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The city of Saransk, a capital of Mordovia, is situated on flat hills crossed by the rivers Insar and Saranka.

As well as in the whole republic, the climate in Saransk is moderately continental. It is characterized by rather cold and frosty winter and moderately hot summer. Saransk includes about 300 streets, eight squares, three parks and a lot of public gardens.

Nowadays the city is spread over the area of 71,5 sq. km. Population is 339,4 thousand people. The majority of the population makes up the Russians, Mordvinians and Tatars.

Saransk lies in the same time zone as Moscow. The distance to Moscow is 642 km by rail, 651 km by car (through Krasnoslobodsk).

Saransk arose in 1641 as a military fortress at the border of the Russian state. It was closely connected with the names of Stepan Razin and Emeliyan Pugachev. Here lived the democratic poet A.I. Polezhayev, the world-famous sculptor S.Erzya, the known artist F.V.Sychkov and the classic of Mordovian professional music L.P.Kiryukov.

After the revolution Saransk changed into the large industrial city. Today Saransk is one of the centres of the lighting industry. Such industries as machine-building, metal working, light and food-processing industries are developed here. Besides there are various plants such as the instrument-making, mechanical, cable, excavator, television plants and the enterprises of the medical equipment and medical preparations.

In Saransk one can find the Mordovian University, the Pedagogical Institute, a branch of the Moscow University of Consumer Co-operation. Various scientific and research institutes are also here. For example, the Institute of Language, Literature, History and Economy; the Institute of Light Sources named after A.N. Lodygin; the Institute of Power Semi-conductor Engineering.

Theatres in Saransk: the Drama Theatre, the Theatre of Musical Comedy and the Puppet Theatre. There are the Philharmonic society, the Picture gallery named after F.V. Sychkov, the Museum of Sculpture named after S.D. Erzya (Nefedov) and the Museum of local lore.

The most popular men's name in Saransk is Alexander. There are 14409 men by this name. It is followed by the names of Sergey and Vladimir. As for the most popular female name, it is Tatyana. (10455 women).The most popular surname in the city is Kuznetsov. There are 857 women and 707 men by this surname.

The oldest inhabitant of the city is Anna Ivanovna Maximova. She is more than 100 years old. The longest street is Polezhayev Street. According to researcher V. Kuklin it was founded in XVII century. Nowadays its length makes almost three kilometers.

The oldest building in the city is the Ioanno-Bogoslovskaya church in Demokraticheskaya street. It is more than 300 years old now.

The biggest inhabited house stands in 120 Polezhayev street. The house has 507 apartments for 1500 inhabitants.



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