Saransk is the main city of the Republic of Mordovia.
Saransk was founded in 1641. Initially, it was a wooden fortress on the country edge, on the line between Belgorod and Simbirsk. It was captured by Stenka Razin in 1670, and in 1774 was visited by Yemelyan Pugachev. By the beginning of the 18th century, the city almost lost its military role: the wooden fortress turned into ruins and required thorough repairs. The city gradually became commercial: it was conveniently located at the intersection of major roads. Under Catherine II, a new plan for a “civilized” urban development was approved.
As the center of the Finno-Ugric culture, the Mordovians, Saransk absorbed a lot of its national features. For example, all signs with pointers have triple inscriptions (in Russian and in the languages of Mordovian peoples Moksha and Erzya). The main square of Saransk — the Cathedral Square — is decorated with the remarkable Cathedral of St. Feodor Ushakov. The temple is one of the biggest in Russia and in its beauty is not inferior to the best cathedrals of Moscow and St. Petersburg. Walking around Saransk is a pleasure — the green center, many parks and squares, the whole Fountain cascade and the Tornado light and music fountain, picturesque little churches and unusual characters (heroes-stratonauts, the unique Russian monuments to Pugachev and Patriarch Nikon, a monument to the family and deep red firefighting heroes).