Voronezh Oblast is the cradle of the Russian fleet; this is where Peter the Great ordered construction of warships for the Azov siege. Voronezh Oblast is full of wonderful places: paleolithic settlements in Kostyonki, Princess Oldenburg's Palace in Ramon, which, according to legend, contains a real ghost, the Divnogorye Nature Reserve on the chalk plateau where churches have been carved in caves.
Voronezh was founded in 1585 as a border fortress; but the development of the town and Oblast is associated with the name of the legendary Peter the Great—the last Tsar of Rus and the first Emperor of All Russia. In 1696, Peter the Great chose to build a shipyard in Voronezh for making warships to be used in the Azov campaign. Since that time, the city has retained its status as the cradle of Russian shipbuilding.
Voronezh is rightly considered to be a city of theaters. The city has seven working theaters; one of the oldest Russian theaters re-opened in the spring of 2012 after restoration and reconstruction—the Voronezh Koltsov Academic Drama Theater. The capital also has the only working musical theater in the Oblast, the Voronezh Theater of Opera and Ballet, the Volkhovsky Puppet Theater and the Chamber Theater, the youngest theater in the city.
Voronezh Oblast is also well-known around the world thanks to research carried out by Russian and foreign scientists that determined that the oldest human settlement from the time of the European migration can be found in this region. The Kostyonki museum-reserve can be found here, on the right bank of the Don River. However, the most wonderful place in Voronezh Oblast is the natural Dvingorye Architectural and Archaeological Museum-Reserve. It is situated on a plateau, whose surface is made up of chalk deposits, on the edge of the northern steppe; this place is named after the chalk columns—Divy. Chalk cave churches from the mid-17th century have been preserved in Bolshie and Malie Divy—the Church of the Sicilian Icon of the Mother of God and the Church of John the Baptist. According to legend, the building of these churches was begun by the Greek monks Xenophon and Joasaph who brought the Sicilian Icon of the Mother of God here. The museum-reserve contains Upper Paleolithic camps and archaeological artifacts from the Bronze Age, two centuries before the Common Era. Group and individual tours are provided for visitors.
The region also contains palace architecture, for example Princess Oldenburg's Palace in Ramon. Its history is closely associated with the Romanov family. In 1879, Emperor Alexander II gave the mansion as a wedding present to his niece Princess Eugenia Oldenburg. The palace's park was renovated for the 400th anniversary of Ramon in accordance with a design by French landscape architect Olivier Dame. The palace ensemble is situated among picturesque nature.
Count Orlov founded the Khrenovy Stud Farm in Bobrovsky District, where the world famous Orlov horse breed was raised. The complex of buildings is an architectural treasure of classicism. The oldest monastery in Russia can be found in the village of Kostomarovo in Podgorensky District. Its main attraction is the Cathedral of the Holy Saviour carved into the rocks.