Penza boasts a rich history and cultural traditions. The city was founded as a fortress to protect the state border, more than once it had to experience the raids of wild steppe nomads. In the XVIII-XIX centuries it developed as a spiritual center due to the active construction and development of monasteries and temples.
The fates of M. Yu. Lermontov, V. G. Belinsky, V. E. Meyerhold, V. O. Klyuchevsky, famous cultural figures who made an invaluable contribution to the intangible heritage of our country, are connected with Penza.
The tourist potential of the city is huge. Museums, theaters and architectural sights will be of interest to fans of cognitive travel, visiting monasteries and churches - to pilgrims, the natural beauty of the banks of the Sura River - to people who prefer ecological routes.
What to see and where to go in Penza?
The most interesting and beautiful places for walking. Photos and a short description.
Monument "First Settler"
The monument is dedicated to the founders of the city, it was installed in 1980. It is a sculptural group on a pedestal, consisting of figures of a horse and a man standing next to him with a spear and a plow in his hands, symbolizing the war and the tiller (the first settlers had to have a variety of skills in order to survive). Around the monument is an observation deck from where you can look at the panorama of the city.
The central square is one of the favorite places for walks of the townspeople and dates for lovers. In the hot season, a considerable number of people gather around the color and music fountain to enjoy the refreshing splashes of water jets. During the holidays and public events, a stage is set up here where concerts are held and artists perform. In winter, Penza's main Christmas tree is decorated on the square.
The street is located in the historical center, it can be called the main alley of the city - all tourists certainly come here in order to get the first impression of Penza. The local "Arbat" has existed since the 18th century, stone houses were the first to appear here. At the beginning of the 20th century, meat and fish arcades worked on Moskovskaya, today there are banks, hotels, shopping centers and cultural institutions.
Drama Theater named after A. V. Lunacharsky
The scene was founded at the end of the 18th century. The very first performance was a production created on the basis of a play written by Empress Catherine II. That very first theater was designed for only 100 spectators. At the beginning of the 20th century, the building of the “People's House named after A.I. Emperor Alexander II”, which lasted until the fire in 2008. In 2009, a new architectural style building was erected for the theater, where modernity and recognizable elements of the classics are mixed.
Museum of one painting named after G. V. Myasnikov
Quite an interesting institution with an original concept that has no analogues in Russia. There is no permanent exhibition here, visitors are offered to look at the only exhibit - a painting, which is selected every time according to strict criteria. Guests sit in the auditorium and listen to a lecture about the life and work of the artist, his works, while simultaneously studying and examining all the details of the canvas.
Art Gallery named after K. A. Savitsky
Art Museum founded in 1892. The collection is based on canvases from the private collection of Governor N. D. Seliverstov. A separate building for the gallery was built in 1897. Together with the exhibition halls, an art school was placed in it. The exposition was replenished due to the fact that famous artists donated their paintings to the museum. By the beginning of the 20th century, the number of paintings reached several hundred. The gallery presents works by Russian and European masters of the 17th-20th centuries.
Museum of Local Lore
The museum was founded by members of the local society of natural history lovers, at first it housed natural science collections. After the institution was opened to the public in 1911, the diversity of the exposition began to expand. At the moment, there are 8 permanent exhibitions of ethnographic, artistic, archaeological and historical orientation. The total number of exhibits exceeds 95 thousand.
The theater-museum, organized on the territory of the house where the famous director and actor V. E. Meyerhold lived. The exposition is dedicated to his life and work, it consists of more than 10 thousand items. The theater is an experimental platform where performances are staged using the creative heritage of Meyerhold. The institution is located in a picturesque wooden estate built in 1881.
Museum of Folk Art
The exposition is located on the territory of a wooden house of the first half of the 19th century, a unique architectural monument. The museum was opened in 1975. The main mission of the institution is to study and popularize the traditional folk crafts of the Penza region. Here you can see an Abashev toy, items made of fluff and glass, ceramic dishes, crafts made of wood, straw and textiles.
Museum of V.O. Klyuchevsky
The museum opened in 1991. The exposition was placed on the territory of a wooden house in which the famous historian V. O. Klyuchevsky was born and lived until the age of 20. The exhibition consists of two sections: the first contains furniture, books, interior items, clothing and archival documents related to the 19th century, the second presents the scientific works of Klyuchevsky, his autographs and photographs.
Shopping malls built at the end of the 19th century from red brick according to the project of V.P. Semechkin. The complex turned out to be quite lush and elegant, with a large number of decorative elements, despite its purely practical orientation (it was intended to accommodate butchers' shops). The rows were used for their intended purpose until the 1970s, today there are public institutions on their territory.
A picturesque temple of the beginning of the 20th century, built in an elegant pseudo-Russian style (with Byzantine elements) of red brick. The center of the architectural composition is a round tower crowned with a dome. In 1934, a military warehouse was placed on its territory, but in 1945 services were resumed in the cathedral again thanks to the perseverance of the parishioners, who constantly applied for the opening of the institution.
The monastery was founded at the end of the 17th century by permission of Tsar Ivan V. Presumably, it arose as a result of the merger of three monastic communities that existed earlier. In 1794, the monastery was moved to the site of the Voznesensky cemetery and the entire complex was rebuilt. After the closure in the 1920s and the placement of stables and residential apartments on the territory, the buildings fell into disrepair. In the 1930s, almost all churches (except for the Church of the Transfiguration) and other buildings of the monastery were destroyed. A revival began in the 1990s.
The history of the monastery began with the construction and consecration of the wooden Church of the Life-Giving Trinity in 1702. Almost simultaneously with the temple, cells were erected for the first inhabitants and nuns. From the middle of the 18th century, buildings began to be replaced with stone ones. By the second half of the 19th century, the territory of the complex had increased significantly, and new buildings were being actively built. Under Soviet rule, after the closure of the monastery, it was ruined and destroyed, until its revival began in the 1990s.
Intercession Bishops' Cathedral
The cathedral was erected immediately after the founding of Penza, but literally a couple of years later it was burned down by nomads during a raid on Penza. Until 1765, the temple was rebuilt several times from wood, until a stone building came to replace it. After closing in 1931 until the 1970-80s, there was a cinema on the territory of the church, then the building was empty and collapsed. Restoration work began in the 1990s, at the same time services resumed.
Monument of military and labor Glory
The monument is considered one of the most important in the city, as well as the most recognizable monument and symbol of Penza. It is dedicated to local residents who performed military and labor exploits during the Second World War. The sculptural group was installed in 1975. It is located on a hilltop on a granite pedestal and consists of figures of a woman and a child, whom she holds in her arms, as well as a defending warrior, as if covering the mother and child with a wide cloak.
Monument of Glory "Rostok"
A monument in the form of a pointed stele resembling a sprout is located on the embankment of the Sura River. It symbolizes the continuous and progressive development of the city. The obelisk, 25 meters high, was created in the 1970s, a letter to descendants was placed inside the structure. Near the monument there is a small square - a place for citizens to walk, hold holidays and organize various spectacles.
traffic light tree
An unusual art object, which in 2011 adorned the city square between Suvorov Street and Oktyabrskaya Street. The city mayor came up with the idea and saw a traffic light tree in London and decided to create the same one in Penza. The attraction was assembled from 36 old, decommissioned (but working) traffic lights. As a result, the creators got a full-fledged work of modern art.
The zoo was founded in 1981. To date, more than 200 species of animals live in it, 70 of which are listed in the Red Book. Also, many rare representatives of the flora grow here (the age of some trees exceeds 180-200 years). On the territory of the zoo there are open pavilions where animals are released in the summer, and closed rooms where they can stay in the cold season.
Botanical Garden named after I. I. Sprygin
The Penza Botanical Garden appeared thanks to the initiative of members of the city society of natural sciences in 1917. From its very foundation, it has become a platform for scientific research conducted by renowned botanists. In 1966, a fire broke out here, destroying the greenhouse with tropical and subtropical species (unfortunately, it was never restored).
"Bridge of Friendship"
The pedestrian bridge was built in the 1970s. At that time, the building was the pinnacle of engineering achievements. The design is a suspended pontoon 600 meters in length. It received the name "Friendship Bridge" in 2008 after the Regional Congress of Non-Governmental Organizations of the Council of Europe. In the evening, the bridge is lit up with bright lanterns, offering views of the river and the city.
Penza stands on the banks of the Sura - the right tributary of the Volga and one of the most picturesque rivers of the Volga Upland. The water artery has a very winding channel. In the 16th century, it was the frontier separating the Kazan Khanate and the Moscow principality. After the conquests of Ivan the Terrible, fortress cities began to be built along it to protect the borders of the expanded state, one of which was Penza.
The park was founded in 1821 as part of the decree of Alexander I on the improvement of cities, it is one of the oldest in Russia. This place was repeatedly visited by emperors (Alexander I, Alexander II, Nicholas I), famous scientists, writers and statesmen. In Soviet times, the park continued to develop and expand. Today it is a full-fledged and modernly equipped area for walking and entertainment.
Sculpture park "Legend"
"Legend" appeared in 2008 after the First Sculpture Symposium, which brought together representatives from different countries. The park consists of sculptures created by craftsmen from all over the world from a variety of materials: stone, bronze, marble, steel, wood, plastic. It is a full-fledged cultural complex with a hotel, exhibition space, conference rooms and a spa center.
The complex is located 100 km from Penza. This is the family estate of the Lermontov family, where Mikhail Yuryevich spent his childhood. It was here that in 1942 his body was brought from Pyatigorsk for reburial at the family cemetery. The museum-reserve on the territory of the estate was organized only in the 1960s, practically restoring all the buildings that had fallen into considerable desolation.