"Last year alone, domestic tourism flows reached 56.5 million trips, while there were only 38 million trips abroad."
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
Russians have taken a keen interest in their heritage and vast homeland.
In the following clip (with transcript below) you get to see some examples of what Russians find the most interesting about their own country.
Indeed, tourism can become a promising area of economic growth for small towns because many of them are unique. According to Rosturizm, in recent years, domestic tourism in Russia has been growing steadily and is more popular than vacations abroad. Last year alone, domestic tourism flows reached 56.5 million trips, while there were only 38 million trips abroad.
Demand gave rise to supply. There are already a lot of reference books, compilations, and guides around Russia about all our tourist attractions. And this year, Rosturizm will launch a new project, the Internet portal "The Gastronomic Map of Russia." What are these innovations: Eco-, agro- and ethno-tourism?
Anton Lyadov went looking for hidden gems in the remote regions of Russia.
Adults on quad bikes and snowmobiles. Children on sleigh and donut tubes. Eco-tourism in Russia has long been popular. Over the past two years, it has grown by about 10%, but the potential is much greater. Every year, new national parks and other areas for ecotourism are opened in Russia.
Tatarstan. Half an hour drive from Kazan. The only amenities are a wooden hut, where tea is poured, and a zavalinka porch to relax after work. People come even on weekdays, children and adult alike. Alfiya says that she is "19 plus 40." She retired four years ago. Once, she fell off a horse and thought she’d never ride again. But she came to the farm and got back on the horse.
Alfiya Molyukova, tourist:
"It excites me. My life has become more colorful, more interesting. My joints began getting better. Therefore, I recommend those who have problems with joints to get on a horse and learn to ride as soon as possible."
They come to the farm not only to relax but also to work. For example, the horses must be given water for the first time at half past seven in the morning. Next, you need to feed the goats and sheep. For this, there are feeding troughs outside—oats are put in there. Horses eat up to several haystacks per day. Each of them weighs 400 kilograms. By the way, this same hay is used to warm the sled. There are no feather beds or blankets. Everything is made according to the old Russian tradition.
Oksana Fattakhova, tourist:
- There's fresh air and the time just flies. I mean, time just flies!
- Don't you want to sunbathe in Turkey?
- We've been there! It's better here.
The famous Tatar Kizylik is a complimentary treat. It’s a homemade dried sausage-like food. It attracts customers and provides for the farmer's family. Ali and his wife set up meat rooms in two small rooms. There are 5,000 pieces here at any one time. One such piece is sold for 650 rubles in the store.
Ali Suleymanov, farmer:
"We sell these products to chain stores, supermarkets, hypermarkets, and large restaurants. Although they say that there’s a crisis in the country, there are some sanctions, but I, for example, see only positive things in it. Consumption is on the rise. People call me from Finland, Poland, and Germany. Tatars called me from China."
"We're cheerful grandmothers. We like to sing and dance. We'll all sing some couplets for you."
In the village of Orlovo, located in the Arkhangelsk Region, Ustyansk grandmothers welcome each group of visitors with a loaf. The entrance ticket for a tourist costs 250 rubles. But full immersion in the local color is worth it. There’s a hut built according to the traditions of the northern peasant villages. They used to put moss between the logs so that the wind didn't get through.
"It's just wood. There used to be no such materials. There used to be no slate or roofing felt."
Here’s the smithy. You can also try the forge, where you need to try to hit a specific spot with a sledgehammer, as directed by the blacksmith.
"Here, where I hit." Then, you'll need to heat the samovar up with a boot so that it can send oxygen to the coals.
"Oxygen comes in, and the coal burns faster."
You'll also work with a two-handed saw and bring firewood to the sauna. The nearest towns are dozens of kilometers from here. However, people don’t go to shops here, absolutely everything that is on the table is made of their own products. Each grandmother has her own area of responsibility. Some prepare the elk meat, some the rabbit meat, and some the bear meat. Potatoes baked on top of cast iron are an absolute must. Mushrooms are salted according to old recipes.
"One, two, three. I put three such handfuls and then add salt."
They even make sweets from mushrooms.
"There's nothing to it, really, just use milk, flour, sugar, and dried mushrooms. The mushrooms are sweet and they have a very distinct flavor. I haven't met anyone that didn't like them."
National delicacies are a crucial element of Eco-and ethno-tours. In Tatarstan, these are the rice pie—the gubadya, and the triangles filled with meat—the uchpouchmack. It's believed that for the traditional Tatar triangles to be even and, most importantly, tasty, the cook must be in a good mood. They spend 30 minutes in the oven but keep you full all day.
In Saransk, these are Mordovian millet pancakes, which are two fingers thick. In Bashkiria, these are horse meat and horse bacon. By the way, due to the fact that its melting point is lower than body temperature, it’s considered less harmful, it doesn’t settle as plaques. The famous chak-chak is among the sweets here.
"Chak-chak means 'a little bit.' The dough is cut into small pieces. They used to cook it only for big celebrations."
It’s poured with honey to make the right shape. In Bashkiria, honey is still obtained from artificial hollows.
Rishat Galeyev, Bashkirskaya Medovnya CEO:
- We make a hollow in a tree, a so-called hive, and put bees there.
- Is it like Winnie-the-Pooh used to do?
- He got honey from wild hollows, and we get it from artificial ones. Such wild-hive beekeeping exists only in Bashkiria.
During the week after the Epiphany holiday, dipping into an ice hole is definitely a must for anyone traveling around the regions of Russia. Even in the republics, where about half of the population are Muslims, the Christian tradition is observed.
People from all over Russia come to the town of Krasnousolsk, the place where one of the most revered relics, the Tabynskaya icon of the Mother of God, is believed to have appeared for the first time. Traveling to holy places is another drive for domestic tourism. People come to the village of Buranovo, for example, where the world-famous Buranovskiye Babushki come from, to touch the ancient icon, which miraculously survived the Soviet years.
Galina Koneva, Udmurtia people's artist:
"The streets are full of cars, there are so many near the church, like in a big city."
This Eco-farm in Udmurtia accepts working tourists. For everyone who comes to work in the garden, for example, to harvest berries, apples or just to go fishing and then share some fish, free houses are provided. Inside, there’s a bed, a TV, and a samovar. Breakfast, lunch, and dinner are provided to every visitor free of charge.
Sergey Shumkov, farmer:
"Students or some other people can travel around the country with no money at all. The principle is this: people come and work in our gardens, for example, from morning to lunch or in the evening, not more than four hours, and get accommodation and food for it."
The necessary skills are taught right here, regardless of age. Third-graders are taught how to make sour cream from milk.
- Real steamed milk!
- Is it good? Is it different?
- How is it different?
- It's sweet.
- Is it?
- And fresh, too!
And they bake bread in a Russian stove and make dumplings. Danil is the most experienced one. He scolds his friends for unsuccessful samples.
"You don't know how to make them!"
Checking cowsheds is next on the agenda.
"Good job, good girl." They also feed calves and rabbits. Finally, they play outside and go on swings. After working hard, they still had the energy to push our cameraman on a swing.
"One, two, three!
One, two, three!".
This post first appeared on Russia Insider
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