RYAZAN, a town of Russia, capital of the government of the same name, 124 m. by rail S.E. of Moscow, on the elevated right bank of the Trubezh, a mile above its confidence with the Oka. Pop. (1897) 44,552. A wide prairie dotted with large villages, the bottom of a former lake, spreads out from the base of the crag on which Ryazan stands, and actually has the aspect of an immense lake when it is inundated in the spring. Ryazan is the see of an archbishop of the Orthodox Greek Church; The cathedral, first built in the 17th century, was reconstructed in 1776. The Krestovozdvizhensk church contains tombs of the princes of the 15th and 16th centuries.
The capital of Ryazan principality was Ryazan—now Old Ryazan, a village closel to Spask, also on the Oka. It is mentioned in annals as early as 1097, but continued to be the chief town of the principality only until the 14th century. In the 11th century one of the Kiev princes founded, on the banks of a small lake, a fort which received the name of Pereyaslav-Ryazanskiy. In 1294 (or in 1335) the bishop of Murom, compelled to leave his own town, settled in Pereyaslav-Ryazanskiy. The princes of Ryazan followed his example, and by and by completely abandoned the old republican town of Ryazan. In 1300 a congress of Russian princes was held there, and in the following year the town was taken by the Moscow prince. It continued, however, to be the residence of the Ryazan princes until 1517. In 1365 and 1377 it was plundered and burned by the Tatars, but in 1460, 1513, 1521 and 1564 it was strong enough to repel them. Earthen walls with towers were erected after 1301; and in the 17th century a kreml or citadel still stood on the high crag above the Trubezh.