Pyana River
Pyana is a river in Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
Nizhny Novgorod Oblast is a federal subject of Russia . Its administrative center is the city of Nizhny Novgorod. Population: The oblast is crossed by the Volga River. Apart from Nizhny Novgorod's metropolitan area, the biggest city is Arzamas...

 and the Republic of Mordovia
The Republic of Mordovia , also known as Mordvinia, is a federal subject of Russia . Its capital is the city of Saransk. Population: -Geography:The republic is located in the eastern part of the East European Plain of Russia...

, Russia
Russia or , officially known as both Russia and the Russian Federation , is a country in northern Eurasia. It is a federal semi-presidential republic, comprising 83 federal subjects...

. It is a tributary of the Sura River
Sura River
Sura is a river in Russia, a right tributary of the Volga River. It flows through Penza Oblast, Mordovia, Ulyanovsk Oblast, Chuvashia and Nizhny Novgorod Oblast. Its length is 841 km, it is navigable for 394 km from the mouth....


History and etymology

Pyana translates from Russian into drunken. The original name of the river was likely Piana, and, like many other old Russian geographical names, might be of Finnish origin (pien meaning small). The most likely reason for the transformation of Piana to Pyana was the Battle on Pyana River
Battle on Pyana River
The Battle on Pyana River took place on August 2, 1377 between the Blue Horde Khan Arapsha and joint Russian troops under Knyaz Ivan Dmitriyevich, made up of the Pereyaslavl, Yaroslavl, Yuryev, Nizhny Novgorod and Murom warlords....

. The battle was fought on 2 August 1377 between the Blue Horde Khan
Khan (title)
Khan is an originally Altaic and subsequently Central Asian title for a sovereign or military ruler, widely used by medieval nomadic Turko-Mongol tribes living to the north of China. 'Khan' is also seen as a title in the Xianbei confederation for their chief between 283 and 289...

 Arapsha (Arab-Shah Muzaffar) and joint Russian troops under Knyaz
Kniaz, knyaz or knez is a Slavic title found in most Slavic languages, denoting a royal nobility rank. It is usually translated into English as either Prince or less commonly as Duke....

 Ivan Dmitriyevich. Awaiting the battle, the Russian Army lost discipline with drunkenness being a norm. They were unexpectedly attacked from all sides and crushed by the Mongols, forcing retreat to and across the Pyana. Many soldiers, and the Knyaz himself, drowned while crossing it. This explanation is further supported by the original text of the chronicles of the battle, where the writer first calls the river Piana, then notes the ironical similarity of the words piana and pyana (in a sense of drunkenness) and further uses Pyana as the river name.

Geography and hydrology

The river is 436 km long; it freezes around November and thaws in April. The average discharge 65 km from its mouth is 25 m³/s and it can vary between 10 and 1,500 m³/s. River banks contain numerous karst
Kilometer-square Area Radio Synthesis Telescope is a Chinese telescope project to which FAST is a forerunner. KARST is a set of large spherical reflectors on karst landforms, which are bowlshaped limestone sinkholes named after the Kras region in Slovenia and Northern Italy. It will consist of...

 caves. Pyana is remarkable by its shape: it runs to the north-west and then turns 180° south-east making a nearly closed loop (see map) before turning north and merging with the Sura.

Human activities

The towns of Perevoz
Perevoz, Nizhny Novgorod Oblast
Perevoz is a town and the administrative center of Perevozsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Pyana River, southeast of Nizhny Novgorod. Population: Town status was granted to it in 2000....

 and Sergach
Sergach is a town and the administrative center of Sergachsky District of Nizhny Novgorod Oblast, Russia, located on the Pyana River , southeast of Nizhny Novgorod. Population:...

 are located on the Pyana. The river is navigable in its lower reaches. On the river banks there is Ichalkovsky Natural Reserve of 936 ha area which is protected by the state since 1963. There is a hydroelectric station
Hydroelectricity is the term referring to electricity generated by hydropower; the production of electrical power through the use of the gravitational force of falling or flowing water. It is the most widely used form of renewable energy...

near the village of Ichalkovo with the annual production of 600 MW. Its construction was started after World War II, but completed only in the 1990s.
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