Kirov Oblast is famous for its folk arts and crafts; this is where the Dymkovo toy was born, where matryoshka dolls are still carved and bast shoes sewn. Ancient pareiasaurs can be found in Kotelnich. There are many legends associated with Shaytan and Lezhninskoye lakes; people say that they are anomalous zones.
Kirov Oblast has more neighbors than any other Russian region, it has borders with nine federal subjects. This could be why, as well as Russians, the region is inhabited by Mari, Komi, Udmurt and Tartar people; there are temples fr om lots of different religions, traditional arts and crafts are preserved, and the different nationalities have festivals and celebrations.
There are more than 200 natural monuments in the oblast, several nature reserves and national parks. Visitors are attracted by the mysterious Shaytan Lake with its floating islands and beating fountains, the picturesque Pizhemsky nature reserve with the Chasovaya rock and Berestnyatsky waterfall, and the Sokol Mountain with one of the largest sites of prehistoric lizards – pareiasaurs. This species of pareiasaur, Deltavjatia vjatkensis, was even named after Vyatka. There is a unique Dinopark in Kotelnich, wh ere you can see huge full-scale dinosaur models.
Vyatka has its own architectural style, which is mainly reflected in the churches and is called Vyatka baroque. You can also see wonderful examples of wooden architecture, for example, the Church of Michael the Archangel from the early 18th century in the town of Slobodsk or Saviour's Church of St. Nicholas built in the early 18th century in the village of Nizhny Pochinok.
The bright, colorful clay toy from the town of Dymkovo, on the other side of the river from Vyatka, is famous around the world. In addition, visitors can take home with them a Vyatka Matryoshka, Kukarskoye lace and souvenirs made from bark and burl, etc. made in accordance with ancient technologies.
The region has many forests, which has obviously influenced local cooking which includes lots of mushrooms and berries. There is a wonderful mushroom soup and the restaurants serve moose meat delicacies. Different localities have their own specialities, for example, the Istobensk cucumber and the Sunsky Ryzhik.
Outdoor activities are popular in the region: kayaking, horse riding, skiing, skating, snowmobiles and cycling. But most of all, the people of Kirov Oblast love festivals. Large festivals are held here: Istobensky Cucumber, the Grinlandiya festival of bard songs, Fabulous Games in Vyatka, Vyatsky Lapot, Romantic Days in Vyatka and The Russian Festival of Kvas.