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Home » Ryazan, Russia: Travel Guide

Ryazan, Russia: Travel Guide

Birthplace of Max Factor, Home to a Unique Kremlin and Its Very Own VDNKh

Ryazan is a city with a large and green historical center, featuring whimsical terrain but with a regular layout. It’s worth visiting Ryazan for the architectural masterpieces of the 17th century, for the wooden modernism and constructivism of the early 20th century, and for a nostalgia trip to the 1990s — many places have preserved the recognizable spirit of that “wild” decade. Here, there is a place for ancient cathedrals, modernist cinemas, and “Luzhkov baroque.”

History

A trading settlement of the Vyatiches and Mordvins was already present here in the 7th century at the confluence of the Trubezh and Lybed rivers. A more or less significant city grew here in the 11th–12th centuries around a small fortress that protected the trading post. At that time, the settlement was called Pereslavl-Ryazansky. In the middle of the 13th century, after the burning of Ryazan by the Tatars (now this place is called Old Ryazan) in 1237, the capital of the Ryazan principality was moved to Pereslavl-Ryazansky. In 1778, Catherine II ordered a major reconstruction of the city and at the same time allowed it to be renamed in memory of the ancient capital of the Ryazan principality.

The city gradually began to transform: in a predominantly peasant region, crafts and trade began to develop, and by the mid-19th century, urban and rural factories (textile, wine, construction) were opening. From the end of the 18th century, stone construction began in Ryazan and its surroundings. The first building to have survived to our days was the Redoubt House (Seminary Street, 48), and the most luxurious was the mansion of the merchant Gavrila Ryumin (Freedom Street, 57).

Since the end of the 18th century, stone construction began in Ryazan and its surroundings. The most luxurious building of that time was the mansion of the merchant Gavrila Ryumin (Freedom Street, 57). Photo: Barsuchok / Wikimedia.org
Since the end of the 18th century, stone construction began in Ryazan and its surroundings. The most luxurious building of that time was the mansion of the merchant Gavrila Ryumin (Freedom Street, 57). Photo: Barsuchok / Wikimedia.org

Unfortunately, the merchant splendor of the 19th and early 20th centuries has come down to us in a greatly diminished and damaged form: Ryazan experienced both communist and post-communist stylistic experiments on itself. The city is disfigured by both typical panel boxes and modern gaudy buildings. However, in recent years, much, if not being restored, is at least not being destroyed — the authorities and local business seem to have begun to understand the wealth that the city possesses.

“…I really liked Ryazan — of all the cities, it is the most Russian — all wooden, with roosters, porches, geraniums, and huge linden trees…” Konstantin Paustovsky, from a letter to his wife, 1923.
In recent years, many ancient buildings in Ryazan, if not being restored, are at least not being destroyed — the authorities and local business seem to have begun to understand the wealth the city possesses. Photo: Alexey Elfimov / Unsplash.com
In recent years, many ancient buildings in Ryazan, if not being restored, are at least not being destroyed — the authorities and local business seem to have begun to understand the wealth the city possesses. Photo: Alexey Elfimov / Unsplash.com

Sights

The historical center of Ryazan is located between the railway, the Trubezh River, and the wide Esenina Street: on one side is the Kremlin, on the other — the huge park Rumyantsev Grove, reminiscent of Moscow’s Gorky Park. It was established on the site of the country estate of the 19th-century magnate Gavrila Rumyantsev.

Kremlin Park and Kremlin

The Ryazan Kremlin consists of several cathedrals and a museum complex surrounded by grandiose earthen ramparts. The most important, high, and beautiful rampart, which one can freely walk along, runs along Kremlin Rampart Street. One must ascend and descend via paths: the rampart is an archaeological monument. And running up it directly is only possible for an experienced tourist-tracker: the slope is quite steep.

The most important, high, and beautiful rampart, which one can freely walk along, runs along Kremlin Rampart Street. Photo: Nikolaeva Kate / Wikimedia.org
The most important, high, and beautiful rampart, which one can freely walk along, runs along Kremlin Rampart Street. Photo: Nikolaeva Kate / Wikimedia.org

The Archangel Cathedral was built in the early 17th century. And the Nativity Cathedral was unrecognizably rebuilt in the 18th–19th centuries. It was the first stone cathedral of the Ryazan Principality, built after the Mongol-Tatar invasion, known as the First Assumption Cathedral. The Nativity Cathedral is the burial place of Ryazan princes and princesses. Also, in its left choir rests Saint Basil of Ryazan, a local miracle-worker.

The main and most famous cathedral of the Ryazan Kremlin is considered to be the Assumption (or “Second Assumption”). Between 1693–1699, it was built according to the design of Yakov Bukhvostov, one of the luminaries of the “Naryshkin,” or more precisely, Moscow Baroque. The Assumption Cathedral can still be seen from 20–25 kilometers away from the city, despite modern high-rise buildings. It was the largest church of pre-Petrine and early Petrine Russia — 1600 square meters and 72 meters in height to the cross. The Assumption Cathedral houses Russia’s tallest iconostasis, 27 meters high and in seven rows. Moreover, this is not a late 18th-century Baroque iconostasis, as is often the case in Russia, but an original one from the end of the 17th century. Unfortunately, the Assumption Cathedral is “cold,” meaning it is unheated, and therefore it is only open in the summer.

The main and most famous cathedral of the Ryazan Kremlin is considered to be the Assumption. Unfortunately, the cathedral is "cold," meaning it is unheated, and therefore it is only open in the summer. Photo: Sergey Lemtal / Wikimedia.org
The main and most famous cathedral of the Ryazan Kremlin is considered to be the Assumption. Unfortunately, the cathedral is “cold,” meaning it is unheated, and therefore it is only open in the summer. Photo: Sergey Lemtal / Wikimedia.org

The coziest church in the Kremlin is the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, built in 1642 by the Soligalich architect Vasily Zubov. It is of the rare two-dome form, but unfortunately, it is not easy to get inside. It houses a museum library.

The coziest church in the Kremlin is the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, built in 1642 by the Soligalich architect Vasily Zubov. It is of the rare two-dome form. Photo: Maxim Shanin / Wikimedia.org
The coziest church in the Kremlin is the Church of the Descent of the Holy Spirit, built in 1642 by the Soligalich architect Vasily Zubov. It is of the rare two-dome form. Photo: Maxim Shanin / Wikimedia.org

In addition to the churches mentioned, the Kremlin is home to the Ryazan Museum Preserve, one of the oldest in Russia — founded in 1884. All the secular buildings of the Kremlin: the palace of Prince Oleg, the consistory and choir buildings, the black clergy hotel, and the nobility hotel — are part of the museum. It collects all archaeological findings from Old Ryazan: weapons, icon paintings, clothing, folk crafts of the surrounding villages.

In addition to the listed churches, the Kremlin houses the Ryazan Museum Preserve, one of the oldest in Russia — founded in 1884. Photo: Egor Myznik / Unsplash.com
In addition to the listed churches, the Kremlin houses the Ryazan Museum Preserve, one of the oldest in Russia — founded in 1884. Photo: Egor Myznik / Unsplash.com

Around the Kremlin, there are several streets that have almost entirely preserved their appearance from a century ago. On them, wooden Art Nouveau mixes with concrete constructivism. Primarily, these are Polonsky and Saltykov-Shchedrin streets, and also Pochtovaya — the main drinking street of Ryazan. A walk from the Kremlin to the bars on Pochtovaya is a journey from the 18th to the 21st century, from a remote village to a big city.

Around the Kremlin, there are several streets that have almost entirely preserved their appearance from a century ago. Photo: Egor Myznik / Unsplash.com, Shavyrm / Wikimedia.org
Around the Kremlin, there are several streets that have almost entirely preserved their appearance from a century ago. Photo: Egor Myznik / Unsplash.com, Shavyrm / Wikimedia.org

A visit to the Kremlin can be combined with a stroll through the Kremlin Park and along the embankment. And you must visit the monument to Sergey Yesenin, reading poetry. It was installed in 1975 in honor of the poet’s 80th birthday. This is not the usual full-length statue but a huge bronze bust with arms spread wide. The bravest climb up to take a photo on the poet’s palm against the backdrop of birches.

Lenin Street

The most beautiful buildings in the city are located on Lenin Street.

The former Varvarina hotel got, perhaps, the most beautiful bay window and balcony in the city (Lenin St., 46). Here you can find smooth rounded lines, vegetal ornamentation, and the favorite Art Nouveau combination of several parallel strips in the glazing. Previously, the city’s most honored guests stayed here, for example, the singer Feodor Chaliapin.

The former Varvarina hotel arguably got the most beautiful bay window and balcony in the city. Here, there are smooth rounded lines, vegetal ornamentation, and the favorite Art Nouveau combination of several parallel strips in the glazing.
The former Varvarina hotel arguably got the most beautiful bay window and balcony in the city. Here, there are smooth rounded lines, vegetal ornamentation, and the favorite Art Nouveau combination of several parallel strips in the glazing.

The building of the Nobility Assembly (Lenin St., 57) began construction in 1808. The oldest part is the facade with a high triangular pediment, portico, and columns. Later, the nobility purchased and renovated the adjacent mansion of the merchant Ryumin. The semicircular rotunda with faux-columns and stucco was built half a century later to connect these two buildings. In the 1850s, the City Committee for Reforms, which developed the provisions for the peasant reform to emancipate the peasants of the Ryazan province, operated in this building. During the Soviet years, the building was converted into the “October” cinema. From the 1970s until recently, it housed the city’s central registry office, so one could get married right in the columned hall with preserved luxurious interiors in the late Renaissance style, where Chaliapin (yes, him again) once sang. Now, whether you get married or not, it’s impossible to enter unless you are an employee of the city administration.

The construction of the Nobility Assembly building began in 1808. The oldest part is the facade with a high triangular pediment, portico, and columns. The semicircular rotunda with false columns and molding was built half a century later to connect these two buildings. Photo: KirillKoriakin / Wikimedia.org
The construction of the Nobility Assembly building began in 1808. The oldest part is the facade with a high triangular pediment, portico, and columns. The semicircular rotunda with false columns and molding was built half a century later to connect these two buildings. Photo: KirillKoriakin / Wikimedia.org

If you go down Lenin Street towards Theater Square, you can see the building of the former provincial gymnasium in the classicism style (Lenin St., 53). Today, it houses a branch of the Moscow Polytechnic Institute.

Across the street (Lenin St., 42) stands a preserved manor house from 1804. In 1858–1860, this house was rented by the vice-governor of Ryazan and writer Mikhail Saltykov-Shchedrin. This period of his work is inextricably linked with his desperate fight against corruption and local orders, from which, unfortunately, nothing came out, and Saltykov-Shchedrin was removed from his position and transferred to Tver. Today, this building belongs to the Gorky Library, and it houses the Alexander Solzhenitsyn Museum Center.

The writer moved to Ryazan following his wife in 1957, immediately after being rehabilitated, and lived there until 1969. It was here that he secretly wrote “One Day in the Life of Ivan Denisovich” and “The Gulag Archipelago,” while concurrently working as a physics teacher at Gymnasium No. 2. The museum was opened in 2019, and it is the largest museum dedicated to Solzhenitsyn’s work. It houses the Nobel Prize gold medal awarded to him. “The Underground” is one of the most interesting rooms in the museum, telling about how forbidden manuscripts were stored and circulated during the Soviet years.

The “Rodina” Cinema (Lenin St., 51) from 1947 is the first cultural building constructed in the city after World War II. Not far from it, on the other side of the street, stands the building of the former Zhivago Bank, built in 1914 with funds from the famous Ryazan philanthropist Sergey Zhivago (Lenin St., 30). The semicircular vaults of the elongated windows and the false columns on the second floor make its facade particularly beautiful. In general, the name Sergey Zhivago is very important for the entire city, for example, he bequeathed 80% of the bank’s profits to be used for charitable purposes.

The "Rodina" Cinema of 1947 is the first cultural building constructed in the city after the Second World War. Photo: Kovarzh O.V. / Wikimedia.org
The “Rodina” Cinema of 1947 is the first cultural building constructed in the city after the Second World War. Photo: Kovarzh O.V. / Wikimedia.org
Not far from the "Rodina" cinema, on the other side of the street, stands the building of the former Zhivago Bank, built in 1914 with the funds of the famous Ryazan philanthropist Sergey Zhivago. Photo: Shavyrm / Wikimedia.org
Not far from the “Rodina” cinema, on the other side of the street, stands the building of the former Zhivago Bank, built in 1914 with the funds of the famous Ryazan philanthropist Sergey Zhivago. Photo: Shavyrm / Wikimedia.org

Also, on both sides of the street (Lenina Street, 24, 26, 31, 33) you can see the stone trading rows – the Gostiny Dvor. It began to be built on a wasteland in front of a ravine in 1782, to move the main bazaar farther from the Kremlin, as the city gradually expanded. However, quite soon (in the 1830s) they became too cramped, and the main trading square of the city became Khlebnaya (Lenin Square), where six corps of new trading buildings were erected. Now, most of the buildings of the Gostiny Dvor belong to the Ryazan Philharmonic.

Now, the majority of the buildings of the former Guest Yard belong to the Ryazan Philharmonic. Photo: tretyakov1959 / Wikimapia.org
Now, the majority of the buildings of the former Guest Yard belong to the Ryazan Philharmonic. Photo: tretyakov1959 / Wikimapia.org

Besides the bustling Lenin Street, it’s worth turning onto Pravo-Lybedskaya, Svoboda, and Vvedenskaya to enjoy a more tranquil and measured atmosphere.

City Rows

In the early 1800s, Ryazan merchants built six stone trading rows on Khlebnaya Square (now Lenin Square). Initially, the trade there was mainly in bread. In the 1840s, it became the main trading center, and the square was renamed Novobazarnaya. They traded everything there, and the market was held three times a week. Unfortunately, only two of the six buildings have survived to this day. The buildings located on the current Pervomaysky Prospekt collapsed in 1929, and the buildings standing on the current Pochtovaya Street, having survived the war, were demolished in the 1950s.

Recently, the two remaining buildings were restored, and now they are bustling with life and commerce again. Most of the tenants are cafes and restaurants, almost each of them has a summer terrace. Also, a pleasant and modern area for strolls has appeared nearby, and even a small stage where lectures are sometimes held.

Next to the rows, a pleasant and modern area for strolls has appeared, and even a small stage where lectures are sometimes held. Photo: City Rows / Vk.com
Next to the rows, a pleasant and modern area for strolls has appeared, and even a small stage where lectures are sometimes held. Photo: City Rows / Vk.com

Pochtovaya Street

In 1780, Catherine the Great personally approved a new city plan, created according to a European model. Pochtovaya was planned to be entirely dedicated to government institutions. However, this street greatly appealed to local merchants, and shops, hotels, and taverns began to open here. Now, Pochtovaya is the main pedestrian street of Ryazan. There aren’t many shops here, but even a native of Ryazan won’t visit all the restaurants. It’s worth coming to pedestrian Pochtovaya in the evening if you’re looking for activity, dancing, and music.

Pochtovaya is the main pedestrian street of Ryazan. There aren't many shops here, but even a native Ryazan resident won't visit all the restaurants. Photo: Sergey.A.Gr / Wikimedia.org
Pochtovaya is the main pedestrian street of Ryazan. There aren’t many shops here, but even a native Ryazan resident won’t visit all the restaurants. Photo: Sergey.A.Gr / Wikimedia.org

On Pochtovaya, you can also meet a living legend of the city – the weigher Iosif Grigoryevich Pyatunin. For 20 years, he has been sitting on the street with mechanical scales, weighing all comers and generously showering them with compliments. He announces the weight not just with a number, but with numerous epithets, for example, “the weight of a girl in love,” “a general’s weight,” or “the weight of a serious married woman.” Over all these years, everything has become more expensive more than once, but the price for weighing by Iosif Grigoryevich has remained unchanged at 3 rubles. By the way, he is even registered as a sole proprietor. If you want to catch him, it’s best to come in the evening from 5 to 7 pm. You can find the Ryazan legend at the very beginning of Pochtovaya Street at the intersection with Lenin Square.

“Old Town”

This piece of Northern Europe in the city center is dedicated to the student city of Münster in Germany. Since 1989, Münster has been a twin city of Ryazan, and there is also a Ryazan Street there. The complex of buildings includes the “Old Town” hotel and several restaurants. Nearby, there is an English red bus, where someone is always taking photos, and a monument to the round Austrian “Mozart” candies. Also, very close by is the Lybedsky Square, flowing into the square near the circus, which has recently been beautifully restored.

This piece of Northern Europe in the city center is dedicated to the German city of Münster — since 1989, Münster has been a twin city of Ryazan, and there is also a Ryazan Street there. Photo: Maxim Shanin / Wikimedia.org
This piece of Northern Europe in the city center is dedicated to the German city of Münster — since 1989, Münster has been a twin city of Ryazan, and there is also a Ryazan Street there. Photo: Maxim Shanin / Wikimedia.org

Trade Town (Ryazan VDNKh)

Luxuriously decorated pavilions with columns, molding, numerous flower beds, and a fountain were built in 1955 in just two months. And just five days after the exhibition’s opening, the Central Committee issued a decree banning architectural excesses in architecture. Thus, VDNKh became one of the last monuments of neoclassicism in Ryazan.

Luxuriously decorated pavilions with columns, moldings, numerous flower beds, and a fountain were built in 1955 in just two months. Photo: Trading Town / Vk.com
Luxuriously decorated pavilions with columns, moldings, numerous flower beds, and a fountain were built in 1955 in just two months. Photo: Trading Town / Vk.com

However, the exhibition quickly fell into disrepair due to the annual severe floods of the Oka River, which washed away the entire area. Thus, the Ryazan VDNKh received a new name — Trading Town, turning into a large spontaneous market.

In early summer 2023, the Trading Town reopened after a major restoration. Now, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and markets featuring local brands are held here. Information about all events can be found in the corresponding Telegram channel.

At the beginning of summer 2023, the Trade Town reopened after extensive restoration. Now, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and markets featuring local brands are held here. Photo: Trade Town / Vk.com
At the beginning of summer 2023, the Trade Town reopened after extensive restoration. Now, exhibitions, lectures, workshops, and markets featuring local brands are held here. Photo: Trade Town / Vk.com

Art Museum

The Art Museum impresses with its monumental columns and large windows. In the past, the building belonged to the well-known merchant Gavrila Ryumin. His son later donated the estate for use as a noble boarding house.

Viewing paintings in the pre-revolutionary halls with molding and chandeliers is an even greater pleasure. The museum houses all of Russian classics — Aivazovsky, Shishkin, Repin, Surikov, Serov.

The Art Museum impresses with its monumental columns and large windows. Photo: Ryazan Art Museum / Vk.com
The Art Museum impresses with its monumental columns and large windows. Photo: Ryazan Art Museum / Vk.com

Lower City Garden

The park is located in a former city ravine adjacent to the estate of Gavrila Ryumin. It is filled with centuries-old trees, so here you can find very beautiful angles for photos with a view of two such different, but equally impressive architectural structures — the museum and the summer club of the nobility. Interesting fact: at the beginning of the 20th century, the Ryazan sobriety society filmed the park area for the townspeople and organized a tea house, a billiard club, and other entertainments for cultural leisure there. However, despite all efforts, since those times, locals have called this park the “Drunkard”.

In the park, you can find very beautiful angles for photos with a view of two such different, but equally impressive architectural structures — the museum and the summer club of the nobility. Photo: Nikamart, Sofya Novikova / Wikimedia.org
In the park, you can find very beautiful angles for photos with a view of two such different, but equally impressive architectural structures — the museum and the summer club of the nobility. Photo: Nikamart, Sofya Novikova / Wikimedia.org

Wooden Architecture

Looking for wooden terems (traditional Russian houses) with decorative window frames is worth doing on Shchedrin, Svoboda, Radishchev, Voznesensky, and Polonsky streets. On these streets, you can admire the low-rise and tranquil Ryazan. For example, a green carved terem in the Neo-Russian style with an annex and openwork carving (Svoboda St., 53) is the former residence of the city head Nikolay Ignatyevich Radzevich. Not far from it, opposite the city administration, stands the revenue house of the Moscow philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov (Radishchev St., 47), the same who founded the Tretyakov Gallery. It is built in an eclectic style with elements of Russian folk architecture. Just like the neighboring house (Radishchev St., 45), also formerly owned by Tretyakov.

Opposite the city administration, the revenue house of the Moscow philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov stands out, the very one who founded the Tretyakov Gallery. Photo: MihailFomin / Wikimedia.org
Opposite the city administration, the revenue house of the Moscow philanthropist Pavel Tretyakov stands out, the very one who founded the Tretyakov Gallery. Photo: MihailFomin / Wikimedia.org

House 38 on Pravo-Lybedskaya Street was built in the Neo-Russian style for a gymnasium. However, its facade is not original but restored after a fire in 2008. One of the most beautiful wooden houses in Ryazan is the brown terem with a turret decorated with openwork carving (Voznesensky St., 64). In the past, the house belonged to the first explorer of Alaska, Lavrentiy Zagoskin, who taught Ivan Michurin himself.

On the city communication cabinets, window frames of actually existing houses are painted. The list of all works with addresses and descriptions can be found on the Visitryazan Telegram channel.

Liquor and Vodka Factory

The state wine warehouse (Pavlova St., 5) was built in 1899–1900. At that time, such buildings were constructed all over Russia according to standard projects, as the wine industry was declared monopolized. Similar buildings can be found in Tula, Kaluga, Yaroslavl. During the First World War, the building served as a hospital, and in 1926, the wine warehouse was transformed into the Ryazan Liquor and Vodka Factory. In 2019, after more than ten years of disuse, the building was converted into a business center.

In 2019, after more than ten years of inactivity, the Ryazan Liquor and Vodka Factory was converted into a business center. Photo: Craftsoft / Wikimedia.org
In 2019, after more than ten years of inactivity, the Ryazan Liquor and Vodka Factory was converted into a business center. Photo: Craftsoft / Wikimedia.org

Mushrooms with Eyes

“In Ryazan, we have mushrooms with eyes. You eat them, and they look at you” — this local joke can be heard from any Ryazanian. There are several versions of how this phrase appeared: a method to confuse the Tatar-Mongol troops, a linguistic joke, or simply because the region really has a lot of mushrooms.

By the way, the forests of the Ryazan region indeed have many mushrooms, and a September trip to the forest often implies a marathon through favorite mushroom spots. For those who don’t like to gather and clean mushrooms, there is an alternative. The city has many monuments to mushrooms with eyes. The most famous and largest mushroom is located in the Lower City Garden next to the philharmonic. There are also smaller statues on Pochtovaya, near the “Old Town” complex.

The most famous and largest Ryazan mushroom is located in the Lower City Garden next to the philharmonic. Photo: Raita Futo / Wikimedia.org
The most famous and largest Ryazan mushroom is located in the Lower City Garden next to the philharmonic. Photo: Raita Futo / Wikimedia.org

Max Factor Museum

In Ryazan, at the end of the 19th century, the first Max Factor beauty salon was opened. And it was here that Max Factor (Maximilian Abramovich Factorovich) began to create his legendary cosmetics, known all over the world. Before this, he had been a makeup artist at the imperial theaters and even the court hairdresser of the family of Nicholas II.

The “Scent of Time” museum tells the life story of Max Factor. Most of the exhibits can be touched, smelled, and 120-year-old magazines can be browsed. For this reason, the museum is aimed at an adult audience, and entry is allowed only from the age of 12. The cost of a guided tour is 500 rubles (5.13 euros). The museum can also be visited without a tour (250 rubles (2.57 euros)) and listen to an audio guide on izi.travel. A documentary about the life of Max Factor was released on the YouTube channel “A pogovorit”*.

In the "Scent of Time" museum, the life story of Max Factor is told. Most of the exhibits can be touched, smelled, and 120-year-old magazines browsed. Photo: Historical salon "Scent of Time"
In the “Scent of Time” museum, the life story of Max Factor is told. Most of the exhibits can be touched, smelled, and 120-year-old magazines browsed. Photo: Historical salon “Scent of Time”

Central Park of Culture and Leisure

The Central Park of Culture and Leisure is also called “Ryumin Grove” in honor of the Ryazan philanthropist Gavrila Vasilyevich Ryumin, who did a lot for the city. For instance, the second tier of the bell tower of the Ryazan Kremlin was built with funds allocated by him. He donated about one million rubles to the 1812 military campaign, for which he was recognized by Alexander I, receiving an order and a noble title. The royal family even stayed in Ryumin’s house on Svoboda Street, 54. So, this large plot, which was outside the city limits at that time, was bought by him, and he built his estate, pavilions, a pond, and even a weaving factory there. In the 1900s, the estate fell into disrepair. In the Soviet years, a park was formed on this site, as well as the central ski station, a large stadium, and a green theater. However, over time, the park fell into decline.

In recent years, the park has been put in order: the summer stage (green theater) was reconstructed, where movies are now shown in the evenings, and modern sports facilities were built. Also, modern unmanned boats have appeared on the pond. Interestingly, the project for these boats was conceived by students of the Ryazan Radio Engineering Institute, located nearby. A half-hour ride will cost from 300 rubles (3.08 euros) per boat (seats eight people).

In recent years, the park of culture and leisure has been put in order: the summer stage (green theater) was reconstructed, where movies are now shown in the evenings. Photo: Central Park of Culture and Leisure of Ryazan
In recent years, the park of culture and leisure has been put in order: the summer stage (green theater) was reconstructed, where movies are now shown in the evenings. Photo: Central Park of Culture and Leisure of Ryazan

Lake Oreshek and the Forest Park

The forest park is one of the favorite walking spots for Ryazan residents. The park has recently been reconstructed, and electric scooters are available for rent at the entrance, while the event program is posted on the official website. The park is large and extends to Orehovo Lake, affectionately called Oreshek by locals. In summer, it’s quite crowded here, so finding a secluded spot for sunbathing and swimming might be challenging. The park also features the “Under the Bridge” street sports center. Located under the bridge of the Ryazan ring road, it offers volleyball or table tennis, with courts available for rent. In spring, walking in the forest park may not always be possible due to the flooding of the Oka River.

The forest park is one of the favorite walking spots for Ryazan residents. The park has recently been reconstructed, and electric scooters are available for rent at the entrance, while the event program is posted on the official website. Photo: Ryazan Forest Park / Vk.com
The forest park is one of the favorite walking spots for Ryazan residents. The park has recently been reconstructed, and electric scooters are available for rent at the entrance, while the event program is posted on the official website. Photo: Ryazan Forest Park / Vk.com

Surroundings

Kayaking on the Pra River

The kayaking season opens in early May and ends in late September. The route can be chosen according to the level of preparation — both without overnight stays and with several days in nature. It is convenient to start in the area of Spas-Klepiki and the surrounding villages, and finish in Zavodskaya Sloboda, Deulino, or even in Brykin Bor. These are very beautiful and picturesque places: the Meshcherskaya lowland transitions into an oak forest, and the river meanders and becomes wider. The river is shallow, especially in summer, and several times it will be necessary to carry the kayak over land. There are plenty of campsites, including equipped ones. One of the most popular is “Idols” — a large piece of forest with colorful wooden figures and statues. Staying here can be very noisy, as the place is quite famous and visited. Booking kayaks and transfers should be done in advance, especially if planning to go during the May or June holidays. For example, with “Aktivsplav” company.

The rafting season opens in early May and ends in late September. The route can be chosen according to the level of preparation — both without overnight stays and with several days in nature. Photo: Aktivsplav
The rafting season opens in early May and ends in late September. The route can be chosen according to the level of preparation — both without overnight stays and with several days in nature. Photo: Aktivsplav

Hot Air Ballooning

In Ryazan and the region, ballooning is very popular. This is due to the landscape — fields and flood meadows of the Oka River floodplain — being perfectly suited for it. Since the fields and meadows are not built up, there are many options for start/finish. In summer, it’s often possible to see dozens of hot air balloons against the backdrop of flood meadows and the domes of the Kremlin, offering a chance for a spontaneous photo session. Every year, Ryazan hosts the “Sky of Russia” festival. During this time, the sky above the city and the region is especially beautiful. A flight can be organized through the Ryazan Region Federation of Aeronautical Sports from April to October, but it all very much depends on the weather. The cost of a 50-minute flight starts from 8500 rubles (87.21 euros) per person (in a group). This year, tethered ascents have been launched in the Fisherman’s Village on Fridays from 19:30 to 21:00. Five to seven minutes in the sky will cost 800 rubles (8.21 euros) for adults and 400 rubles (4.10 euros) for children. A good alternative for those who are still afraid to make a real flight.

At the Krutitsy aerodrome (100 kilometers from Ryazan), you can fly in a wind tunnel, skydive, take a hot air balloon ride, and even pilot an airplane.
Ballooning is very popular in Ryazan and the region. This is due to the landscape — fields and flood meadows of the Oka River floodplain — being perfectly suited for it, as the fields and meadows are not built up, and there are many options for start/finish. Photo: "Sky of Russia"
Ballooning is very popular in Ryazan and the region. This is due to the landscape — fields and flood meadows of the Oka River floodplain — being perfectly suited for it, as the fields and meadows are not built up, and there are many options for start/finish. Photo: “Sky of Russia”

Deer Farm

At the “Olenevo” farm, you can pet North deer and feed them moss. The farm operates every day from 10 am to 6 pm, except Mondays. The entrance ticket costs 300 rubles (3.08 euros), and entry for children under 14 is free. A box of feed costs 100 rubles (1.03 euros). The farm also has a camel you can ride, horses, Arctic foxes, goats, rabbits, and other animals. The farm staff are very friendly and eagerly answer all questions about the life of deer in the Ryazan region.

At the "Olenevo" farm, you can pet North deer and feed them moss. Photo: Olenevo / Vk.com
At the “Olenevo” farm, you can pet North deer and feed them moss. Photo: Olenevo / Vk.com

Food

“GorPishcheKombinat” is the answer Ryazan residents give if you ask them where the tastiest eclairs, potatoes, and meringues are made. There are two locations in the city — in the very center (Sobornaya St., 52) and a small shop at the factory itself near the exit from the city towards Solotcha, where you can only take pastries to go (Firsova St., 27).

The Moments. This is a coffee shop combined with a flower shop, where the atmosphere is as if you’ve come to a friend’s place. In summer, a small veranda opens with a view of the Lebedev mansion. Part of the seasonal flowers are purchased in the Ryazan region. Each season new signature drinks appear, for example, blackcurrant cold brew or mango-rosemary latte. Among the desserts, honey cake and Madeleine cookies are worth trying.

The Moments — a coffee shop combined with a flower shop, where the atmosphere is as if you've come to a friend's place. Photo: The Moments
The Moments — a coffee shop combined with a flower shop, where the atmosphere is as if you’ve come to a friend’s place. Photo: The Moments

Fink. The interior is minimalist, but every detail is filled with great love. The guys bake artisan bread, croissants with New Zealand butter, and serve breakfast all day long (literally, not figuratively). There’s also a small lunch/dinner menu. Be sure to try the homemade pasta, and take home some of their own bread.

Locals. The menu includes bruschetta with ham, mussels, mac’n’cheese, and even a Bavarian lunch. Sometimes they host parties or sales of local brands, so it’s best to follow their announcements on social media. They also serve tasty breakfasts all day long, which, unfortunately, is still rare in Ryazan.

“Roman Holidays”. One of the first Italian cuisine restaurants in Ryazan. Prices are above average: a pepperoni pizza costs 590 rubles (6.05 euros), and a serving of tiramisu costs 380 (3.90 euros). But the oven-baked pizza and in-house desserts are incredibly delicious.

“Croisanna” (in the basement of “Roman Holidays”) — a café with a small shop selling desserts and edible souvenirs featuring the Kremlin, Sergei Yesenin, mushrooms with eyes.

“Good Hands. Rolls”. The rolls are so tasty that we can’t find better even in Moscow. Classic “Philadelphia” and “Canada” rolls cost 500–700 rubles (5.13 – 6.05 euros) per serving.

“Good Hands. Fish” — the best sea and river creatures in the city. Predominantly Mediterranean menu with a focus on Israeli cuisine and excellent fruit drinks. They don’t sell alcohol, but you can bring your own — corkage fee is 1000 rubles (10.26 euros).

“Conversations”. A Georgian cuisine restaurant, famous for its unusual taste combinations and cozy veranda on the noisy Pochtovaya. Try the khachapuri with pear and gorgonzola and the salad with crispy eggplants.

“Mussel Place”. Not so long ago, “Mussel Place” opened in Ryazan under franchise, already beloved by residents and visitors of Moscow, St. Petersburg, Sochi. Go for the mussels in cream sauce, served with crispy baguette and french fries. A large and hearty serving costs 590 rubles (6.05 euros).

“Energy”. Recently, in a 1950s building, which housed the “Ryazan” restaurant and later “Bylina”, a large gastro market with 19 food stalls opened. It will be hard not to find something to your taste. There’s poke and oysters, Italian cuisine and pastry shops, Vietnamese cuisine, and chebureks.

Soon, in a 1950s building that once housed the "Ryazan" restaurant and later "Bylina," a large gastro market will open. Photo: Gastro Club "Energy" / Vk.com
Soon, in a 1950s building that once housed the “Ryazan” restaurant and later “Bylina,” a large gastro market will open. Photo: Gastro Club “Energy” / Vk.com

“Worm.” A beer bar where probably every Ryazan student has hung out. Accordingly, the prices are very low — bowls for 250-300 rubles (2.57 – 3.08 euros), hot dogs for 250 rubles (2.57 euros). The guys often organize various parties, house parties, and open mics where you can read or listen to poetry. Every day from 12:00 to 18:00, a breakfast menu is available, and on weekdays, the first three visitors get breakfast for free.

“Sky.” If you want to see Ryazan from above, this is the best place. It offers a crazy view of the city, especially at sunset, and delicious food. The prices are quite high for Ryazan — salads for 500-600 rubles (5.13 – 6.16 euros), pasta from 600 rubles (6.16 euros). In the summer on weekends, it’s better to book in advance, as this venue often hosts weddings and other private events.

If you want to see Ryazan from above, "Sky" is the best place. It offers a crazy view of the city, especially at sunset, and delicious food. Photo: neboatron
If you want to see Ryazan from above, “Sky” is the best place. It offers a crazy view of the city, especially at sunset, and delicious food. Photo: neboatron

“Kitayka.” A small, but very atmospheric place with Chinese cuisine and a million red Chinese lanterns at the entrance. There are two locations: one near Pochtovaya Street (Munsterskaya St., 8) with a small courtyard and graffiti; the other is near the “Ryazan-1” railway station (1st Vokzalny Proezd, 6) and Victory Square. The second location is larger and has a veranda, so it’s a good option for lunch — convenient for those arriving in the city by train. You should try the chicken in nut sauce, noodles with shrimp, a hot dish will cost 300–400 rubles (3.08 – 4.10 euros).

"Kitayka" — a small, but very atmospheric place with Chinese cuisine and a million red Chinese lanterns at the entrance. Photo: Kitayka | Ryazan / Vk.com
“Kitayka” — a small, but very atmospheric place with Chinese cuisine and a million red Chinese lanterns at the entrance. Photo: Kitayka | Ryazan / Vk.com

“Garlic” — pizza, pasta, lasagna, and other Italian cuisine. A meal with wine for two will cost 3000–4000 rubles (30.78 – 41.04 euros) .

“Good Hands” — the best steaks in Ryazan and its surroundings, a meal for two — 2000–3000 rubles (20.52 – 30.78 euros).

Alter Brauch — all in the name of beer, even cocktails! Prices are quite democratic, so not everyone will manage to leave here walking straight.

“Bread Square” — the most unique restaurant in Ryazan, serving “proletarian” and “old regime” dishes. The restaurant has two halls — for those who are for or against the red flag. Consommé or Chuchkovsky district lard, bishop-style fish soup or “Union” salad — a meal for two here costs 2000–4000 rubles (20.52 – 41.04 euros).

"Bread Square" — the most unique restaurant in Ryazan, serving "proletarian" and "old regime" cuisine dishes. Photo: "Bread Square"
“Bread Square” — the most unique restaurant in Ryazan, serving “proletarian” and “old regime” cuisine dishes. Photo: “Bread Square”

Accommodation

“Polyany”. A modern country hotel with a spa complex and year-round outdoor thermal pools. The thermal baths are accessible not only to hotel guests but also to visitors with a guest pass. Three hours on weekends cost 1350 rubles (13.85 euros), and a ticket for the whole day can be bought for 1950 rubles (20.01 euros). On weekends, the aqua complex is open until 22:45, and on weekdays until 21:45. A double room in the hotel can be booked from 3400 rubles (34.88 euros).

"Polyany" — a modern country hotel with a spa complex and year-round outdoor thermal pools. Photo: Tourist Complex "Ecopark Polyany" / Vk.com
“Polyany” — a modern country hotel with a spa complex and year-round outdoor thermal pools. Photo: Tourist Complex “Ecopark Polyany” / Vk.com

Amaks. A modern four-star hotel located near the train stations and city center. A night in a double room costs 3900 rubles (40.01 euros).

“Old Town” — one of the best city hotels occupies a building constructed in the Northern European style. It’s as if it was teleported from Lübeck or Utrecht. From 3000 rubles (30.78 euros) per night.

"Old Town" — one of the best city hotels occupies a building constructed in the Northern European style. Photo: Hotel Complex "Old Town" & SPA
“Old Town” — one of the best city hotels occupies a building constructed in the Northern European style. Photo: Hotel Complex “Old Town” & SPA

“Kremlin Park” — a small hotel in the very center of Ryazan, where an attempt was made to recreate the bourgeois atmosphere of 19th century France. From 1800 rubles (18.47 euros) per night.

“Provence” — modern minimalist interiors in a mid-19th century building. From 2500 rubles (25.65 euros) per night.

There are also good hotels away from the center — convenient for those with their own car.

“Sova” — a four-star hotel in the American style with its own excellent restaurant and a small cozy garden. From 2300 rubles (23.60 euros) per night.

“In a Certain Kingdom” — Russian folk fantasy in the spirit of “Izmailovo Kremlin” and the palace of Alexei Mikhailovich in Kolomenskoye — kitsch to some, a real fairy tale to others. From 4700 rubles (48.22 euros) per night.

In a Certain Kingdom" — Russian folk fantasy in the spirit of the "Izmailovo Kremlin" and the palace of Alexei Mikhailovich in Kolomenskoye. Photo: "In a Certain Kingdom…" / Vk.com
In a Certain Kingdom” — Russian folk fantasy in the spirit of the “Izmailovo Kremlin” and the palace of Alexei Mikhailovich in Kolomenskoye. Photo: “In a Certain Kingdom…” / Vk.com

What to Bring Home

In the Kremlin Park, there are numerous stalls and small shops — here you can find standard magnets and plates, as well as handmade items. As a souvenir, you can also bring home “Loyalty to Quality” chocolate, which is produced at the confectionery factory in Kasimov. Traditional souvenirs include Skopin ceramics or Mikhailov lace.

The Ryazan Tourist Information Center recently released beautiful merchandise dedicated to Paustovsky and the Meshchera region. So, from Ryazan, you can bring home shoppers with mushrooms, beautiful editions of books, bookmarks. The merch is sold at Pochtovaya, 54.

Among local brands, Sobaken Store stands out, which donates a large portion of its profits to charity. The concept is such: the guys sell online and at various fairs and markets designer items (hoodies, shoppers, socks) from local producers that do not harm the environment.

Among local brands, Sobaken Store stands out, which donates a large part of its profits to charity. Photo: SOBAKEN STORE / Vk.com
Among local brands, Sobaken Store stands out, which donates a large part of its profits to charity. Photo: SOBAKEN STORE / Vk.com

Workshops on making plates or vases are held at the “Kultura” studio, and unusual and original gifts for relatives should be bought at “Tsvet Maka”. The guys make beautiful handcrafted tableware with forest and plant themes, there’s even a series with mushrooms. You can also check out ceramics at Anya Cheltsova’s workshop, where there are also pots for plants and succulents. Tete Bonnet — a brand of knitted bonnets founded by a mother and daughter.

Transportation in the City

Public Transport. Ryazan does not have a metro, as the city’s population is just over half a million people. Therefore, public transport is only ground-based — minibuses, buses, trolleybuses. Almost everywhere, fare can be paid by card. But if you plan to move around the city by public transport, it’s better to have some cash just in case.

Taxi. All the main taxi aggregators work perfectly in Ryazan. And drivers readily take orders to the surroundings. A trip from Ryazan to Kasimov will take about three hours and will cost 3500 rubles (35.91 euros). In Kasimov, it will be faster to call a local taxi, for example, “Lyubimoe”.

Car Sharing. Ryazan does not yet have major network car-sharing services, but there are two city car rental services — you can drive around the region. In “Avtoritet 62”, car rental starts from 1350 rubles (13.85 euros) per day. In “Mashina-naprokat-Ryazan”, from 1800 (18.47 euros) per day. Both services have a large fleet, but it’s better to book a car in advance.

How to Get There

Ryazan does not have an airport, so you will need to travel to the city by rail or bus.

Bus. Buses from Moscow to Ryazan depart from several bus stations: Central (at “Shchelkovskaya”), in Kotelniki, at “Novoyasenevskaya”, and from the “Southern Gate” bus station. The journey takes three to four hours, and tickets start from 400 rubles (4.10 euros). To Kasimov — only from Shchelkovsky bus station. Five to six hours on the road and from 1100 rubles (11.29 euros) for a ticket.

Buses also run to Ryazan from all neighboring cities — Tula, Belgorod, Bryansk, Vladimir, Volgograd, Voronezh, Ivanovo, Kaluga, Kursk, Lipetsk, Nizhny Novgorod, Orel, Penza, Samara, Saransk, Smolensk, Tambov.

Train. Ryazan has two railway stations — “Ryazan-1” and “Ryazan-2”.

From Kazansky railway station in Moscow to Ryazan, there are regular commuter trains, regional expresses, and long-distance trains — approximately three hours on the road, from 500 rubles (5.13 euros) for a commuter train ticket, and from 1100 (11.29 euros) for a reserved seat.

“Ryazan-1” is passed by many trains from different cities heading to Moscow — Chelyabinsk, Saransk, Samara, Penza, Orenburg, Ulyanovsk, and Tolyatti. And “Ryazan-2” is a stop for trains coming from the south — from Novorossiysk, Adler, Nazran, Derbent, Astrakhan, Sukhum, Sevastopol, Rostov-on-Don, Voronezh, Kislovodsk, Lipetsk.

Car. The road from Moscow to Ryazan follows the M5 federal highway. 200 kilometers usually takes three to four hours to drive.

When to Go

Ryazan is located close to Moscow, so the climate here is typical for the central regions of Russia. Therefore, you can visit the city for a weekend at any time of the year. Naturally, the most comfortable time for walks is from May to September. Also, a very beautiful time in the city is the golden autumn, especially if you plan to go to Konstantinovo. Winter also has its attractions, primarily outside the city: you can go towards Solotcha to Lysaya Gora to sled down the hills or to one of the ski slopes in the region. And the well-known Pochtovaya Street always shines especially brightly during the New Year holidays.

Ryazan is located close to Moscow, so the climate here is typical for the central regions of Russia. Photo: Ted.ns / Wikimedia.org
Ryazan is located close to Moscow, so the climate here is typical for the central regions of Russia. Photo: Ted.ns / Wikimedia.org

Links

Twiglles — a modern media about the city. Here you can find out about announcements of interesting events or view memes about Yesenin.

Also, all announcements of upcoming events are available on the Telegram channel of the Ryazan Region Tourist Information Center.

If you want to read more about the city’s architecture, you can do so on the Architecture of the Ryazan Region website. They also have an interesting project on photo reconstruction “Back to the Future.”

  • Text: Ksenia Smolskaya
  • Additions: Nikolai Lupandin
  • Cover: Ted.ns
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