The destruction of Ryazan in the 13th centuries produced one of Russia’s few epics, but the city was rebuilt and boasts a number of historic monuments. Among the ancient cities of the Russian heartland, few have endured a more turbulent history than Ryazan. Already an important town in the 11th century, Ryazan was completely devastated by the Mongols in 1237 and eventually revived at another location nearby. Today, Ryazan is a growing city with a population of over half a million, conveniently located 110 miles to the south of Moscow. Among its several distinctions, Ryazan serves as a major administrative center of the Russian Orthodox Church. Indeed, the Ryazan kremlin has one of the most imposing cathedrals in all Russia.