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Tour “Trip to old-believers of Kaa-Khem river”

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2 000 €
2 000 €
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july - september 2020

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  • Off-beaten paths
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10 days
Date: july - september 2020

It’s probably difficult to find any other region where steppe, desert and mountainous tundra would come so close to each other. Just few hours drive across Tuva and steppe landscape is being replaced by pine forest, while windy bare semi-deserts are being replaced by rapid mountainous rivers. Upper part of Kaa-Khem is a real oasis of South Siberia. Air is so tasty, that you feel like drinking it.
In this taiga region since last few centuries, you can find unique people – so called “old believers”. Old-believers are Orthodox Christians, who disagreed with church reform in 17th century and since then have been living in exile, preserving their culture and religion. You can meet them, to learn secret receipt of taiga pies baked without yeast, and even try to do “valenki” (traditional boots made of felt, one of the key symbols of traditional clothing in Russia).
Trip to Kaa-Khem is at least for a few day way to escape from everyday routine of city life, to feel freedom, to have a rest from hassle, to listen to your inner soul, to enjoy the nature and to see how Russia lived centuries ago. Plus Kaa-Khem is an excellent place for fishing and old-believers are expert in it.


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Program by day

Day 1

Transfer Krasnoyarsk – national reserve Ergaki. Rest in forest lodge made of cedar wood.

Day 2

Transfer to Kyzyl, capital of Tuva republic. Visit the National Museum where you can see the famous “Gold of Scythians”, which was discovered in 2001, and has changed idea about history of Scythians. Gold decorations were made more than 10 centuries ago and are still fascinating specimens with intricate patterns and astounding accuracy of work. Walk to the obelisk “Geographic center of Asia” at the point where the Big Yenisey and the Small Yenisey rivers merge. See the sculpture group “Tzar hunting” which won the prestigious award in Italy in 2013. Arrival in forest lodge in Sizym village.

Day 3

Introduction to the history, traditions, customs of old-believers of Sizym village. You will learn what is “sobor”, how old-believers find brides, how many scarves are supposed to be worn by married women and other interesting facts. Walk along the river Sizym. Russian sauna “banya” with taiga “venik” (branches of pine that are soaked in hot water and are used in banya for health). Traditional dinner with old-believers “kvas” (light alcoholic drink).

Day 4

Trip to neighboring old-believers village in Uzhep. You will see sunrise on the hill surrounded by taiga, will be welcomed by a family of old-believers; will try cranberry liquor and a traditional lunch. In wintertime, those who want an extra adventure can take a snowmobile ride (subject to availability, extra charge). Return to Sizym village. Russian banya.

Day 5

Take a picture of the beautiful sunrise before breakfast (for those who want only). Workshop on old-believers cuisine: under careful direction of experienced chef you will learn how to bake taiga pies, the secret of horseradish spicy sauce and how to prepare the yeast out of potato. Workshop on old-time craft – try your hand at weaving warm home mats. For those who love fishing: in winter time you can experience the workshop and have the opportunity to go ice-fishing (subject to weather), in summer – you can take a speed boat ride up along Yenisey river through rapids and fishing in quiet back-waters. In the afternoon, you will have horse riding around picturesque environs. In the evening, we will hear tales from the master of herbs about taiga herb and herbal medicine. You will learn how to differentiate herbal teas and to make prepare your own herbal tea. In the evening have herbal sauna (for those who want to try it out).

Day 6

Walk to Erzhey village, and an introduction to traditions of manual therapists. You will learn what are the therapy techniques used by old-believers and will learn why hunters and fishermen need manual therapy. For those who want to try something new, a manual therapist can do diagnostic check-up. (subject to time availability, extra charge). Workshop on making “valenki” (traditional boots made of felt). In winter, there is an option to ride a snowmobile (order in advance, extra cost). Experience a sunset walk to the Mountain of Love, which gives magnificent view on old-believers village. Russian banya and farewell dinner with old-believers “cognac”.

Day 7

Transfer Sizym – Kyzyl. In Kyzyl we will visit central market and will taste traditional milk delicacies of Tuva, such as unsalted cheese “byshtak”, dry cottage cheese “kurut” and even milk vodka “araka”. Transfer to national reserve Ergaki.

Day 8

Arrival in the village of artisans Petropavlovka. Immerse yourself in the creative approach of the villagers, which you can feel in practically everything – from music, through construction of houses, to art and crafts. Guests can choose workshop: - cane-weaving - blacksmithing (in 40 minutes you will be able to forge your own axe!) - manufacturing of musical instruments - cloth weathering Overnight in homestay.

Day 9

Transfer to Estate “Okolitsa”, and a traditional Russian welcoming. The so-called “Samovarnya” (from “samovar”, traditional Russian coal kettle) will charm you with little museum of household appliances of 19th-20th centuries, as well as seeing functioning “samovars” and traditional pancakes. Upon request, it is possible to go fishing. In the evening Russian “banya” will wait for guests.

Day 10

Transfer to Krasnoyarsk. End of the tour.
We reserve the right to adjust and change routes. We make individual tours at the request of tourists.
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