RIGA: HIPSTER CAPITAL OF EUROPE
In Riga, everything is “in trend” - after all, it is the hipster capital of Europe Text: Diana Chernichenko Riga resident Katya Kovalenko points to the squat red brick buildings…

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PRAGUE: WALK IN THE CITY OF STA TOWERS
For every real Prague citizen, the most tender month of spring begins with these lines from the poem “May” by Karel Hynek Makhi: It was a late evening - young…

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FEEL GAMBIA!
A colorful crowd of people at the airport of Banjul, the capital of the Gambia, makes noise, dances, waves, flows around foreigners standing in line for passport control, smelling spirits…

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TRIP TO STROGANOVA PLACES AND PERM REGION

The Perm land knows how to surprise anyone: the Kungur ice cave, the rocky cliffs above Kama and Chusovaya, the Permian gods and animal style, the Permian fossils. But there is also a second layer of attractions, to which the tourist rarely gets, but in vain. Local history museums and the inconspicuous wooden mansions of small towns and villages keep evidence of the life of the Stroganovs — an outstanding dynasty that for four centuries influenced the economy, politics, and culture of Russia like no other kind. This is not a family, this is a state in a state. You can get into it now – for this you need to fly to Perm and drive 200 kilometers to the north.

The high bank of the Kama, overgrown with chamomile and willow tea, a few hundred little houses, the ruins of the Nikolskaya church – the small village of Pyskor of the Usolsky district rarely falls into guidebooks, but you should start your trip to the Stroganov lands from here. A modest stele with figures of 1558 marks not only the date of the founding of the village, but also the beginning of the Ural activities of the Stroganovs, who laid here the first capital of their possessions, then called Kamkor.

At the same time, the Transfiguration Monastery was founded, of which only that church of Nikola on the Hill and the abandoned system of underground passages now remain. Anika Stroganov, who is often called the founder of the clan, went to this monastery at the end of his life. Earlier representatives of the family are also known, but it was Anika Fedorovich, a person of unusually strong disposition and an extraordinary entrepreneurial talent, laid the foundation for the future wealth and fame of the family. He not only significantly expanded the salt industry, inherited from his father, but also actively engaged in trade, including fur, which was the main currency in nature of the era.

This trade led him from his native Novgorod region to the east, to the shores of the Kama, on the border of the Russian lands, where his family received extensive possessions from Ivan the Terrible — for his services, for the development and for the protection of the frontiers. The descendants of Anika Fedorovich built a real empire in the Urals: first, salt and fur, then metallurgical. By the way, it was in Pyskor that the beginning of the Russian non-ferrous metallurgy was laid – here in 1634 the first copper smelter in the country appeared. Now only a few dams are left on the river Upper Pyskorka.

The next route point is located 20 km downstream of the Kama River, on its right bank. Oryol-town is the second Ural capital of the Stroganovs: here, closer to the salt mines, the inhabitants and the squad of Kamkor were resettled in 1570. The modern Eagle is a modest village, moreover, transferred in 1715 to its present place from another – showered – river bank, but worth a visit.

It is from these places that Ermak’s squad set off to conquer Siberia. The Volga Cossacks, headed by the ataman, initially came to the Urals at the invitation of the very Stroganovs, on whom Ivan the Terrible was counting on in the struggle against the West Siberian Tatars. Even the Stroganovs themselves, they were embarrassed – they constantly attacked the salt-works of the fortress and interfered with the furs. Equipped with the Stroganovs squad Ermak defeated Khan Kuchum and opened the way to the east – so, thanks in large part to the Stroganovs, the Urals from the Russian border became its middle.

In honor of this campaign in Orel there is a monument. But it is necessary to examine not him, but the Church of Praise to the Virgin of 1735, built by the diligence of the Stroganovs. Very unexpectedly, an excellent example of Moscow baroque with two iconostases in the warm and cold parts of the church looks in the Ural province, the latter being made in the technique of the masters of the Moscow Kremlin Armory. There are no more in the whole of the Kama region.

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VENICE WINTER
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