Mordovia belongs to the densely populated territories of Russia. The settlement system in Mordovia was initially determined by the nature of the enclosing landscape, by the drawing of the river and transport network. The greatest density of settlements are meadow-steppe complexes with fertile chernozems, which are characterized by high agricultural development. The density of settlements in landscapes of broad-leaved and mixed forests is much less, where gray forest and podzolic soils prevail in the structure of the soil cover.

The characteristic features of radial-ring structures of settlement clearly begin to manifest themselves from the beginning of the construction of fortress towns on the zase lines in the 16th-17th centuries, which subsequently begin to carry out important socio-economic and political functions. Such a direction of development went Temnikov, Saransk, Insar and Krasnoslobodsk.

A significant increase in the number of settlements occurs in the late XIX - early XX century. in connection with the land reform. According to the 1926 census, there were 2,135 settlements in Mordovia. By the end of the 1930s. their number has increased to 2 542. At this time, numerous small settlements arise at the machine and tractor stations, in the timber industry enterprises, in the railway sidings. The average density of urban population in 1929 was 53 people / km2, rural - 51 people / km2.

Decrease in population in the second half of XX century. accompanied by a reduction in the number of rural settlements and their population. Particularly sharply decreased the number of very small (up to 100 people) populated areas.

The influence of socio-economic factors on the formation of the settlement system is clearly manifested in the increase in the density of settlements as they approach the regional centers.

Features of the cultural landscape of Mordovia are manifested in the location of the Mordvinian (Moksha and Erzya), Russian and Tatar populations. Mordovian settlements from the earliest periods of development have two fairly well-isolated main distribution areas, which are located in the east and west of the republic. The border between them runs almost along the watershed of Moksha and Sura. Mokshan settlements are mostly located in the Moksha Basin, and Erzyan - in the basin of Sura. Small areas of Erzyan settlements in western Mordovia.

The main regularities of the landscape orientation of the settlement can be formulated in the following positions: 1) the greatest density of the Mordovian population is typical for forest types of localities and meadow-steppe natural complexes of erosion-denudation plains; 2) Russian populated areas are fairly evenly distributed throughout the territory of Mordovia; 3) landscape orientation is most pronounced in Tatar settlements, which are located mainly in natural territorial complexes of meadow steppes; 4) the prevailing part of settlements with a mixed population has a riverine position.

Ethnic variations of cultural landscapes of populated areas combined with a variety of natural conditions give a lot of character to many areas of Mordovia. Especially in contrast, they become with the preservation of religious buildings: temples, chapels, mosques and other elements of the religious landscape.

Density of population (1864)


Density of population (1926)


Density of population (1989)