Kaluga region: nature, Orthodoxy and cosmonautics

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Main facts:

  • Administrative center: Kaluga

  • Federal District: Central

  • Language(s): Russian

  • Population: 1,012,000

  • Timezone: UTC+3

  • Main religion: Orthodoxy

Top 10 attractions:

Sights map of Kaluga region

Travel around Kaluga region

Kaluga region is bordered by the Moscow region, and therefore very popular with residents of Moscow and the Moscow region in terms of tourism. People come here for a day or two, whole weekends or even sightseeing tours. There is something to see in the Kaluga region, because historically this place was extremely rich and prosperous, and the absence of frequent military conflicts allowed to preserve the architectural richness of the region. But even if you do not take into account the ancient monasteries and palace complexes, in the Kaluga region there are some very unusual places that are worth visiting. The first and perhaps the most famous is the ethnographic park "Ethnomir", which is a large open-air museum reserve. The idea of ​​creating the park was to illustrate in one territory the entire diversity of cultural traditions and national customs of the Russia folks. Subsequently, the idea took root, and an even more ambitious project was implemented - to bring together the peoples of all continents under one roof. Today Ethnomir is a huge museum complex in which various master classes and cultural performances, holidays and festivals take place every day, and a large complex of folk architecture (dedicated mainly to Russia folks) allows you to look inside the traditional dwellings. In my opinion, the "foreign" part of Ethnomir is represented rather by a crowd of general cultural stereotypes than in providing a real opportunity to learn about the culture of an individual country. Moreover, most of the “culture” here is marketed and transmitted through a variety of spices, sweets, handicrafts, etc. Etnomir is such a big entertainment center with a claim to the image of the national wealth. Slightly less known, but noteworthy is the bird park "Vorobyi", located in the same-name village and representing a huge nursery for thousands of bird species from around the world. Perhaps this is the largest and best nursery of birds of all that I have ever seen. Plus - here is a zoo, an ostrich farm, a terrarium and an exotarium, as well as many other things dedicated to the flora and fauna of the planet. Finally, if you want to be alone with nature and plunge into art with your head, welcome to the art park "Nikola Lenivets", which is located in the national reserve "Ugra" and represents a huge territory in which various artists and artists present their works.

But for those who prefer a more traditional holiday, with walks around cities and historical sights, the main interest will be the city of Kaluga, whose history goes back over 6 centuries. This is a city where famous scholars and artists worked, where a huge number of Orthodox churches and churches, ancient monuments of architecture and very beautiful nature. This is enough to visit it, right?

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Historically, Kaluga was inhabited by the Vyatichi folk and was part of the Chernihiv principality. However, after the Mongol invasion, the principality was destroyed (although the city of Kozelsk covered itself with military glory), and the whole territory began to pay tribute to the Mongol yoke. This stopped only in 1480, when the Russian troops of Ivan III defeated the troops of the Tatar-Mongols, as a result of Moscow principality ceased to pay tribute and became independent. Since then, the history of the Kaluga lands as part of the Moscow principality began, the time of its prosperity and active development.

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In the 17th century, becoming the center of trade between Europe, Moscow, Ukraine and Siberia, Kaluga became an incredibly rich and prosperous city. There were estates of wealthy Russian merchants, the main branches of state institutions and even Peter the Great county palace, which he rebuilt during his frequent visits to Europe (since the way to Europe from Moscow was always accompanied by passing through Kaluga). Having experienced hard times during the Russian Great Patriotic War of 1941-1945, Kaluga was able to partially restore the masterpieces of architecture of the 17-19 centuries, and today in the city you can find a large number of architectural monuments of those times. In addition, Kaluga is one of the most developed regions of Russia in terms of industry and agriculture, as well as high-tech industries. I suppose this is because from here it is not so far from Moscow, but the level of taxes and the cost of land and production are several times lower. But this is not necessarily the only factor. Anyway, Kaluga today is a great city for historical, cultural and relaxing leisure.

The first thing that catches the eye while walking around Kaluga is a huge number of Orthodox churches. In no other city I have seen such a concentration of these buildings; here they are located literally every 100 meters, and every church is a work of historical art: a variety of facades and layouts, colors and shapes of domes. Of course, Kaluga has always been famous for its commitment to Orthodox traditions, but I very much doubt that it is the most religious city in Russia ... however, you can get great pleasure walking through the city center and enjoying the restored facades of temples. I especially recommend to see the following temples: St. George’s Cathedral, Holy Trinity Cathedral, Church of Ioanna Predtechi and the Church of Cosmas and Damian. The latter is something absolutely fantastic, believe me.

The historical center of Kaluga, in the area of ​​"Stary Torg" square, is a complex of buildings from the 17th and 18th centuries. This is the count palace of Peter the Great (now a branch of the Bauman Moscow State Technical University), Holy Trinity Cathedral and the "Gostinye" shopping arcades, which are the highlight of the city. Nearby is a stone bridge in the form of an aqueduct, followed by the art and local history museums of Kaluga, where you can learn more about the ancient history of the region and see the masterpieces of local artists. Kaluga also has become world famous as a center of cosmonautics. Here works the famous scientist K.E. Tsiolkovsky, here is the second major Museum of the history of astronautics in Russia. In my opinion, the Museum of Cosmonautics in Moscow is several times larger than the exposition of the museum in Kaluga, however, the latter attracts many people who want to learn about the labor history of the great designers and heroes of the national cosmonautics. Immediately behind the museum begins the elongated Yachenskaya embankment, where you can relax by the water, go fishing or stroll along the banks of the reservoir. Kaluga is also famous for its military exploits, especially during the last World War II, in honor of which the Victory Monument towers on Victory Square, with an avenue of heroes and a monument to Marshal Zhukov, who, by the way, was born and raised in Kaluga.

A trip to the Kaluga region is an opportunity to relax in nature, to get acquainted with the culture of the Russian folk, visit many beautiful Orthodox churches and breathe a rich history in the historical center of Kaluga. Seeing everything at one time is unlikely to work out, and therefore visiting the area can become a nicely tradition of weekend trips. Come to Kaluga - you will definitely like it!

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