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Saransk is the capital city of the Republic of Mordovia, its financial and economic center. It is located on the river Insar, about 642 km (399 mi) southeast of Moscow.


Saransk was founded as a fortress in 1641. It was part of a chain of fortifications, created by Grand Duchy of Moscow and later the Tsardom of Russia, to protect it from the raids of the Crimean Tatars. The fortress was far away from the main trade routes, so it could not become a major economic center and until the 1930s it was largely comprised of wooden one-story houses. It was appointed as the capital of the Mordovia in 1934 which imposed grand urban redevelopment; the old center was almost entirely demolished and replaced by Stalin-era architecture. The center was then again modernised between 2000 and 2010; some houses were restored using modern materials and some were demolished and replaced by modern harmonious buildings. In 2018 Saransk hosted World Cup football matches.

There are no architectural ensembles in the center of Saransk. Overall, the old architecture is quite sparse and is not a first-class one. In this regard the city doesn't differ a lot from other cities in central Russia. Also you won’t hear any national languages other than Russian spoken here unless you make some special efforts.

There are two main tourist sites which make Saransk worth visiting: a museum of fine arts with a large collection of sculptures created by Stephen Erzi and 18th century Makarov Monastery - one of the most spectacular ensembles of the Middle Volga region. Additionally, there is a good museum of Mordovian national culture and some modern architecture partly stylised as a national one.

Get in[edit]

There are regular train services from Moscow, Nizhny Novgorod and Kazan taking you to Saransk. The trains between Moscow and Saransk take around 10 hours 40 mins to cover the route. Saransk has a small airport too and a flight from the Russian capital takes just about an hour.

  • 1 Saransk I railway station. Saransk railway station (Q14927636) on Wikidata Saransk I railway station on Wikipedia

Get around[edit]

Map of Saransk


  • 1 Museum of Mordovia Folk Culture, Sovetskaya St, 19, +7 834 224-67-94. Learn about the histories of the two Mordvin ethnocultural groups, the Erzya and Moksha. Museum of Mordovian National Culture (Q4306381) on Wikidata
  • 2 Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov (Собор Святого Феодора Ушакова). Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov (Q2328333) on Wikidata Cathedral of St. Theodore Ushakov on Wikipedia
  • Pushkin Park. Pushkin Park (Q7261812) on Wikidata Pushkin Park on Wikipedia
  • 3 Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts. Established in 1941. Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts (Q6910842) on Wikidata Mordovian Erzia Museum of Visual Arts on Wikipedia
  • Sovetskaya Square. The main square in the city.


  • 1 Opera and Ballet Theatre of Saransk. Yaushev State Music Theater (Q7096640) on Wikidata Opera and Ballet Theatre of Saransk on Wikipedia
  • Watch football at 2 Mordovia Arena. This new stadium was a surprise choice to host matches in the 2018 FIFA World Cup. The home team are FC Mordovia Saransk who play in the Russian Football National League, the second tier of Russian football, having won promotion in 2018. Even with that, the club (who previously played at the Start Stadium) will struggle to fill their new home's 28,000 capacity, and it's expected that other events will be staged here. The Arena is just 1 km east of city centre. Mordovia Arena (Q4533552) on Wikidata Mordovia Arena on Wikipedia


  • Dikovinka, Prospekt Lenina, 17, +7 960 336 5562. Gift shop selling Erzhya arts and craft, traditional clothing and other souvenirs.




  • Admiral Hotel, Respublikanskaya St., 103, +7 8342 37-20-02. Spacious rooms. The staff at reception and the restaurant don't speak English very well but there are menus in English.


Go next[edit]

  • Head to the industrial center and second largest city in the republic Ruzayevka
  • Explore the rural areas of Mordovia
This city travel guide to Saransk is a usable article. It has information on how to get there and on restaurants and hotels. An adventurous person could use this article, but please feel free to improve it by editing the page.