The history of Morshansk goes back to the distant 17th century when first records of the Mordvinian setttlement called Morsha started appearing. Later the Mordvinian population got mixed with Russian settlers and adopted Christianity. Since the late 17th century Morsha had been a large commercial village with a pier at the Tsna River. Every year crops, honey, fish, furs, tallow, cloth, paper, tobacco and other goods had been stransported via navigational routes from Morsha to other Russian cities. On September 16, 1779 Catherine II’s decree turned Morsha, as a center of crops trade, into Morshansk that became the chief district town.
Until the 1870s, Morshansk had been the largest commercial and industrial town of Tambov province. However, things changed when the construction of Ryazan-Kozlov railroad began. The significance of Morshansk as of a commercial and transit center reduced considerably. Instead, large industrial enterprises appeared. Some of them are still in use. It is Morshansk textile mills, tobacco factory and a depot.
During Great Patriotic War Morshansk rustic tobacco and cloth for overcoats gave soldiers a daily chance to survive. Almost every Soviet soldier, wrapping himself up in his overcoat and pulling at his cigarette before a battle, remembered the small town in the north of Tambov region.The town didn’t suffer much during the years of World War II that’s why its central part looks practically the same as 100-150 years ago. The town architecture is represented by the buildings of the 19th century richly decorated with columns, arches, porticos with half columns and carved platbands. The buildings were not built simply as residential houses and offices. The design of the buildings highlighted unbelievable wealth of their owners, their desire to make passers-by stop and admire the building unusual for a provincial town.