Voronezh is a large city in southwestern Russia, not far from Ukraine. It is located either side of the Voronezh River, twelve kilometers away from where it flows into the Don.
Voronezh is the administrative center of Voronezh Region. It is an operating center of the Southeastern Railway (connecting European Russia with Ural and Siberia, as well as Caucasus and Ukraine), as well as the center of the Don Highway (Moscow - Rostov-on-Don).
Voronezh was founded in 1585, and in the 17th century one gradually evolved into a sizeable town, especially after Tsar Peter the Great built a dockyard in Voronezh, where the Azov Flotilla was constructed for the Azov campaigns in 1695 and 1696. This fleet, the first ever built in Russia, included the first Russian ship of the line, Goto Predestinatsia. During World War II, Voronezh was the scene of fierce fighting between Russian and combined Axis troops. It was used by the Germans as a staging area for the attack on Stalingrad, and a key Don River crossing point.
Many famous people were born and lived in Voronezh and the surrounding area. Among them are Nobel-prize winning physicists Nikolay Basov (known as inventor of laser) and Pavel Cherenkov; cosmonaut and eminent space engineer Konstantin Feoktistov (honorary citizen of Voronezh); poets and writers such as Ivan Bunin (Nobel-prize winner in literature), Andrei Platonov, Alexander Kuprin, Samuil Marshak, Alexei Koltsov, Ivan Nikitin, Gavriil Troepolsky; painters Ivan Kramskoi, Nikolai Ge.
Voronezh is one among the Russian largest industrial centers.
The Concordski, Tupolev Tu-144 (with cruise speed: 2,300 km/h) and the first rocket engines, which put into space "Vostok" spaceship with the world's first cosmonaut Yuri Gagarin on board, were built in Voronezh.
There are 37 higher education institutions and 53 colleges educate over 127 thousand students today.
The city has 20 nightclubs (discos, and a casino), more than 100 shopping malls, 5,000 citybuses, and an International Airport.
The history of Voronezh land settlement goes far back into the past. In the 19th century in Kostenky village (approx. 40 km far from Voronezh) archeologists found the site of the primitive (20 000 years old) and today is an archeological museum.
Another one archeological, historical, and arhitectural site, as well as a unique natural park is Divnogorie. This area was covered by water millions of years ago and here, far below the water surface, chalk deposited. When the sea went away, chalk came on the surface and its upcomings spread over the territory in a continuous line along the Don and the Tikhaya Sosna. More than 50 caves have been discovered on the territory of the Voronezh region. But there are caves that were mined by people for the religious purposes and those are of the biggest interest. On the territory of the village Divnogorie there are cave-churches of Sicilian Holy Mary, John the Baptist and Divnogorie Holy Assumtion monastery.
Another ancient cave monastery is on the river Don. Kostomarovo lands remind ancient Palestinian hills. There are even Gephsimanian garden, hill Favor, and Calvary. There are two churches in these caves: a big Spassky cathedral with columns and small small St.Seraphim Sarovski church. Historical relics and picturesque landscapes turned the monastery into one of the centers of Russian pilgrimage.
World famous horse breed Orlov trotter was raised in Khrenovoe Stud Farm which was founded 1776 by count Alexei Orlov-Chesmensky. Khrenovoe stud farm is known as a bithplace of a famous trotter breed. Every year horses bred in Khrenovoe win lots of prizes in competitions held in Russia.