Located in central Russia, Saransk is the capital of the Republic of Mordovia and the area where all Finno-Ugric nations began. It is one of the most pleasant cities in Russia, regularly scoring high in the All-Russia city competition in recent years. This relatively small city is actively promoting sports and has commenced construction of a new, state-of-the-art 40,000-seat football stadium. Founded in: 1641 Population: 339,400 Distance to Moscow: 650 km Mordovia’s athletes take part in more than 100 world, European and national competitions each year. Modern Mordovia carefully protects the unique languages and cultures of the Moksha and Erzya ethnic groups, who inhabited the area for centuries. They belong to the Finno-Ugrian group, along with the Hungarians, Finns, Estonians and others. Saransk is a frequent venue for ethnographic and folklore festivals aimed at preserving national identity, culture and customs.