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Penza (Пе́нза) is a city in Russia, administrative center of Penza Oblast in the Volga Federal District. It stands on the Sura River, 709 km south-east of Moscow.

Penza was founded in 1663 as a frontier outpost on the then southeastern border of Russia.

Its population (census 2002) is 518,200.

The city of Penza bears the name of the river that it was originally built upon. As it was originally a frontier city, many of the early houses were wooden and emerged without any central plan. The first stone houses were built from 1801 to 1928.

Currently, the city of Penza is seen as a regional center for higher education. It has five universities (The State Technical University, The Pedagogic University, The Academy of Agriculture, The Technology Institute and the Institute of Civil Building), 13 colleges and 70 public schools. Besides this, Penza is home to three theatres, four museaums, and three art galleries.

Penza rare among cities in its region geographically because of its rolling hills and dense surrounding forests.