The Kirov Region was established in 1936. Its area amounts to 120 thousand sq. km, its population to 1.413 million, 72% of which live in the towns and cities. Besides the Russians, who are the majority in the region, there also live the Tatars, the Gipsy, the Komi, and others.
The administrative centre of the region is the city of Kirov with the population of 464 thousand. It is situated 800 km away from Moscow (in a straight line), in the Moscow time zone. The surface relief is mostly hilly; over a half of the region’s territory is covered with forests with rich flora and fauna. The main rivers of the region belong to the basin of the Volga (the Vyatka, the Kama).
The region is also rich in cultural points of interest, registered in the number of three thousand and a half. Those fond of folk trades will be certainly attracted by famous Dymkovo toys and Kukarka laces.
There are medicinal springs and muds in the region (health resorts Nizhneivkino, Mat i Ditya (Mother and Child), Vyatskie Polyany).
The region has a moderately continental climate with a relatively warm winter (the average temperature is —130) and a cool summer (the average temperature is +180). The air humidity is relatively high — 75% on the average.
192 protected natural territories are situated in the territory of the region. One of them is the Nurgush reserve 5,500 hectares in the area, with 50 lakes and 5 rivers. The reserve is famous for its outstanding natural diversity: 550 species of plants, 87 species of mosses, 94 species of lichens, 11 species of water plants are growing there. Many secular pine-trees and oaks are also available.
In that reserve, in addition to elks, wilds boars, and otters, a rare animal — Russian muskrat — is harbouring, and some birds entered into the Red Book (white-tailed eagles and ospreys). Environmental tourism is permitted in the reserve, and appropriate instruction is provided.
Another reserve to attract wild nature lovers is the Bylina wildlife refuge, over 47 thousand sq. km in area, where dozens of rare species of plants and animals are available, with numerous wood grouse lekking grounds, white grouse broods, and gray crane nesting populations. When walking over the reserve, you can watch northern lights of a stunning beauty. Rafting on the rivers by kayaks and fishing (usual trophies are graylings, pikes, and hump-backed cods) are permitted in the reserve.
A unique natural object is Lake Shaitan, with its drifting islands, some of which support a man, and with spouts driven out of the water from time to time. Another famous lake in the region is Lake Lezhninskoye, the depth of which is 36.6 metres, with water transparent down to the very bottom. That lake is popular with those fond of diving as, according to a local legend, two villages are on the bottom, having gone there with their buildings and chapels.
Those taking interest not only in the current status of nature but in its history as well should in any event visit the town of Kotelnich (120 km from Kirov) and watch a well-known location of pareiasaurs (a large pre-historic pangolin up to 3 meters in length) and other terrestrial vertebrate species. Each year, scientists find on the bank of the Vyatka fragmented and complete skeletons of ancient animals dated back to Permian period of the Paleozoic era and the Triassic and the Jurassic periods of the Mesozoic era. The paleontological museum works in the town, where you can see all the findings made in the location and also to learn of the global geological and evolution processes having taken place on the Earth for almost 200 million years.
In Kirov itself, a large number of ancient buildings, mostly religious, have survived: the ensemble of Svyato-Uspenskiy Friary, Spasskiy Cathedral, Serafim Sarovskiy Cathedral, a Roman Catholic Church, a mosque dated the early 20th century.
Those who like rural landscapes will be attracted by a picturesque settlement of Darovskoye, located on two rivers, the Darovushka and the Kobra. Now, the settlement is the administrative centre of the Darovskiy District, with a pine-tree park. 24 sesquicentennial cedars and 6 larches are growing not far from the settlement and an alley of centennial firs as well.
Popular with tourists is the town of Sovetsk, founded at the end of the 16th century as the Kukarka settlement, where masterpieces of ancient stone and wooden architecture have survived, including a church built in the early 17th century (Protection of the Holy Mary Church on the Monastery Hill).
In the village of Ryabovo, the memorial estate of painters V.M. Vasnetsov and A.M. Vasnetsov is located. At the end of each summer, the Vasnetsov Plein Air is held there — an event, to which painters come from all over Russia. During the event, you can get familiar with the life and works of the brothers Vasnetsovs and to work yourself in the territory of the memorial estate and in the surroundings of the village of Ryabovo; visits to other picturesque places are also planned.
Various master classes in folk trades are also arranged for within the framework of the Plein Air, where anybody willing may have a try.
The region has extensive resources for health tourism: there are 21 health resorts, offering balneologic treatment, mineral waters, needle therapy, hirudotherapy, speleotherapy. These methods have proved their effectiveness in treatment of disorders of digestive organs, respiratory, nervous and cardiac systems, urogenital system, musculoskeletal system, metabolism, and also treatment of occupational diseases.
Each year, events of all-Russia significance are held in the region such as declamation art contest My Russia, the Vyatskaya Vesna (Vyatka Spring) musical festival, the festival of modern man-made toys.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.