Ryazan (Russian: Рязань; IPA: [rʲɪˈzanʲ] ( listen)) is a city and the administrative center of Ryazan Oblast, Russia, located on the Oka River 196 kilometers (122 mi) southeast of Moscow. Population: 524,927 (2010 Census); 521,560 (2002 Census); 514,638 (1989 Census).
It is argued that the Ryazan kremlin was founded in 800, by Slavic settlers, as a part of their drive into territory previously populated by Finnic peoples. Initially it was built of wood, gradually replaced by masonry. The oldest preserved part of the kremlin dates back to the 12th century.
However, the first written mention of the city, under the name of Pereslavl, dates to 1095. At that time the city was part of the independent Principality of Ryazan, which had existed since 1078 and which was centered on the old city of Ryazan. The first ruler of Ryazan was supposedly Yaroslav Sviatoslavich, Prince of Ryazan and Murom (cities of Kievan Rus’).
The lands of Ryazan, situated on the border of forest and steppe, suffered numerous invasions from the south as well as from the north, carried out by a variety of military forces including Cumans, but particularly the Principality was in a conflict with Vladimir-Suzdal. By the end of the 12th century, the capital of Duchy was burnt several times by the armies of Suzdal. Ryazan was the first Russian city to be sacked by the Mongol horde of Batu Khan. On December 21, 1237, it was thoroughly devastated and never fully recovered. As result of the sack, the seat of the principality was moved about 55 kilometers (34 mi) to the town of Pereslavl-Ryazansky, which subsequently took the name of the destroyed capital. The site of the old capital now carries the name of Staraya Ryazan (Old Ryazan), close to Spassk-Ryazansky.
In 1380, during the Battle of Kulikovo, the Grand Prince of Ryazan Oleg and his men came under a coalition of Mamai, a strongman of the Tatar Golden Horde, and the Grand Duke of Lithuania, against the armies under the command of the Grand Prince of Vladimir, Dmitry Donskoy.
Late in the 13th century, the Princes of Ryazan moved their capital to Pereslavl, which is known as Ryazan from the 16th century (officially renamed in 1778). The principality was finally incorporated into that of Moscow in 1521.
In September 1999, Ryazan was one of the cities involved in the Russian apartment bombings episode, though did not actually experience a successful bomb attack.