Penza city (1991 est. pop. 551,000), capital of Penza region, South central European Russia, on the Sura River. It is a large railroad junction and the centre of an extensive and fertile black earth district.
Penza is a big place. It is larger than Dublin, Ireland or Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. Its population is over 500000. Founded in 1666 as a fortress, Penza was occupied by Stenka Razin in 1670, by the Tatars in 1717, and by Pugachev in 1774. Before the Bolshevik revolution, Penza was a major agricultural trading center. A hilltop city, it has since spread to the lowlands around the Sura.
Initially Penza was founded on the river Penza shore. But the main regional river Sura have changed its bed in 1945 and Penza is situated on the banks of Sura river now.
There are a lot of higher educational institutions in Penza: state university, pedagogical university, architectural - building academy, technological institute, military artillery institute, agricultural institute and others.
Penza is an industrial city, in which one instrument making and engineering traditionally developed. Among exported commodities it is possible to mark diesel engines and diesel engine - generator for vessels and diesel electricity generating plants, compressors.
Penza has rich cultural traditions: oldest in Russia drama theatre grounded in 1793, fixed circus grounded in 1874.
The art college works in Penza since 1898.
Beauty and appeal of Penza lies in its unique landscape, in two divided quiet water smooth surface of Sura. In the summer time charm of city supplements the green sea of gardens, parks, squares, forest parks.
The architectural shape of city was formed basically after 1785. The number of architecture monuments concerns: nobiliary institute, art school, country land bank. The church architecture is submitted by escaped constructions of Troitsky female monastery based in 1690, Pokrovskaya and Preobrazhenskaya churches, church of prelate Nikolay.
The Penza ground is rich by original national talents. As well as two centuries back, masters from city of Nikolsk facet solar crystal, which on grace and cleanliness of figure and perfection of forms does not concede to the Czech, French and Italian crystal.