Mordovia is situated in the centre of the European part of Russia, in the basin of Volga. The area of Mordovia is 26,2 thousand sq. km. The population of the republic is 943,6 thousand people (on January 1, 1998). Density of population makes 36,0 per 1 sq. km.
The capital of Mordovia is Saransk (348 thousand inhabitants). Distance between Moscow and Saransk is 600 km. The official language is Russian. The largest cities (January 1, 1998) are Saransk (318,1 thousand people), Ruzayevka (50,8), Kovylkino (23,2), Krasnoslobodsk (11,9), Ardatov (10,1).
Mordovia was formed on January 10, 1930, as an autonomous oblast, but transformed in the Autonomous Soviet Socialistic Republic on December 20, 1934. Since 1990 it is the Mordovian Republic. The main industrial centers are the cities of Saransks, Ruzayevka, Kovylkino and the urban settlements of Chamzinka and Komsomolsky.
Mordovia borders upon the Chuvash Republic, Nizhegorodskaya Oblast, Penzenskaya Oblast, Ryazanskaya Oblast and Ulyanovskaya Oblast. The largest rivers are Moksha with its tributaries Vad, Satis, Sivin, Issa, Alatyr and Sura.
The climate is moderately continental. The average temperature of January is 11 degrees below zero, of July +19 degrees centigrade. Precipitations make about 500 mm a year.
There is the Mordovian reserve for protection of the wolf, elk, badger, beaver, wild boar, mole, muskrat, fox, hare, blackcock, partridge and wood-grouse. In reservoirs there are the carp, crucian, bream and the pike.
There is the significant store of sulphate-chloride mineral water with medicinal characteristics. It may be used against chronic gastritis, colitis and other diseases.
In the territory of Mordovia there are about 500 lakes and 114 rivers, picturesque piny and mixed forests. All this promotes development of international and inner tourism.
Mordovia has the developed network of cultural establishments.
But it is the theatre that develops most dynamically. One of the famous theatres is the Mordovian Republican Musical and Drama Theatre that recently divided into two collectives - the Russian Drama Theatre and the Musical Theatre.
The Mordovian State National Theatre enjoys wide popularity too.
Significant role in the cultural life of the republic is played by concert establishments. It is pleasant that many of them are known and loved far beyond the borders of Mordovia. For example, 'Umarina', the ensemble of songs and dance, the winner of the State premium of the Republic of Mordovia.