The Kaluga Region occupies a territory of 29.8 thousand square kilometers; its population is a bit over 1 million people.
There are many rivers in the region, including the Oka River and its tributaries – the Zhizdra, Ugra, and Protva Rivers. The Kaluga Region has many places of exquisite beauty – a variety of landscapes, river bends, vast fields and meadows, villages with churches and monasteries artistically intermingled with the natural landscape. For the purpose of preserving the natural, historical, and cultural monuments, the national park Ugra stretching over the territory of five administrative districts has been founded in the region.
In ancient time, the territory of the Kaluga Region was inhabited by the Vyatich Slavs; the remains of their ancient settlements and towns have survived until present time.
The history of any land is the history of its people. The people of Kaluga have always been known for their patriotism, sincere love of and deep devotion to the Motherland. It is difficult to even imagine how it was possible that in 1238 a small group of courageous citizens of Kozelsk was too great a force for the Khan Batyi army to overcome. In 1480, it was in the Kaluga Region that the Great Standing on the Ugra River put an end to the 300-year Tatar Mongol Yoke. In 1812, Napoleon’s army retreat began in the Kaluga Region, and Napoleon lost his fame of unconquerable army commander. The battles of Tarutino and Maloyaroslavets decided the fate not only of Russia, but of the entire Europe. During World War II, the list of wartime heroes from Kaluga included Marshall of Victory G.K. Zhukov, 146 Heroes of the Soviet Union, and 15 Full Cavaliers of the Order of Glory.
Russia’s many outstanding persons have come from the Kaluga Region: a famous mathematician P.L. Chebyshev, an artist I.М. Pryanishnikov, an outstanding architect V.I. Bazhenov, Admiral D.N. Senyavin, the discoverer of Taimyr Peninsula V.V. Pronchischev, and his assistant and follower S.I. Chelyuskin.
The Kaluga Region is connected with the life and literary work of such famous Russian writers and poets as А.Е. Radischev, Е.R. Dashkova, А.S. Pushkin, М.I. Tsvetaeva, N.V. Gogol, I.S. Turgenev, L.N Tolstoy, А.P. Chekhov, F.М. Dostoyevsky, B.S. Okudzhava, as well as the scientists К.E. Tsiolkovsky and А.L. Chizhevsky.
In the first half of the 19th century, Optina Pustyn Monastery was the place where the Russians’ dreams of restoring spiritual eldership were realized. The elders of the famous monastery were visited by Russia’s most outstanding thinkers, writers, philosophers, scientists, Grand Princes and members of their families.
The modern Kaluga Region is a well-developed industrial and agricultural part of Central Russia. The key industries include engineering manufacture, automobile industry, timber processing industry, textile industry and construction materials production; artistic crafts are also well developed in the region.