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Earth : Europe : Russia : Chernozemye
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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 - Capital Chernozemya, the largest city in the Chernozemye, financial, educational center
  • 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

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