The Republic of Mari El is located in the eastern part of European Russia between the Kirov and Nizhny Novgorod Regions and the Republics of Tatarstan and Chuvashia. Around 40% of the population of the Republic are Mari, an ethnic group who traditionally speak Mari, a language of the Uralic branch of languages. The capital of the republic is Mari El which can boast Russia’s newest kremlin and lots of new and unusual monuments
The republic has many interesting sights such as the city of Kozmodemiansk which is believed to have served as the prototype of Vasyuki in the famous novel by Ilf and Petrov ‘Twelve Chairs’. Close to the city is an open-air ethnographical museum with traditional Mari buildings. In the town of Yurino there is a 19th century mock-mediaeval castle which was built by Count Sheremtiev and today holds a museum.