The history of the workers’ settlement Tonshaevo on the banks of the Pizhma river dates back to old times when this place was the ancient Mari administrative center, in which all essential matters of the people were settled. At that time, it was called Tun’sho. However, pronounced in the Russian way, it turned into Tonshaevo.
The territory of the district contains unique historical, cultural and landscape monuments — the sacred Mari groves. The Tonshaevo land includes 12 such sacred groves, three of which have a generic meaning, i.e. they are sanctuary. Today, the sacred Mari groves are the precious source of new knowledge about a human being and the environment.
To order to restore and maintain the environmental balance and to protect rare species of plants and animals, the Pizhma reserve was established in the Tonshaevo district in 1998.
In addition to its natural monuments, Tonshaevo has 2 cultural and historical monuments — the architectural ensembles of the Nikolskaya church in Tonshaevo village built in 1807 and the Archangel Michael Church in Oshminskoe village built in 1853. Besides these two churches, of interest is the Chapel of the Bogoroditse-Rozhdestvenskaya Church in Pismener built in 1875 in Bolshiye Ashkaty, at the place where allegedly the Icon of St. Nicholas appeared many times. Since then, a sacred procession from Tonshaevo has been held there every year.
In order to immerse deeper into the culture and history of the Tonshaevo district, one can visit the Inter-Settlement Museum of Local Lore. All exhibits convey the spirit of their time. The Museum also founded the Association of Masters of Arts and Crafts. To study the history and to revive and maintain traditional crafts and trades of the area, the “Folk Crafts School” was opened on the base of the Museum. It also organizes creative meetings with masters, personal exhibitions, and master classes on ancient crafts, such as embroidery, woodcarving, lapty and basket weaving, looming, as well as making folk toys, Russian and Mari amulets.