Oryol Region was formally established on September 27, 1937. The region’s area amounts to 24 700 km², the population is 821.9 thousand people, 64% of them are urban residents.
The region’s capital is Oryol (319.1 thousand residents). Oryol is 327 km away from Moscow and falls within the same time zone as Moscow (Moscow Time Zone).
Oryol Region is a part of the Central Federal District of the Russian Federation and shares borders with Tula and Kaluga Regions in the north, Bryansk Region in the west, Lipetsk Region in the east and Kursk lands in the south.
The climate is moderately continental; average temperature in January is —9°С, average July temperature is +18°С.
Oryol was founded in 1566 as a fortress designed for protection of Russia’s southern lands from Crimean Tatars upon the decree of Ivan the Terrible. At that time, the town represented a wooden citadel with a settlement inside. In early 17th century, Oryol was in the epicenter of uprising against Boris Godunov and Vasily Shuisky. In 1611, Oryol was destroyed and in 1615 fully eliminated by the Polish and afterwards raised again. In 19th century, Oryol was a classic residence of local nobility and merchants.
Oryol features a big number of museums, in particular literature museums dedicated to Russian writers such as Ivan Bunin, Lev Tolstoy or Nikolai Leskov; and quite a number of theatres. The most distinguished is probably the Turgenev State Academic Theatre. The theatre was founded by S. M. Kamensky and has been known all over Russia. Famous actors of those times — M. S. Schepkin and P. A. Strepetova played their roles on the theatre’s stage. Since 1990-s, the upper foyer has been used for the performances of the Museum Theater of Count Kamensky; a small stage of the theatre is perfect for cameo shows and masterpieces of Russian classics.
Oryol regional administration plans to set up a tourist route «The Golden Ring of Oryol Lands» which would include visits to the most considerable historic and cultural sights of the region. The route would include Hunter’s Castle designed in medieval gothic style, Novosiltsev’s estate in Mtsensk district and the memorial to Russian warriors in Sudbischi settlement. Ancient Bolkhov town is a historic attraction while Lisa Kalitina Museum would be interesting as a literary site. Natural attractions would include the springhead of the Oka in Glazunovka village. A brochure describing the area is expected to be issued in the near future.
The town of Bolkhov (50 km north-west from Oryol) is famous for its numerous churches and well-preserved urban development of the XIX century. Russia’s oldest leather production is also situated here, one may learn more about it in the local natural history museum.
The town of Mtsensk located to the north-east from Oryol is considered the oldest town in the region: the first reference of Mtsensk dates back to 1146. Originally, it was a trading fortress and a crafts center. Today’s visitors of the town get an idea of how Russian provincial towns looked like many years ago and take an opportunity to walk along the preserved trading rows of the XIX century. The local Soloviev Natural History Museum demonstrates an exposition dedicated to the history of the lands’ peopling and the native residents of the area — vyatichi tribes; another exposition shows ancient crafts and cropping. Twelve kilometers away from Mtsensk there lies Spasskoe-Lutovinovo, the family estate of writer Ivan Turgenev. Presently, the estate is transformed into the state memorial and natural museum in the open air.
The town of Livni (south-east to Oryol) was founded in 1486 as another fortress at the southern borders of Russia. However, the first references of Oryol as a settlement date back to the 12th century. The town has always been a trading and agricultural center. Today, the town is interesting for the preserved constructions of St. Sergius Monastery (founded in 1592), a functioning St. Sergius Church built in the 16th century as well as many other buildings of the 19th century.
Saburovskaya Fortress representing the ruins of General Kamensky’s estate is located in Saburovo settlement. Nearby Khotynets village, there is a national park «Orlovskoe Polesie» («Oryol woods») — a unique opportunity to plunge into the world of South-Russian taiga. The park features a population of European bison presently well-protected by the state.
Orlovskoe Polesie enjoys a well-developed infrastructure at the service of its visitors: it offers numerous excursion programs and perfect accommodation facilities right by the park. At big ponds and lakes, one would find well-equipped sites for picnics and recreation, boat landings, beaches and even an animal farm (in Zhudra settlement) with European bisons, Tibetan yaks, peacocks, emu and nandu.
Staroe settlement is famous for its Holy Spring waters considered to be remedial. The mineral water spring has become a pilgrimage destination for Oryol residents and people from neighboring lands. At religious holidays, up to five thousand people arrive here. In 1996, a chapel was erected above the spring.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.