Chernozem is the exceptionally fertile "Black Earth" belt in European Russia along the border with Ukraine, famous for its rich, deep, black soil. Its cities are best known to the English-speaking world for the vital importance they played as the principal battleground around the turning point of World War II, home to the massive tank battle of Kursk. Despite its enormous importance throughout Russian history, and its central location in the heart of European Russia, there is relatively little to sightsee, as most of the region's architectural heritage was destroyed during the war. Consequently, this is an off-the-beaten path destination in Russia, for independent travelers looking to travel deep into the "real" Russia.



  • Belgorod
  • Bryansk
  • Kursk
  • Lipetsk - an industrial city with one of the largest metallurgy plants in Russia. Also known for its fine mineral waters.
  • Oryol
  • Stary Oskol
  • Tambov
  • Voronezh
  • Yelets — one of the region's oldest cities, sacked at least once by just about every invading force in Russian history, but still home to at least one beautiful cathedral

Other destinationsEdit

  • Belye Berega - an important partisan war location during World War II in Bryansk Oblast, home to a large Partisan Movement museum
  • Divnogorye - a rocky lowland area with breathtaking scenery, medieval cavate churches, ancient settlement remains, and a mineral water spring. To the south from Voronezh.
  • Ivanovka - the estate and museum of a world-known Russian composer and pianist Sergey Rakhmaninov in Tambov Oblast, south-east from Tambov.
  • Mikhailovsky iron open cut - a very impressive gigantic open-air site, where iron ore has been mined, near Zheleznogorsk town of Kursk Oblast
  • Orlovskoye Polesye National Park
  • Prokhorovka - the epicenter of The Battle of Kursk (1943), the largest tank battle in the world history.
  • Spasskoe-Lutovinovo - the estate and museum of Ivan Turgenev, a famous Russian writer of 19th century. Located in Oryol Oblast, near Mtsensk.
  • Tsentralno-Chernozemny Biosphere Reserve
  • Voronezh Biosphere Reserve



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Last modified on 6 July 2014, at 18:29