Mordovia is a region in the Middle Volga, bordering Ryazan Oblast to the west, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast to the north, Chuvashia to the east, Ulyanovsk Oblast to the southeast, and Penza Oblast to the south.
Mordovia is named for its native Finno-Ugric minority, the Mordvin people. The Mordvin see themselves as two distinct nationalities, the Moksha and the Erzya, based on their related but distinct languages. The Moksha live primarily in the west of the republic; the Erzya in the north and northeast. Ethnic Russians, however, comprise the majority of Mordovia's population.
Mordovia is mostly flat, heavily forested, and dotted with lakes. The main rivers cutting through the region are the Sura and the Moksha.
Trains arrive to Saransk from Moscow (through Ryazan), Ulyanovsk, Penza, Nizhny Novgorod, Kanash, and Ulyanovsk. The overnight train from Moscow departs daily in the evening and arrives in Saransk around 8:00am.