Urlyapovo natural boundary

People have been living in Urlyapovo natural boundary since the times of late Stone Age and, probably, it was the place where the capital of west Mordvinians was based. Time here flies differently because of the higher gravity force. For a long time it had been considered that only Tambov and Kozlov parts of the rampart remained well-preserved and Urlyapov rampart was thought of as of a lost one. 

According to one of the theories, this place was named so after Mordvinian gangster Urlyap or Urlap. He is often mentioned in Tambov epos. It is believed that the gangster lived and earned his keep in this boundary. There’s even a legend according to which Tambov Tsna River was called in honor of Urlyap’s daughter: her fiancé died and Tsna drowned herself in the river.    

During excavations various instruments of labour, tools and animal skeletons were found here. Evidently, our ancestors hunted a bear here and turtles could also be found here.

After that Mordvinians settled down here just like everywhere else in Tambov land. Onusa city was somewhere here where the Polnoy Voronezh river joins the Lesnoy Voronezh. Some historians believe that this place was possibly the administartive center of  western Mordvinians. Perhaps, it was even the capital. The Old Russian chronicles state that Batu Khan set Onusa on fire during his Ryazan campaign. His winter camp was at the outskirts of Onusa.    

Tsar Mikhail Fyodorovich knew about Urlyapovo natural boundary and even more than of Kozlovo boundary. His decree assigns this place to be the construction site for the future fortress, future Kozlov-Michurinsk. Similarly, Tambov was also planned to be built in the other place at first – where Kuzmina-Gat is now. But later the builders decided that strategically Kozlov hill is a more secure place while the fortifications against the Tatars were erected here. 

Fortunately, no acts of war affected Tambov – neither Napoleon’s war, nor World War I or World War II. But in the 17th century it was the center of the geopolitical events that locals don’t even know anything about.  

At this place the Polnoy Voronezh river demostrates all possible river biotopes – forms of habitat of living organisms. They include a sandbar, a ford, a reach and sloughs. There are wonderful springs here with pure water. There’s a plenty of various species of plants and animals including the red-listed ones. Otters, beavers, badgers, foxes, roe deer, deer and boars dwell here.             

The felled-tree forest that was used as an obstacle against the Tatars is still well-preserved in Urlyapovo boundary. Giant oak trees and black alder (the tree that can grow in water without rotting) grow here.   

There are nearly 100 species of steppe vegetation. For example, spring adonis or Adonis vernalis, wood anemone, Russian fritillary. But the real beauty is Russian almond.      

Urlyapovo natural boundary is a unique place where you can travel in time and see the plants of the 17th century and even the animals that inhabited this place in the 17th century, an amazing complex of insects and animals that are no longer traced in Tambov region.

Michurinsk district, Tambov region
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