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Top Attractions In Saransk: Sightseeing, Eating Out, Football and Russian Souvenirs
June 13, 2018 17:00


(Source: http://www.cultust.ru/press-tsentr/index.php?id=523)

There have been only two reasons for a trip to Saransk, the capital of Mordovia, until recently: the sculptor Erzya and race walking. As well as Mordovian prison camps.  In general, voluntary tourists were in no hurry to visit either Saransk or Mordovia. But everything is changing rapidly, and even local residents who had moved to big cities, discover something new during every visit to their native place. The secret of transformation is football.

Saransk responsibly prepares for the influx of domestic and foreign guests: creates infrastructure virtually from scratch, builds monumental stadiums, renovates historical buildings, breaks down old ugly buildings and constructs something modern in their place.  Everything is built with a Mordovian national motif. The motif is expressed by a special pattern resembling a rhombus with horns, and it can be met everywhere in renovated Saransk. The world football elite should be pleased and spread the news of the beautiful city of Saransk throughout the world. In the meantime, the newly constructed stadiums and sports complexes are used by professional athletes on weekdays, and on weekends they are at the disposal of ordinary citizens.


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History

The Saransk fortress built in 1641 at the confluence of the rivers Insar and Saranka, was almost square-shaped. The Saranka River flowed directly through the territory of the fortress, whereas the fortress was surrounded by an earthen rampart from the outside. The deep moats that stretched around the entire fortress served as an insurmountable obstacle for enemies. The city experienced peasants’ wars twice. In 1670 the Saransk fortress was besieged and conquered by the troops of Stepan Razin, and a hundred years later, in 1774, Emelyan Pugachev entered the city with his army greeted by the population with great honors. 


The coat of arms of Saransk depicts a running red fox under the three arrows directed vertically downwards, which symbolizes the hunting industry that has involved local citizens since olden days. The building of the Executive Committee of the Saransk City Council of People’s Deputies located in the centre of the city contains a walled-in message to our descendants. A letter to the residents of Saransk-2017 is placed in a metal ball and immured near the north-eastern wall. It was laid more than forty years ago, in 1967, on the day of the 50th anniversary of Soviet Power.

Transfer from Saransk International Airport 

Sightseeing 

Saransk is a very sporty city. It did not stand aside from the high world achievements even earlier: race walking competitions amazed the whole country after the success of the champion walker - Yevgeny Maskinskov, a native of Mordovia. Nowadays, thanks to the construction of the new Ice Stadium, figure skating has become one more sports of Mordovia, in addition to race walking. Running, cycling and roller skating have always been popular in Saransk.

Capitals usually have a negative attitude to modern buildings, but Saransk clearly benefits from the construction boom. Someone may think that the new theatre of opera and ballet is beautiful, some may say it looks absurd, but most importantly, it has been built. One can also find something outstanding among the buildings of the Soviet era



For example, a monument to the heroes - stratosphere pilots who died during the collapse of the “Osoaviakhim” stratosphere balloon in 1934. It is easy to notice: the sculpture of a young man with a flying jacket on his shoulder stands on the square in front of the new Saransk railway station (the station building is newly constructed, and it is also built in a neo-national style). The monument in the best traditions of the “Soviet style” was created by the sculptor Aleksei Dushkin. He also designed the landmark stations of the Moscow metro, including “Mayakovskaya” and “Revolution Square”. 

There are quite few interesting pre-revolutionary buildings that survived in the city centre. There is a stone “Pugachev’s Tent”, where the people’s leader announced his manifestoes; there are several ancient churches lost among the new buildings. All the churches are so well-conditioned that they look like they are newly built. The most ancient and valuable is the five-domed church in the name of St. John the Evangelist built in 1693. The biggest one is the new cathedral of the Holy and Righteous Warrior Fyodor Ushakov on the main square, one can boast of it even before the sophisticated metropolitan residents. 


The main square of Saransk is not called “by its name” (Sovetskaya) by the city residents: it is clear which square is being spoken about. The main square is the place of all main and central institutions: the civil registry office, the administration building, the Lenin monument built according to the project of the Moscow classical sculptor Dushkin, etc. 

There is also a monument to the Admiral Ushakov. The legendary naval commander has an indirect relationship to Saransk: he spent last years of his life in his “Alekseevka” estate on the territory of the republic. After the recent canonization Ushakov became the patron saint of military seamen and almost the same hero of Saransk as the sculptor Erzya. It is amusing but the name of the Admiral has been given even to the Masonic Lodge of the “Scottish Charter”operating  in Saransk.



However, the most respected person in Saransk has always been and will be the sculptor Stepan Dmitrievich Nefedov-Erzya, an outstanding modernist, a kind of Vrubel of wooden sculpture. The Mordovian Museum of Fine Arts has the largest collection of his works, and the sculptor himself has long been not only a cultural hero, but also a folk hero.

In general, we can say that modern Saransk is a rare type of Russian city: without the best starting conditions, it has become comfortable and charming, thanks to the efforts of its residents. It will take you long to find a shabby façade, and it is not very likely that you find one. Even the Saranka River, as wide as a village channel, is clean and equipped with embankments.


Rent a car is Saransk

Eating Out

An insignificant number of public catering outlets with delicious dishes are the only complaint expressed by the city residents themselves. By the way, all city cafes and restaurants open at 10 a.m., confusing those who arrive in Saransk on morning trains. Those who arrive at 7 a.m. have nowhere to eat in the city, if you do not know that there is a hotel titled “Sura” and the Japanese restaurant “Taki Maki” working this early at a distance of 10-15 minutes walk from the railway station. 

National cuisine can be appreciated in a restaurant named, respectively, “Natsionalny” on the main Sovetskaya Square

You should order “kersez” - chopped meat, baked with potatoes, “medvezhya lapa”(“bear paw”) - a kind of cutlet of pork, liver, bread and eggs as well as pancakes on millet flour. Then drink some “poza” - an alcoholic beverage made from of steamed beetroot. 

National Mordovian dishes are also served in the “Slavyanka” cafe (4 Kommunisticheskaya Street), “12 chairs” cafe (4 Lenina Avenue), “Yolki” (59A Kommunisticheskaya Street), “Mordovia” (24 Rossiyskaya Street), and in the “Teatralnoe” Cafe. A hall of national cuisine has recently opened in the “Restaurant on Moskovskaya”.

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Souvenirs

The sweets of the Saransk “Lamzur” confectionery factory are not sold virtually anywhere outside the republic, which does not mean that their quality is low, but makes such a gift an original one. They produce analogues of “Pigeon’s milk” and “Agrege” candied roasted nuts, an analogue of “Assorti” sweets - with chocolate and fondant fillings, and others. Sweets in paper boxes are decorated with sculptures by Erzya and paintings by Mordovian artists. 

The Saransk canning factory produces condensed milk in “space tubes”, “Mordovspirt” produces high-quality vodka and herbal liquors. 

What about non-food products, we can recommend national embroidery and the products of the “Mordovian patterns” factory. All kinds of souvenirs with inscriptions in Russian and Mordovian are popular, because both languages use Cyrillic letters, sometimes the combinations look funny. 

Finally, if you’re lucky, you can find smaller copies of Erzya’s sculptures in the city: Mordovian woodworking companies started producing them.

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Local pecularities

Saransk is the centre of Finno-Ugric culture of Russia. Since 2007 a large festival titled “Shumbrat, Finno-Ugria!” has been held there. It should be clarified that the Finno-Ugric people of Mordva are divided into two subgroups, Mordva-Moksha and Mordva-Erzya. There is also a pseudo-ethnonym of “shoksha” in literature and in the mass consciousness. The ethnonym “shoksha” has been first used to denote the Erzya of Tengushevsky and Torbeevsky districts of the Republic of Mordovia relatively recently. Moksha and Erzya speak similar, but different dialects, the relationships between the representatives of cultures are not easy. 

Tables with the names of streets and institutions in Saransk are signed in three languages: in two Mordovian dialects and in Russian.

Trolley buses and buses are running around. However, shuttle buses have been definitely recognized as the most convenient means of transportation.

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Famous People


If you don’t have enough time to get acquainted with the surroundings of the city, try to visit at least the Sanaksar Monastery of the Nativity of the Mother of God where Admiral Ushakov is buried. Saransk was a home to the poet-democrat A.I. Polezhaev, famous artist F.V.Sychkov (a student of I.Repin), classical composer of Mordvinian music L.P. Kiriukov. A well-known philologist and philosopher M.M. Bakhtin had worked at the Mordovian State University for a long time.

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Sources: http://strana.ru 


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: FIFA world cup 2018 tickets airport transfer Saransk train tickets Saransk Saransk rent a car in Saransk 

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