Penza (Russian: Пенза, IPA: [ˈpʲɛnzə]) is the largest city and administrative center of Penza Oblast, Russia. It is located on the Sura River, 625 kilometers (388 mi) southeast of Moscow. As of the 2010 Census, Penza had a population of 517,311, making it the 36th-largest city in Russia.[12]

View of the Church of the Merciful Saviour
View of the Church of the Merciful Saviour
Flag of Penza
Coat of arms of Penza
Anthem: none[2]
Location of Penza
Penza is located in Penza Oblast
Location of Penza
Penza is located in European Russia
Penza (European Russia)
Penza is located in Europe
Penza (Europe)
Coordinates: 53°12′N 45°00′E / 53.200°N 45.000°E / 53.200; 45.000
Federal subjectPenza Oblast[1]
 • BodyCity Duma[4]
 • Head[4]Vladimir Mutovkin[5]
150 m (490 ft)
 • Total517,311
 • Estimate 
523,553 (+1.2%)
 • Rank34th in 2010
 • Subordinated tocity of oblast significance of Penza[1]
 • Capital ofPenza Oblast,[1] city of oblast significance of Penza[1]
 • Urban okrugPenza Urban Okrug[8]
 • Capital ofPenza Urban Okrug[8]
Time zoneUTC+3 (MSK Edit this on Wikidata[9])
Postal code(s)[10]
440000, 440001, 440003–440005, 440007–440009, 440011–440015, 440018, 440020, 440022, 440023, 440025, 440026, 440028, 440031–440035, 440039, 440040, 440042, 440044–440047, 440049, 440052, 440054, 440056, 440058, 440060–440062, 440064, 440066–440068, 440071, 440072, 440700, 440890, 440899, 440960, 440961, 440999
Dialing code(s)+7 8412
OKTMO ID56701000001



The city name is a hydronym and means in Moksha: Пенза, romanized: Penza, lit.'end of swampy river' (/'penʲzɑ/) from pen 'end of (genitive)' and sa(ra) 'swampy river'.[13]



Urban layout

Penza as seen from the highest point of the city

This central quarter occupies the territory on which the wooden fortress Penza was once located, therefore it is sometimes called the Serf. The architectural concept of the old fortress, erected on the eastern slope of the mountain above the river, predetermined the direction of the first streets. The direction and location of the first streets were set by the passage towers of the fortress and the orientation of its walls. This is how the first six streets of the city were formed. Subsequently, the names were fixed to them: Governor's, Lekarskaya, Moscow, Nikolskaya, Sadovaya and Teatralnaya.

An important element of the urban development of the city is that the square of the fortress created a network of streets converging at right angles. Initially, there was no proper harmony in them. Often the difficult terrain of the area forced the direction and width of the road to change. Here and there, spontaneous development took shape. Nevertheless, the urban planning matrix was created and predetermined the development of the city for several centuries. During the reign of Empress Catherine the Great, the first general plan of Penza was drawn up, it was approved on October 6, 1785. The city was rebuilt anew in accordance with the rectilinear structure of St. Petersburg. The plan of the city, in its central part practically did not change, as it fully complied with the new norms of Russian urban planning. The mutually perpendicular orientation of the streets and the accompanying division of the urban environment into standard quarters was the original and distinctive feature of Penza. Perhaps Penza owes this to its first builders, who are well acquainted with the European urban planning trends of the 17th century - the German Joseph von Sommer (Lieutenant Colonel of the Moscow Service Osip Zumerovsky) and the Polish nobleman Yuri Kotransky. At the end of the next 18th century, in the process of implementing Catherine's master plan for Penza, only some sections of the old streets were straightened, the standard width of the roadway and sidewalks was set. The redevelopment of the city was preceded by the resettlement of the serving suburban population from the center to suburban villages and wastelands. Newly carved quarters of the Upland part of the city, more comfortable for living, were inhabited by the nobility and eminent merchants. Initially, the fortress was not only a defense complex, but also the administrative center of a vast region. On that place the governor, archives, treasury, prison, arsenal and other instruments of the regional statehood were settled. In the fortress there was the main cathedral of the region – Spassky and the main square of the city – Cathedral. In accordance with the General Plan of 1785, the dilapidated fortress, trading rows and philistine buildings adjacent to its walls were dismantled. As a result of clearing, the posadskaya Nikolskaya church came out of the environment of spontaneous buildings and acquired a harmonious look, becoming a true decoration of the city.[14]

For several years, on the territory of the central quarter and adjacent streets, state-owned stone buildings were complexly erected: the bishop's courtyard, the governor's residence, the assembly of the nobility and two buildings of public places (7.1 and 7.4).) By the beginning of the 20th century, private residential There are no buildings left in the Fortress Quarter of the city. In the Fortress Quarter there is also a special administrative street of the city – the Line of Public Places, passing from Sadovaya to Moskovskaya, bypassing the Spassky Cathedral. It has never had and still does not have residential buildings. the eastern earthen rampart of the old Penza fortress The ancient defensive rampart runs along the western side of Kirov Street (on this section, Kirov Street was formerly called Teatralnaya Street).

The Cathedral was destroyed by the Communists in 1934, and rebuilt between 2010 and 2022.



In 1927, a fragmentary skull of the giant marine reptile Mosasaurus hoffmanni was found in the Late Maastrichtian (Late Cretaceous) deposits near Mironositskoe cemetery, within Penza. This specimen became the first unequivocal record of this species in Russia. The exact place where fossil was collected is unknown, but, most likely, Prolomnaya Street is located there now.[15] Belemnites Belemnitella lanceolata and B. americana were also collected from Maastrichtian layers along the banks of the Sura River in Penza area. Tsaregradskii (1926) reports about the oyster Ostrea praesinzowi from the same deposits.[15] In addition, these layers contain a mixed complex of microfaunal characteristics of the Turonian (Bolivinita couvigeriniformis), Santonian (Reussia subrotundata) and Maastrichtian (Bolivina incrassata) ages, indicating that all of these deposits were eroded and redeposited.[15]


An 18th-century house in Penza

Penza was founded as a Russian frontier fortress-city,[3] and to this day, remnants of the Lomovskaya sentry line built in 1640 have been preserved at the western edge of the city, and remains of earth ramparts dating from the mid-16th century are preserved in the city center. Until 1663, Penza was a wooden stockade with only a small settlement. In May 1663, the architect Yuri Kontransky arrived in Penza on the Tsar's orders to direct the construction of a fortress city,[citation needed] as part of a wider fortress building program to protect Russia from attacks by Crimean Tatars. The initial construction consisted of a wooden Kremlin, a village, and quarters for the nobility, small tradesmen, and merchants. The Muscovite government placed the Cossacks here, who constructed a fortress and called it "Cherkassy Ostroh", from which the regional city of Penza has developed, thanks to the arrival of new settlers, particularly Russians. The Cossack roots of the city and its first settlers are now remembered in the names of Cherkasskaya street, along with the "Cherkassy" historical district.[16]

In 1774, the insurgent army led by Yemelyan Pugachev occupied Penza after the citizens of the city welcomed the rebellious Cossacks. The first stone houses started to appear after 1801, and by 1809 Penza's population had grown to more than 13,000 people.

In 1918, Vladimir Lenin sent a telegram to communists in the Penza area, complaining about the "insurrection of five kulak districts". He urged the public hanging of 100 "landlords, richmen, bloodsuckers", grain seizure, and hostage-liberation. This telegram has been used in several historical works on the period and on Lenin.[17][18][19][20][21] During the Russian Civil War, the Czechoslovak Legions launched an anti-Bolshevik uprising in Penza.

During the Soviet period, the city developed as a regional industrial center. The Ural mainframe was made here between 1959 and 1964.

Administrative and municipal status


Penza is the administrative center of the oblast.[1] Within the framework of administrative divisions, it is incorporated as the city of oblast significance of Penza—an administrative unit with a status equal to that of the districts.[1] As a municipal division, the city of oblast significance of Penza is incorporated as Penza Urban Okrug.[8]



Penza is a major railway junction and lies on the M5 highway linking Moscow and Chelyabinsk. Penza Airport serves domestic flights. Local public transport includes buses, trolleybuses and marshrutkas (routed taxis).

Education and culture

The main stage inside the Drama Theater Named After A.V. Lunacharsky

Currently, the city of Penza is seen as a regional center for higher education. It has six universities (the Penza State University, the Pedagogic University, the Academy of Agriculture, the Technology Institute, the University of Architecture and Construction, and the Artillery and Engineering Institute), 13 colleges and 77 public schools. Penza's largest repertoire theatre is Penza Oblast Drama Theater named after A. V. Lunacharsky. [22] Another prominent and unique theater is the Theater of Doctor Dapertutto, founded by Natalia Kugel and located in the former home of Russian theater director Vsevolod Meyerhold.[citation needed] Besides this, Penza is home to four museums, and three art galleries including The Museum of One Painting named after G. V. Myasnikov.[citation needed]

Facilities of higher education include:

  • Penza State University
  • Penza State Pedagogical University (unified with Penza State University in 2012)
  • Penza State University of Architecture and Construction
  • Penza Artillery Engineering Institute
  • Penza State Technological Academy
  • Penza State Agricultural University
  • Penza branch of the Moscow's Institute of Economics, Management and Law
  • Penza branch of the Russian State University of Innovative Technologies and Entrepreneurship



Penza has a humid continental climate (Köppen climate classification Dfb) with long, cold winters and warm summers. Due to the vast landmass, the summer is much warmer than its 53°N latitude would suggest. The same factors also result in very cold winters by upper mid-latitude European standards. A heat wave in the months of June, July, and August 2010, raised temperatures from previous norms often by 15 °C (27 °F) in Penza. Some of the higher fluctuations in temperatures were recorded with seven straight days of temperatures +40 °C (104 °F) and higher compared to the previous year where the higher temperatures for the same period were, on average, 20 °C (36 °F) lower.[23][24]

Climate data for Penza (1991–2020, extremes 1850–present)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °C (°F) 7.0
Mean daily maximum °C (°F) −5.5
Daily mean °C (°F) −8.6
Mean daily minimum °C (°F) −11.7
Record low °C (°F) −39.9
Average precipitation mm (inches) 41
Average rainy days 6 5 7 13 16 19 18 16 17 17 12 8 154
Average snowy days 26 22 16 5 1 0.1 0 0 0.3 5 17 25 117
Average relative humidity (%) 84 82 79 68 61 67 69 70 73 79 86 85 75
Mean monthly sunshine hours 42 77 138 200 275 294 302 260 162 92 45 30 1,917
Source 1:[25]
Source 2: Climatebase (sun 1971–2012)[26]



Penza first hosted the Russian Sidecarcross Grand Prix in 2009, and did so again in 2010, on August 15.[27]

Dizel Penza is Penza's professional hockey team, playing in the VHL. Dizelist Penza is a junior club playing in the NMHL.

The city football team FC Zenit Penza was established in 1918 but now plays in the Russian Second League. Penza has also a professional rugby union club, Lokomotiv Penza, from Russia's Rugby Championship.



A minor planet, 3189 Penza, discovered by Soviet astronomer Nikolai Chernykh in 1978, is named after the city.[28]



Twin towns – sister cities


Penza is twinned with:[29]

See also



  • Inzhevatov, Ivan; Nikonov, Vladimir; Tsygankin, Dmitry, eds. (1987) [First published 1969]. Toponymic Dictionary Of Mordvin Autonomous Republic (in Russian). Mordovian Book Publishing.




  1. ^ a b c d e f g Law #774-ZPO
  2. ^ Article 2 of the Charter of Penza states that the city may have an anthem, providing one is adopted by the City Duma. As of 2015, no anthem has been adopted.
  3. ^ a b Большая Советская Энциклопедия (Great Soviet Encyclopedia). Гл. ред. А. М. Прохоров, 3-е изд. Т. 19. Отоми — Пластырь. 1975. 648 стр., илл.; 29 л. илл. и карт. "Город основан в 1663 году как крепость на юго-восточной окраине Русского царства."
  4. ^ a b Charter of Penza, Article 18
  5. ^ Official website of Penza. Biography of Viktor Nikolayevich Kuvaytsev Archived 20 May 2022 at the Wayback Machine, Head of Penza (in Russian)
  6. ^ Russian Federal State Statistics Service (2011). Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года. Том 1 [2010 All-Russian Population Census, vol. 1]. Всероссийская перепись населения 2010 года [2010 All-Russia Population Census] (in Russian). Federal State Statistics Service.
  7. ^ "26. Численность постоянного населения Российской Федерации по муниципальным образованиям на 1 января 2018 года". Federal State Statistics Service. Retrieved 23 January 2019.
  8. ^ a b c Law #690-ZPO
  9. ^ "Об исчислении времени". Официальный интернет-портал правовой информации (in Russian). 3 June 2011. Retrieved 19 January 2019.
  10. ^ Почта России. Информационно-вычислительный центр ОАСУ РПО. (Russian Post). Поиск объектов почтовой связи (Postal Objects Search) (in Russian)
  11. ^ Penza Oblast Territorial Branch of the Federal State Statistics Service. Численность постоянного населения Пензенской области на 1.01.2015 Archived May 18, 2015, at the Wayback Machine (in Russian)
  12. ^ "Penza Population 2024". Retrieved 23 April 2024.
  13. ^ Inzhevatov, Nikonov & Tsygankin 1987p=172
  14. ^ "Старая Пенза". Archived from the original on 3 June 2023. Retrieved 9 December 2020.
  15. ^ a b c Dimitry V. Grigoriev (2014). "Giant Mosasaurus hoffmanni (Squamata, Mosasauridae) from the Late Cretaceous (Maastrichtian) of Penza, Russia" (PDF). Proceedings of the Zoological Institute RAS. 318 (2): 148–167. doi:10.31610/trudyzin/2014.318.2.148. S2CID 53574339. Archived (PDF) from the original on 3 October 2023.
  16. ^ Ukrainians in USSR beyond the borders of Ukrainian SSR: p. 79 (1974) Winnipeg: Marunchak M. / Михайло Марунчак; Українська Вільна Академія Наук. – Вінніпеґ: Накладом УВАН в Канаді, 1974. – 248 c. : іл.
  17. ^ "Hanging order". 22 July 2010. Archived from the original on 12 February 2018. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  18. ^ "Lenin Collected Works, Progress Publishers, 1971, Moscow, Volume 36, page 489. "Telegram to Yevgenia Bosch"". 4 August 2006. Archived from the original on 10 December 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  19. ^ "An exchange of letters on the BBC documentary Lenin's Secret Files"
  20. ^ Telegram to the Penza Gubernia Executive Committee of the Soviets in J. Brooks and G. Chernyavskiy's, p.77, Lenin and the Making of the Soviet State: A Brief History with Documents (2007). Bedford/St Martin's: Boston and New York: p.77
  21. ^ Translation of 'hanging order' by Robert Service, p. 365, Lenin a Biography (2000). London: Macmillan
  22. ^ "Пензенский областной драматический театр имени А. В. Луначарского". Archived from the original on 19 January 2021. Retrieved 20 January 2021.
  23. ^ "Погода и Климат - Климатический монитор: погода в Пензе". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  24. ^ "Погода и Климат - Климатический монитор: погода в Пензе". Archived from the original on 24 July 2011. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  25. ^ "Weather and Climate-The Climate of Penza" (in Russian). Weather and Climate (Погода и климат). Archived from the original on 3 December 2021. Retrieved 5 November 2021.
  26. ^ "Penza, Penza, Russia #27962". Climatebase. Archived from the original on 13 November 2021. Retrieved 12 November 2021.
  27. ^ FIM Sidecarcross World Championship – 2010 Calendar Archived August 12, 2011, at the Wayback Machine FIM website, accessed: October 30, 2009
  28. ^ Dictionary of Minor Planet Names – p. 264. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  29. ^ "Города-побратимы". (in Russian). Penza. Archived from the original on 14 November 2019. Retrieved 2 February 2020.
  30. ^ "Official site of Penza". Archived from the original on 15 July 2009. Retrieved 18 May 2014.
  31. ^ Penza City (Russia, sister city of Lanzhou Municipality) Archived June 23, 2007, at the Wayback Machine
  32. ^ "Ramat Gan sister cities". 19 July 2007. Archived from the original on 4 November 2013. Retrieved 18 May 2014.


  • Законодательное Собрание Пензенской области. Закон №774-ЗПО от 9 марта 2005 г. «Об административно-территориальном устройстве Пензенской области», в ред. Закона №2484-ЗПО от 28 ноября 2013 г. «О внесении изменений в статью 15 Закона Пензенской области "Об административно-территориальном устройстве Пензенской области"». Вступил в силу через десять дней после дня официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Пензенские губернские ведомости", №6, стр. 49, 18 марта 2005 г. (Legislative Assembly of Penza Oblast. Law #774-ZPO of March 9, 2005 On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Penza Oblast, as amended by the Law #2484-ZPO of November 28, 2013 On Amending Article 15 of the Law of Penza Oblast "On the Administrative-Territorial Structure of Penza Oblast". Effective as of the day ten days after the day of the official publication.).
  • Законодательное Собрание Пензенской области. Закон №690-ЗПО от 2 ноября 2004 г. «О границах муниципальных образований Пензенской области», в ред. Закона №2681-ЗПО от 4 марта 2015 г. «О внесении изменений в Закон Пензенской области "О границах муниципальных образований Пензенской области"». Вступил в силу через 10 дней после официального опубликования. Опубликован: "Пензенские губернские ведомости", №17 (без приложения), 16 ноября 2004 г. (Legislative Assembly of Penza Oblast. Law #690-ZPO of November 2, 2004 On the Borders of the Municipal Formations of Penza Oblast, as amended by the Law #2681-ZPO of March 4, 2015 On Amending the Law of Penza Oblast "On the Borders of the Municipal Formations of Penza Oblast". Effective as of after 10 days from the official publication.).