Click for more information about Udmurtia
2009 Sep by Jorge Sanchez
The visit to some places of the Republic of Udmurtia was a pleasant surprise during my 3 months journey in Russia during the summer of 2009.|
Udmurtia has a population of over one and a half millions souls. After the Russians, the main ethnic group is the Udmurt, who speaks a language belonging to the Permic group of the Uralic languages.
One of the particularities of the Udmurt is that a great proportion of them are red-haired.
The first place where I travelled in that republic was Votkinsk, a very pleasant town by the shores of a lake, which in fact was the water reservoir of a dam.
In the central square there is an orthodox cathedral, being reconstructed from its demolition by the communists, and just in front there is a missile Scud-A, like a monument. It is the entrance to a famous missile factory. Until the Perestroika, Votkinsk was a forbidden city.
But the most interesting of that town was the house (today museum) where Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovski was born, in the year 1840, and where he lived until he was 8 years old.
I paid a ticket and visited the two floors of the house, and I saw the piano that Tchaikovski played when he was 4 years old, many personal effects of his family, old pictures, etc. On the second floor there were represented in toys many of his compositions, such as Swan Lake, The Nutcracker, Marche Slave, and a long etcetera.
In front of the house, by the lake, there was a metallic statue of Tchaikovski in a serious and meditative pose.
One day later I headed by bus to the capital of Udmurtia, the town of Izhevsk, another closed city in the soviet times.
The reason was the weapons factory that it shelters.
It was a hilly town, on the River Izh, and very pleasant.
After visiting the usual, I mean, the central market, cathedral and street Lenin, I entered a most unusual museum devoted to Mister Mikhail Timofeyevich Kalashnikov, the designer of the assault rifle AK-47 Kalashnikov.
Mister Kalashnikov is still alive (at least in September 2009) in lives in Izhevsk.
Although I am a pacifist person, I enjoyed that didactic museum. In one of the floors a man offered to teach you to assemble and disassemble a Kalashnikov rifle for a few rubbles.
Mister Kalashnikov seems to be a wonderful person. He recently declared:
I'm proud of my invention, but I'm sad that it is used by terrorists".
And: "I would prefer to have invented a machine that people could use and that would help farmers with their work - for example a lawnmower".
After the Republic of Udmurtia I travelled by train to the Republic of Marii El.
2008 Sep by Veikko Huhtala*
It took 30 hours by train from Moscow to Sarapul. Sarapul is located 65 km south of the Izhevsk, capital city of Udmurtia. There are living about 100,000 citizens. We stayed there two nights. This is not normal for us, but sometimes it is nice to see something as well. Before Udmurtia we already stayed two days in Komi Republic. After Sarapul our destination was Tatarstan and then Mari El. Usually we will visit to many locations during our journey, because it is much cheaper this way.