny Court was built in the middle of the 17th century, the architect is believed to be U.Yarchov. The building belongs to secondary premises and was meant to be utilized for the eparchy management needs. A cooperage, a smithy and sheds of the 17th century were adjacent to the consistorial building. This building was the last step to turn the archbishop court in the kremlin into the residence of higher orders of Ryazan clergy which was started by Bishop Iona.
Precursor Gate Church of Solotchinskiy Cloister, 17th centuryThe Solotchinskiy Cloister founded by Prince Oleg Ivanovich was partly functioning as a defensive fortification on the way to the town. It is situated on the bank of the Oka river, twelve miles to the north from Ryazan in one of the most striking places of Meschera with century old pine forests. The hill where the cloister is has a great view on the vast fields of the Oka. The bell tower of the Bogoslov Cloister can be seen in the distance. A Holy Gate was built at the entrance to the cloister with a small overgate church dedicated to John the Baptist (1695) while the archimandrite was Ignatiy Shangin. It is a building called ‘tchetvyorik na vosmyorike’ decorated with wisps of columns on the corners and a hanging weight in the arch. The main vosmyorik decorated with tiles is particularly impressing. The temple is caped with a small drum identical to that of the Solotchinskiy cloister refectory.
Holy Spirit Church of Solotchinskiy Cloister with Refectory (1688-1689)This monument is often referred to as just ‘refectory’ even though there is a church dedicated to the Holy Spirit. The refectory was built by metropolitan standards, according to experts. Such are the contemporary refectories of the following cloisters: Troitse-Sergiyev, Novodevichyev, Bogoyavlenskiy in Kitay-Gorod of Moscow. Many believe that Yakov Buhvostov was the architect of the refectory. He used different techniques and forms. The temple was built on the ‘tchetvyorik na vosmyorike’ principle. The Holy Spirit Church is capped with an elegant dome on a small drum. Large facade platband can be seen from a considerable distance. Five windows of the refectory look like a precious inset. Their details are made of white stone, highlighted with color tile insets with images of cherubs. Taking into account the original white and red coloring of the walls, this must have looked very bright. Similar approach is used for the vosmyorik which caps the Holy Spirit Church. The bell tower over the refectory was finished in 1735. The temple with the refectory harmonizes with the neighboring overgate church and they all create the unique great ensemble of the Solotchinskiy Cloister.
Savior Church on Ravine (1695)The slender temple dedicated to Transfiguration Savior was built at the end of the 17th century and reflected the new ideas that entered Ryazan architecture of the second half of the century. The five-domed church was built on the brink of a precipice overlooking the Trubej river and has wisps of columns in the corners which make it look especially slender and even magnificent. The bell tower which is, according to G.K.Wagner, “…octagonal pillar covered with a beautiful dome growing over the western wall of the refectory” makes the church look special. This temple belongs to the so-called posad architecture of old towns.
ActivitiesVirtually all the year around it is possible to hunt and fish anywhere in the region. Vast waters of the region have always lured fans of fishing here. The Oka, Pronya, Ranova, Pra rivers as well as numerous lakes and storage ponds create favorable conditions for sports and amateur fishing. Pike, chub (asp), perch, sazan, bream, cat-fish, crucian and other fish bites well here. Sterlet abounds in the Oka. The best season for fishing is spring and fall. Main species of birds are allowed for hunting: water/moor fowl, quail, dove; also deer, doe, hare, fox, marten, wolf. Hunting tours can be arranged for citizens of Russia and foreign nationals. So-called Russian hunting is very popular — a pack of greyhounds is used to bait fowl. The most interesting location for tourists is the Pra river which connects a network of lakes in the lowland of Meschery.
Environmental TourismWhile the Ryazan region is a developed industrial area, it still has part which are not contaminated. If you add great and diverse landscape you get great conditions for tourism. The total of 895 rivers flow across the region, there are 2,800 lakes of different sizes. The main waterway of the region is the Oka river which divides the territory into two parts: northern and southern with broad-leaved forests and forest-steppe. The forests consist mainly of conifers, namely pine-trees and occupy about 27 per cent of the region territory.
The Ryazan region has 255,750 acres of protected natural territories including the Oka state biosphere reserve, the Mescherskiy national natural park, 47 game reserves, 57 natural monuments, 1 watermoor reserve of international importance belonging to the A group by the Ramsar Convention.
National ParkThe National Park was created in 1993 with the purpose of protection and revival of unique natural complexes as well as natural and historical monuments. The National Park is always ready to welcome guest: locals and tourists can have a good time on the banks of the Pra river and Klepikovskiy Lakes, go picking berries and mushrooms in forest glades, hike and ride bikes, travel by canoe and go skiing. About five thousand visitors come here every year. The most popular tourist routes are: Klepikovskiye Lakes water route, Klepiki-Brykin Bor water route, Paustovskiy’s Path hiking route. The ‘Window to Nature’ environment path will unveil the magnificent world of typical species of Meschera. All of the routes have tourist stations. There are 8 natural monuments in the park, 8 reserves, 5 architecture monuments, over 100 archeological monuments. Ryazan travel companies are ready to welcome tourists to those routes.
Okskiy ReserveThe Okskiy reserve represents the nature of southern-eastern Meschera; it is situated 300 km from Moscow and 120 km from Ryazan. Special care is paid to studying and protecting rare species in the reserve. Thoroughbred bison and Russian desman nurseries are famous not only in Russia but also abroad. A special nursery for rare crane species is the only location in Russia where all kinds of Russian cranes can be seen at a time. The staff of the nursery were the first in the world to create a technique to save Siberian white cranes. Baby birds are taught to walk and later fly, eat natural food, communicate with one another, that is to live. Over 800 species of plants and trees and 500 kinds of mushrooms grow on the territory of the reserve, 39 species of fish live there. Visitors of the reserve can take part in a 90-minute excursion to rare species nurseries and the Pra river. A small hotel is at the reserve as well as several tourist stations on the right bank of the Pra river.
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