Elec has even 226 cultural monuments
Elec, one of oldest Russian towns with 226 cultural-historical monuments was listed into world cultural heritage of UNESCO.
This is the town, 400 km far from Moscow, where it seems that time has stopped in the time when Ivan Aleksejević Bunjin went to school there and write his first pieces, first Russian winner of Nobel price for literature. Factory of sugar, leather, factory of tobacco, distillery,- all these are building with hundred years old history. It is hard to find modern tourist infrastructure, the trains still didn’t arrive here. But every door knot, every house every street look just like they looked and the end of 19th century.
Elec is called “town with 33 churches”. Elec is divided into town district borders “freedom” (the name for settlement with free citizens from the time of serfdom). Elec is rich in cultural monuments compared to the area it is spread on. On little bit more than 65 square km is 226 objects of bug cultural significance, and 90 monuments of regional and federal importance. Its historical part apart from many monuments has extremely well preserved look of old town. The right number of churches reveals total epithet of Elec, “town with 33 churches”. Among them special place has Cathedral of Ascension of Lord which is also the centre of eparchy. It was built in Russian-Byzantine and the height of the church is 74 m. Everybody who met with sights of Moscow, Cathedral of Ascension of Lord will remind them of Moscow’s church of Christ the Saviour, and the reason is the same author, Konstantin Ton, an architect who built Kremlin castle and Armoury. Funds for construction of Cathedral of Ascension were collected for 75 years in the richest towns in Russia.
Valley of river Sosna, which flows along Cathedral of Ascension, in 14th century is considered to be Russian area. Behind it, so called “Wild Field” spread- old name for all steppe areas where nomads ruled. Everybody who attacked Moscow and Tver with quivers full of arrows- Kumani, Mongols, Crimean Tatars- first fired Elec. That’s why this town was renovated many times in history.
Across the Ascension of cathedral there is red square. A little bit further there is Spask tower whose watch strikes every full hour. Two most important streets of old part of town are Peace street (Torge former October revolution), in one part walking area and Street Komunarov ( of communes). Peace street is here for more than 400 years. Today its central part as the closest centre is closed for traffic and specially arranged for pedestrians. If however, somebody gets tired from walking, he can take a coach ride. This street is full of nice old wooden houses and trade homes with shops followed by bit newer buildings.
You can start a day with a breakfast (for around 4.5 euro) in café bar “Jam” close to town centre. They prepare there “varenike” with the stuffing of potatoes or cherries at special recipe, one of the most popular meals at locals. It is the only place with WiFi.Elec has only two restaurant , “Olena” (“Deer”) in street Sverdlova and “Elec” in Street Komunarov and they both serve meals for around 7 euro. It is obligatory to try Elec’s okroška with white rye kvass. Elec is one of the rare Russian towns where they prepare white rye kvass. Its recipe is so complicated that in town only few natives know how to prepare it. As aperitif they will offer you liqueur made of horseradish from the local distillery. Its good feature is that it doesn’t rise hangover. And with tea it is good fruit jelly made of Antonovska apples, considered to be created by grand mum Ivana Bunjina.
One of the traditions of this town is beer production: from 1875 on Litejn street close to Horse bridge where there is Elec’s brewery. Close to brewery citizens usually sit at the tables on the coast, enjoy in the view to river Sosna and east part of town and drink different kinds of beer with salty snacks for example smoked salmon. There is always a good mood, everybody is relaxed, but very polite so many people come with children.
Visit to ethnographic museum is considered to be one of town’s main attraction. Apart from different ethnographic subjects from houses and furniture from 19th century, there are also preserved objects from Great patriotic (World war II) war such as Molotov cocktails predicted for destroying of enemies tenks.
One mor eplace you have to see is national park “Vorgolskie Skali” (Vorgolsky rocks) which entered Guinness book of records as smallest reservation in the world. Taxi to there and back is around 15 euro. In the area of park the estate of Ivan Afanasijevič Taldikin is preserved. Apart from economy houses, old fountains and lakes with swans there is old watermill from far 1867.
Elec is know far for its beautiful lace. Their tradition of weaving the white cotton or linen thread by crocheting is 150 years old.Before revolution in whole county around 40 000 women made lace for sale .At that time only natural colours were used: blue was given from cornflower, yellow from Pheasant’s Eye.Hand made cloth medium size can be bought for around 200 euro.
To Elec from Moscow is possible to arrive by train for eight hours, and trains leave from Kurska or Pavelecka railway station in Moscow. There are 4 hotels in Elec, among which the best is Lada, where the price for double room is 45 euro, and other hotels even more expensive don’t offer such comfort. In “Lada” is possible at extra charge insure welcoming and transfer of guests.
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