Volga Federal District
Time: Moscow Time Zone (MSK/MSD). UTC offset is +0300 (MSK)/+0400 (MSD).
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Federal district: Volga Federal District.
Main cities: Kamenka, Kuznetsk, Serdobsk.
Land and Resources: Penza Region is located on the East European Plain, although most of its territory lies on the Volga Uplands. The region has an area of 43 200 km2. Penza Region borders on Ryazan Region and the Republic of Mordovia in the north, Ulyanovsk Region in the east, Saratov Region in the south, and Tambov Region in the west.
Climate: Penza Region has a temperate continental climate with hot summers and relatively mild winters with little snow. The average summer temperature is +19 °C, and the average winter temperature is -12 °C. The hot winds are often accompanied by dust storms and air temperatures up to 40 °C.
Transportation: A network of roads and railways passes through Penza Region, connecting it with neighboring regions, Central Russia, the Urals, Siberia, and Central Asia.
The regional administrative center is the city of Penza. The city`s history began in 1663. Today, Penza is an attractive, comfortable city where modern multistory buildings exist side by side with 18th- and 19th-century architecture.
Penza has long attracted attention for its beauty and unique landscape, where historical and architectural monuments of the 18th and 19th centuries coexist harmoniously with modern buildings. The city was originally built on the bank of the Penza River, but over time it expanded and now a second river, the Sura, flows through its territory. The city`s interesting architecture and original layout give it a distinctive look.
Thanks to the efforts of restorers, the present generation can admire the works of outstanding masters who constructed these fine buildings. Architectural monuments include the institute of the nobility, the Tenishev manor, the second building of a group of offices, an art school, and a peasants` land bank.
The finest examples of church architecture that have been preserved to our time are the Trinity (Troitsky) Convent built in 1690, the Protection (Pokrovsky) Monastery, the Peter and Paul Cathedral (sobor Petra i Pavla; 18th century), the Transfiguration of the Savior (Spaso-Preobrazhensky) Monastery (18th and 19th centuries), Transfiguration (Preobrazhenskaya) Church, and the Church of St. Nicholas (tserkov sv. Nikolaya).
A sculpture called "The First Settler" (Pervoposelenets) has been placed on Kirov St. in commemoration of the early days, when construction of the city of Penza began in 1663 by royal decree. Not far away on the same street is the old Lermontov Library, named after Mikhail Lermontov, whose life was inseparably linked with Penza. He spent his childhood and youth in the village of Tarkhan in Penza Region, and his remains were reburied there. Today, Tarkhan is the site of the Mikhail Yurievich Lermontov museum, visited by admirers of his work from around the world.
Many other famous people in the arts and sciences have lived and worked in Penza Region at one time or another. Information about them and the rich history of Penza Region is stored in the region`s numerous museums. There are ten museums in Penza alone. They include the Museum of Local History, the Meyerhold Museum of Stage Art, the Literary Museum, the Klyuchevsky and Academician N.N. Burdenko museum houses, the I.N. Ulyanov museum and lecture hall, the Folk Art Museum, and the unique One Picture Museum, with its collection of artworks from around the world.
In addition to museums, Penza has 3 theaters, one of which, the drama theater (1793), is the oldest in Russia; 2 philharmonics; the Savitsky Art Gallery; 10 cultural centers; 66 libraries; a circus; a planetarium; and 14 movie theaters.
Penza Region also has a wealth of original native talent. Craftsmen skilled in the arts of crystal cutting and "lacy" wood carving carry on the work of their fathers and grandfathers, just as they did hundreds of year ago, and the hand of local masters produce fantastically knotted down shawls.
Encarta World Atlas
http://www.obl.penza.net - Official site of the Administration of Penza Region