Click for more information about Penza Oblast
2009 Sep by Jorge Sanchez
Penza was founded in 1663. Today it has half a million inhabitants.|
From the railway station I walked to the downtown and asked to the people where the main tourist attractions were.
The advised me to walk to the Lenin square, then to follow a pedestrian street and heading up a hill until a park where there were some statues representing Russian historical personages.
In front of the Lenin square there was an open air market and the people came in their trucks to sell watermelons brought from Astrakhan.
In the pedestrian street I was surprised to see a cafeteria called Madrid, in Latin characters, not in Cyrillic. I went inside to drink a beer and asked for his owner. He was not there, but I was told by one of the waitresses that he was not Spanish, as I had expected, but Russian. He liked football and adored the Real Madrid football team, and because of that he gave the name of the Spanish capital to his cafeteria.
I walked up the hilly street until a park and saw a monument devoted to the parents of Lenin. But local people are not proud of that monument. Some told me: “Why they did not migrate to America? Then the bloody October Revolution would have taken place in America, and Russia would have remained a rich and peaceful country”.
The monument that I liked most was the one dedicated to Mikhail Lermontov, consisting in just a bust in the middle of the park up the hill. He was born in Moscow, but grew up in Penza Oblast. He was an artist and painted many lovely mountains landscapes inspired in the Caucasus valleys and mountains. He was also a poet, the second most important poet in Russia after Pushkin.
I started to associate the Oblasts, Krays and Republics of the 83 political divisions that I would visit in Russia, with a personage or distinctive:
- Penza: Lermontov
- Kaluga: Cosmonauts
- Ulianovsk: Lenin birth place
- Omsk: Kolchak
- Saratov: Long bridge
- Smolensk: Ruined Kremlin
- Perm: Izhevsk Kalashnikov
- Rostov on Don: Anton Chekhov
- Tula: Samovars
- Birobidjan: Jews
- Tambov: Honey
- Astrakahan: Watermelons
- Kalmikia: City Chess
- Tobolsk: Yermak
- Ivanova: Single girls
- Kostroma: Ivan Susanin
- Magadan: Gulags
- Irkutsk: Lake Baikal
- Ryazan: Sergei Esenin
- Kamchatka: Volcanoes
- Vladimir: Suzdal miedovukha
And so on for all the Oblasts, Krays and Russian Republics.
After visiting Penza on foot during a full day, I took a night train to Ulianovsk.
2004 Apr by Veikko Huhtala*
On the way from Moscow to Samara our train stopped for 40 minutes in Penza town. Penza is located about 600 km to SE from Moscow. Penza is the capital of same named Oblast and there are living more than half of million people. 40 minutes was not a long time to stay, but for me it was quite enough to by some drinks and food from the shopkeepers in the station. I like to travel by train in Russia, it is not very expensive and we can sleep when we are tired. And it is very safe way to travel as well, but because we do not speak any word of Russia, we will buy our tickets in Finland, before we go. |