Arzamas is situated in 130 km from Dzerzhinsk. Arzamas was founded in 1578. According to the legend the name of the town was formed from the names of two mordovian brothers Arzaya and Masaya, who met Ivan Grozny with gifts when he was going to Kazan with his army. Ivan Grozny ordered the mordovians to become christians and founded the first men’s Orthodox monastery there which had to baptize the mordovians.
The history of the town started in 1552, when tzar Ivan Grozny ordered to found a military fortress in the place of the ancient Erzya capital. Arzamasky fortress played a great role in the protection of the south-eastern borderlines of Russian state. That role of the town in the history of Russia is reflected on the emblem of the town. There are two coloured rafters (red and green) on a golden background which face each other with their sharp ends – it means fighting. The winner is on the top. The colours of the rafters mean – red colour Moscow, green colour – the defeated side.
Arzamas was a large trading centre many years ago. Products of animal husbandry and agriculture were sold there. Different crafts were developed in the town, such as: leather, felt, blacksmithing, furrier and saddlery. The most popular and valuable was leather handled by Arzamassky craftsmen which was sold even in England and France. In the 17th century the town became an important transit link which connected Moscow and the south-eastern regions of the country.
The 18th century was considered to be the “Golden century” for the town. By 1856 thirty five churches, one hundred eighty six shops and one thousand three hundred houses had been built in Arzamas. In the middle of the 19th century the development of the town became a bit slow because the railroad was built aside from the town and the trading routes were changed.
Twenty thousand citizens of the town defended their Motherland during the Great Patriotic War. Lots of them died, others were rewarded with medals and awards. Arzamas was of great interest to the Germans because it opened the road to Siberia.
Nowadays Arzamas is a highly developed industrial centre of Nizhegorodsky region. Automobiles and spare details for them, equipment for light industry, medical equipment and ferroconcrete products are produced here. Food industry is also highly developed in the town.
There are two universities, art school after Stupin, a lot of museums, monuments, churches and monasteries in Arzamas which can be of great interest to the guests of the town.