The Republic of Mordovia was established in 1930. It is a part of the Volga Federal District. Its area is 26 thousand sq. km, its population — 833 thousand, of which 60% live in towns and cities. There are many ethnic Tatars in the republic; 46 Tatar residential places, schools, and a newspaper exist. The official languages are the Russian, the Moksha, and the Erzya.
The capital of the republic is the city of Saransk, situated in the Moscow time zone about 500 km away from Moscow (in a straight line). The population of Saransk is 339.4 thousand. 27% of the territory is covered with forests. The climate is continental, with the average temperature of January —110 and the average temperature of July +190.
There are a lot of rivers in Mordovia; the main rivers are the Moksha, the Sura and their tributaries.
Saransk is considered a centre of uniting the Russian and the Finno-Ugric cultures. The richness of the Mordovian history may be appreciated in the republic united museum of local history named after I.D. Voronin. Of much interest are also the concerts of the Mordovian song ensemble Kucuhugury, regularly held in Saransk. In winter, the exhibition fair of articles of folk art trades of Finno-Ugric peoples is held in Saransk, which may be interesting to ethnographists and those who just take interest in folk trades.
Outside Saransk, the history of the republic has survived in the settlement of Ardatovo (18th-century buildings, the local history museum), the settlement of Vedyantsy (a wooden church dated the 19th century), the Sanksas Monastery (the 18th century ensemble, the grave of Admiral Ushakov), and in many towns of the republic.
Mordovia offers wide opportunities for health tourism: health resorts Saranskiy, Alatyrskiy and Moksha apply mineral water and peaty therapeutic muds recommended at disorders of digestive organs, blood circulatory system, musculoskeletal disorders, and gynecological disorders.
Nature lovers will be attracted by the Smolniy national park, established in 1995. There, rare species of plants and animals are being preserved; access to certain zones of the park is allowed only to specialists, but there also a special recreational zone, where even burning fires is permitted. Environmental paths, pedestrian routes, and one bus excursion route are established for tourists.
The Mordovian State Reserve named after P.G. Smidovich, established in 1936, has a longer history. The Moksha River runs over the territory of the reserve and also a lot of small rivers, which sometimes fully disappear in summer and may be seen only in spring, during high water. The forest area of the reserve is of the taiga type. Lady’s slippers, water chestnuts and other most rare plant species grow in the territory of the reserve. The fauna of the reserve is also very rich: you can meet there jerboas, beavers, lynxes, bears, axis deer, Siberian stags, and others. The Nature Museum, opened in 1936, works at the reserve; a rich collection devoted to the history of development of the reserve and the animals harbouring therein has been gathered by now. Each year, events linked to the International Day of Birds, the Day of Reserves, and the Day of Environmental protection are held in the reserve.
Ethnographists and those fond of the Finno-Ugric culture are attracted with the Shumbrat, Finno-Ugria! annual festival, to which delegations arrive from Hungary, Finland, Estonia, and from other regions of Russia. Free performances of musical and theatrical teams, exhibitions, contests, master classes in folk trades are held there.
For more detailed information on the Republic, please refer to Internet resources of governmental authorities of the constituent entity of the Russian Federation.