Kaluga Region is an administrative subject of the Russian Federation. It shares borders with Moscow, Tula, Bryansk, Smolensk and Oryol regions. Kaluga lands are 29.9 thousand km² in area; the population of the region is 1002.9 thousand residents (2009).
The region was formally established in 1944. The administrative center is the town of Kaluga.
The first records of Kaluga date back to 1371. In 1777, it was granted the title of a town and became the center of the governorate. Today’s city center has preserved many remarkable sites of civil architecture of the 18 — 19th centuries including municipal offices of the late 18th century, Gostiny Dvor trading rows (late 18 — early 19th centuries), a stone Berezuevsky Bridge (1777-1780), Korobkovs Chambers (the late 17th century, now a museum), Khlustinskie Charity Premises (the early 19th century). Municipal museums include the Natural History Museum, the Fine Arts Museum and Tsyolkovsky Museum.
Kaluga lands are located in the middle part of East European Plain, 94 km south-west of Moscow.
The climate is characterized by distinct seasonality: moderately hot and humid summers and moderately cold winters with stable snow coverage. Average temperature in July is +18 °C, in January it is −9 °C. The warm period (with the temperature above zero) lasts 215—220 days a year.
Kaluga Region is rich in architectural and natural sights. In the 12th century, the first mentions of Kozelsk, Vorotynsk and Mosalsk and other regional towns appear in Russian scripts. The area’s ancient history shows in numerous relics of civil and church architecture of various epochs and styles. The region is well-fitted for cultural tourism and leisure being attracting all types of travelers.
Kaluga Region is famous for ancient monasteries, in particular Tikhonova and Optina Pustyn, Pafnutiev Borovsky and St. Nicolas Chernoostrovsky Monasteries.
Tikhonova Pustyn was founded by Saint Tikhon in the 15th century. Presently, the monastery functions and carries out restoration works. The most remarkable among the monastery constructions is the grand Dormition Cathedral built in the beginning of the 20th century in Byzantium style.
Optina Pustyn is a major tourist and pilgrimage centers in Kaluga region included into most of the local tourist routes. The monastery devoted to the Entrance of the Holy Virgin into the Temple was founded in the 15th century. The most prosperous period fell at the end of the 18th century when it started to receive donations from all over Russia. In 1832-1839, the monastery was surrounded by a low fencing with four corner towers. The monastery’s territory is almost square. The main Entrance Cathedral is located in the center and surrounded by several churches shaped as a cross. Close to the monastery’s grove is a hermitage with an old wooden church of John the Baptist built in 1822.
Pafnutiev Borovsky Monastery is the major tourist attraction of Borovsk town. In 16 — the early 17th century, it also served a fortress protecting the south-western borders of Moscow princedom. Six towers form the basis of the cloister’s defending function — the Secret Tower, the Entrance Tower, the Guarding Tower, St. George Tower and the Round Tower. The oldest construction preserved until today is the refectory built in 1511. Next to it is the square church of the Nativity of Christ. In general, the complex represents a grand and holistic ensemble.
St. Nicolas Chernoostrovsky Convent is located in the north-east of Maloyaroslavets town. The central St. Nicolas temple was constructed in Byzantium style and consecrated on August 26, 1843. The temple was built in commemoration of the heroes of the Patriotic War of 1812 with Napoleon. The central stone gates still bear the traces of cannon balls and canister shells. Tsar Nicolas I did not allow to restore them for people to remember the glorious years; now the gates have become one of the nunnery’s historic attractions.
Kaluga Region is ideal for hunting and fishing with plenty of rivers and forests. Those who prefer quiet leisure in the open air are attracted by state-protected territories of regional and federal levels including Rezvansky water spring located 9 km away from Kaluga in the Municipal Countryside Forestry. The spring looks like a small round pool with a spring brook spurting from the bottom. Today, the spring is concluded into a metal tube.
Kaluga lands have got all possible conditions for environmental tourism. The Vyrka pond is one of such natural local attractions. This large artificial water reservoir got its name from the river nearby. The pond and its surroundings are impressively picturesque. The banks of the Vyrka are covered with fine woods; the upper waters are full of aquatic and semi-aquatic plants. The Vyrka has preserved valuable genetic material that is rare plants and animals.
A little way from Rozhdestveno settlement, there grows Rozhdestvensky Forest featuring massive pines and firs. The forest is dominated by firs added by pines, aspens, birches and oaks. The average age of the trees is about eighty years.
Kaluga Region is a remarkable tourist center with well-preserved unique monuments of ancient Russian architecture and natural resources of Central Russia.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.