The Penza Region is situated in the Middle Volga Area, bordering on the Ulyanovsk Region, the Saratov Region, the Tambov Region, the Ryazan Region, and the Republic of Marij El. Its area amounts to 43,200 sq. km, its population to 1.388 million of inhabitants belonging to over 100 nationalities. A large Muslim community exists in the region, and newspapers are issued in the Tatar language.
The administrative of the region is the city of Penza, situated 550 km away from Moscow (in a straight line), in the Moscow time zone. The main rivers are the Sura, the Uza, the Khoper, the Moksha, the Vorona.
20% of the territory of the region is covered with broad-leaved forests and pine forests, and a major portion of the territory is occupied with the steppe.
The climate is moderately continental. The average temperature of January is —120, the average temperature of July is +190.
Nature lovers will be attracted by the Privolzhskaya Lesostep (Near-Volga Forest-Steppe) reserve, with its ecosystems having no analogues in the world, its soils recognized the benchmark of meadow soils, and its flora comprising numerous rare and endangered species. The reserve occupies the area of 8,374 hectares of meadow steppe, but the territory of the reserve is arranged for on a cluster basis, and its parts are situated on fairly large distances from each other.
If you are a devoted fisherman, you should in any event visit the Surskoye Water Storage Reservoir, referred to by local inhabitants as a «sea». There, they fish largely in winter, from ice. However, you have a choice; there are a lot of rivers and lakes in the Penza region, harbouring 40 fish species and offering good bite from May to September.
The Penza Region may be also visited for hunting animals; the area of hunting lands in the region is equal to 4 million hectares. Old-style riding hunt with beagles may be arranged for. Wolf hunting is also available.
History lovers should in any event visit the Lermontov Open Air Museum in Tarkhany, where the Great Russian poet spent half of his life and is buried now. In the country estate, you may visit the complex of memorial monuments date the beginning of the 19th century (the manor house, the estate church, the protected park, the ponds, the family necropolis of the Arsenyevs — Lermontovs); in the museum, you will find the articles belonging to the great poet, his paintings, his writing implements, other things, issues of his works and illustrations thereto. Theatricalized excursions, literature soirees, and folk art festivals are regularly held in the museum.
If you are fond of literature, you should in any event visit the town named after the famous critic Belinskiy. The buildings of the late 18th century have partly survived in the town, and the house of the Belinskiy family in the centre, where the museum has been established, containing a large collection of materials on the life and the creative work of the great literary critic.
Those who take interest in folk trades will certainly be attracted by a unique museum of crystal ware and art glass in the town of Nikolsk. In the museum, you will see the covers for liqueur and beer, glasses made by well-known craftsmen, including articles with Venice chains by a well-known craftsman Vertuzaev, glass art samples from Bohemia and Czechia, and the latest achievements of the local glass factory. The museum’s exhibition has never moved from the place, and Nikolsk is the only place where you can see those unique articles.
In 2006, the museum of the Zolotarevskoye Hill Fort was opened, displaying the archeological collection, the history of construction of the ancient fortress and its defenses, the inhabitants’ household life, crafts and trades, weaponry and armour. The Zolotarevskoye Hill Fort is a unique monument of the medieval history, an ancient settlement in the Upper Sura area, the site of the battle between the defenders of the fort and the Mongol-Tatar army. In the autumn each year, the Zolotarevskoye Hill Fort festival is held, including theatricalized excursions, performances arranged for by military history clubs, and the like.
For more detailed information on the Region, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.