A Central Government Of Russia, bordering on the governments of Kaluga, Tula, Tambov, Voronezh, Kursk, Tchernigov, and Smolensk; area, 18,034 sq. m.; pop. in 1867, 1,578,013. The surface is level. The principal rivers are the Desna, a tributary of the Dnieper; the Oka, which runs through the middle of the government toward the Volga; and the Sosna, in the east, which flows to the Don. Limestone, sandstone, and alabaster are abundant, and iron ore is found. The climate is mild and healthy; grain, hemp, flax, and tobacco are raised. About one third of the surface is covered with forests. Beet sugar and coarse linen and woollen cloths are manufactured.
A City, capital of the government, on the Oka, 200 m. S. S. W. of Moscow, with which it is connected by railway; pop. in 1867, 43,575. There is a large trade in hemp, grain, tallow, and cattle. During harvest about 10,000 loaded carts arrive daily. The cathedral, founded in 1794, was not consecrated till 1801; there arc eight other national churches, besides chapels for Protestants and Catholics. Orel, founded about 1505 on the banks of the Orlik, above its junction with the Oka, by Ivan the Terrible, was removed in 1079 to its present site in consequence of a great fire. There were also conflagrations in 1848 and 1858.