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Local Miracle: 7 Amazing Cities to Visit in Russia
October 25, 2020 22:37


The forecast for the 20s of the XXI century looks like a return to local places of power. Lee Edelcourt, one of the world's leading trend hunters of our time, says that folklore will become the main trend - as a reflection of identity and a field for modern interpretations. Sociologist and professor at the University of Bordeaux Razmig Kesheyan advocates a withdrawal from the culture of consumerism. In his book False Needs, he says that in an era of environmental and climate crisis, the imperative imposed by capitalism to fly on vacation to other countries will give way to studying their own culture and geography (which is also more environmentally friendly - less carbon footprint).

7 Amazing Cities to Visit in Russia

Arkhangelsk Region: Architecture of the Russian North and Pomor Cuisine

Malye Korely is the largest museum of wooden architecture and folk crafts in Russia. Wooden huts, churches, furniture, dishes, painted strands that tell the stories of whole families, and other details of the life of the Pomors were collected from all over the Arkhangelsk region. It is worth getting here by car, in order to call on the way to the cities of Velsk (the Povazhya Museum of House Paintings), Kargopol (white-stone architecture and the famous toy) and visit the karst caves in Pinega. And, of course, try the preserved traditions of the Pomor cuisine, based on fish (salmon, cod, herring), venison and a variety of drinks, the main of which is kezh (northern jelly).

The outskirts of St. Petersburg: wooden dachas in Sestroretsk and Repin's estate

The endless beauty of carved Art Nouveau of the beginning of the last century in varying degrees of preservation, a long beach line along the Gulf of Finland and the possibility of leisurely walks are the main reason for a trip to the Kurortny District of the Leningrad Region. Dachas on the shores of the Gulf of Finland were built by both aristocrats and petty bourgeois (there was a railway and a popular sanatorium in Sestroretsk) - even then it was considered healthy and even fashionable to relax outside the city. After lunch, you should go to Komarovo to the Ilya Repin's estate museum. After the revolution, the artist unwittingly turned out to be an emigrant, the territories where his Penates were located were ceded to Finland, but Repin was in no hurry to return, even though Voroshilov himself made an invitation to him. The guests in this house were Chaliapin, Mendeleev, Bunin, Kuprin, Mayakovsky, Yesenin and Chukovsky. The museum keeps the furnishings and some of Repin's works.

Baltic Coast: Blue Flag Beach in Yantarny and Art Nouveau in Zelenogradsk

The Blue Flag is an international award given to beaches and marinas where water and coastline are safe for swimming and meet high quality standards. The only one (14 in total in Russia), which is not in Sochi, is located in the small village of Yantarnoye on the shores of the Baltic Sea. There is also the world's largest amber quarry and all the accompanying attributes: a museum, a combine, mines and souvenirs. German architecture has survived, but it is better to see it in Zelenogradsk, the former resort of the Prussian monarchs. You should look for good restaurants of Baltic cuisine closer to the Skovorodka beach.

Ivanovo region: Russian slow-travel to Ples, Kineshma and Yuryevets

Today Ples is loved by government officials and tourists who buy cruises on motor ships. On the embankment you will see the Levitan Museum. The main local street food is smoked bream. There is a fairly large number of decent restaurants in the downtown and quarters of restored wooden houses. Two other cities in the region are culturally richer, but not so spoiled by money and the names of visitors. You will enjoy the views from the river to the marinas, shopping arcades and churches that are still postcard-like, so the regional government's ambition to include the cities in the tourist routes of the Golden Ring seems fully justified.

Tver Region: Wooden Art Nouveau in the Former Shoe Capital

Kimry is not only a city with a strange name, but also a whole collection of houses in the wooden Art Nouveau style. Today you have to use your imagination to believe that at the turn of the 19th and 20th centuries, the city (then the village) was one of the centers of shoe production. Imitating the tendencies of Art Nouveau, popular at that time, merchants and wealthy shoe makers asked to decorate their homes with carvings, windows and roofs of unusual shapes. 

Kostroma region: carved tower in Astashovo and surroundings

The story of how a married couple has been restoring a tower in a remote Kostroma forest for 10 years has been observed mainly on Facebook. Today a bearable road has appeared in Astashov, and Olga Golovicher and Andrei Pavlichenkov opened the doors of the Astashovo tower for guests. The Museum of Peasant Life, own cuisine and walks in the neighborhood (abandoned churches, outgoing villages with several residents and river rafting) - an experience of immersion in Russia, which is as fabulous as the history of the place. The farmer-migrant worker Martian Sozontov, who built the tower, was inspired by the works of the architect Ropet and the rich houses of St. Petersburg. On the way to the tower there are the ancient cities of Galich and Soligalich, where, in addition to the carved Russian architecture, there are shopping arcades and a felt factory, that you can visit with an excursion.

Karelia: Finnish functionalism, marble quarry and rye wickets

Sortavala is a city in Karelia, which has been chosen by instagram tourists in recent years. The quarters of well-preserved wooden houses of the early 20th century, many buildings in the style of Finnish functionalism (a style close to Bauhaus and Constructivism), as well as buildings related to Northern Art Nouveau, Finnish National Romanticism and pseudo-Gothic, are best viewed with guides in order to learn the history of the transition of territories from Tsarist Russia to Finland and the Soviets. Try a boat trip through the flooded marble quarries in the Ruskeala mountain park. Marble has been mined here since the time of Catherine II, this breed was used in the decoration of the Kazan and St. Isaac's cathedrals, the Engineer's castle, the Winter and Marble palaces. Among all this northern beauty, it is important not to miss the opportunity to try traditional “kalitki” (Karelian rye flour pies), Karelian trout and cloudberry jam.


Author: Anna Dorozhkina

Tags: Karelia Kostroma region Astashov Kineshma Sestroretsk 

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