Bike path from Kazan to Kamskoe Ustye a reality

It can become another credible reason for a trip to Tatarstan

How to attract even more visitors to the tourist “place of power” — Kamskoe Ustye, and Tatarstan as a bonus? Leonid Abramov, a well-known Kazan local historian, shared an unexpected recipe with readers of Realnoe Vremya.

Plenty of “features”

Kazan has become a tourist destination over ten years. Kazan can make an impression: a great picture, a lot of wow objects, original cuisine, hotels — everything is in place. Interesting surroundings — Innopolis, Sviyazhsk, Raifa Monastery, Blue Lakes. If the tourist has another day, then he can go to see Bolgar, Yelabuga, Tetyushi with Dolgaya Polyana.

But there is a new and actively developing direction — Kamskoe Ustye. This is the place where the two largest rivers of the European part of the country converge — Volga River and Kama River.

The place is a landmark on the map of Russia, the width here reaches 42 km. This is, of course, the merit of the Kuybyshev Reservoir. In the near future, a whole eco-cluster with hotels, campsites and glampings will be located here (camping with comfort — editor's note).

But the main feature is nature itself. Stunning views of the right bank of the Volga River, which in the old days was called the Mountain side (Gornaya storona), extend for tens of kilometres. Here is one of the most attractive natural sites on the Volga River — Yuryevskaya cave (tens of thousands of tourists come here a year), next to it, there are stone cliffs — the main training base for Kazan rock climbers. Nearby there are vineyards, grapes are grown on an industrial scale, a factory for the production of cheeses with mold (local wine with French cheese!).

Lobach Mount — a symbol of Kamskoye Ustye, it is dedicated to the most famous song of the 19th century “There is a cliff on the Volga”. It has a buoy — a copy of the one that danced on the waves in the cult Soviet сomedy “Volga-Volga”. The mountain offers an enchanting view of a hundred kilometres. Such places are called “places of power”.

Kamskoye Ustye has long been favoured by fishermen, and there are a dozen fishing bases in the neighbourhood. A yacht club is planned to be built in Kuybyshevsky Zaton. There is the Saralinsky section of the Volga-Kama nature reserve opposite tKamskoe Ustye where the largest birds in Europe are found — white-tailed eagles with a wingspan of up to three metres. Volga condors! If necessary, you can take a boat tour at rapid-fire pace, see the nests with a diameter of one and a half metres — however, in agreement with the management of the reserve.

Gypsum has been mined for a hundred years in the neighbourhood of Tenishevo. Here is one of the largest gypsum mines in Europe — no joke, 560 km of mining. An intricate system of tunnels, where it is easy to get lost and unaccustomed, you can visit the underground museum. Kamskoe Ustye produces one of the best gypsum in the world, and it is no accident that it is delivered to Italy. There are also old abandoned tunnels where speleologists from all over Russia held their congress.

Two- or three-day route with stops at hotels or campsites

In short, it makes sense to come 100 km from Kazan to this amazing place. The question is, by what? You can go there by own car, a regular bus runs daily, and in summer — by the fast river ship — Meteor.

But the most memorable way is by bike along the Volga River. The places are beautiful there — Verkhny Uslon and Nizhny Uslon, Tashevka, Kyzyl Bayrak, Matyushino, Shelanga, Tenki has long been famous for its apple orchards. The area is cut by ravines and streams, but there are bridges. Along the way, there are many beautiful objects: several ancient estates — Knyaz Gagarin's, Marquis Paulucci's in the Italian style, unique temples, a plenty of wooden houses of one hundred and fifty years of age with unique Gorodets carvings with lions and mermaids. The Tenki Imperial Nursery surprise with landscapes — the best in Tatarstan. In summer, several holidays and festivals are held in local villages, such as Apple Spas in Krasnovidovo and Trinity in Matyushino.

There are very few nature trails and bike paths in our republic. If we create one from Kazan to Kamskoye Ustye, it will attract hundreds of thousands of tourists a year, because this is no less than our local Provence and French Riviera.

The Volga River is gaining incredible power on our territory. Infrastructure will also gradually catch up — campsites and glampings are going to open along the entire route. This process has started in the republic. There are already a dozen private investors who have opened their glampings near Kazan, and local farmers are also becoming more active, for whom this will be an additional opportunity to sell their products. Most importantly, one of the best ecotourism projects in Russia will be created. In the area of Kzyl-Bayrak (this is about the middle of the Kazan-Kamskoe Ustye route), a bridge will be built across the Volga River, and a toll road will run here from Moscow, so it will be quick and convenient to get there from the capital of the country.

It can take two or three days to travel one hundred kilometres on a bicycle. On the road, there are hotels — in Tenki and Labyshki. Hikers also can use the bike path. Nordic walking and trekking are extremely popular in Europe, and it is one of the most effective ways to prolong your life. Bicycle, of course, is no less effective and useful.

The bike path can also be used all-season, planting it with trees and bushes over time. There can also be laid a ski and snowmobile trail.

Eco — world trend

Every advanced country in the world boasts its own network of bike paths. Copenhagen alone has 12,000 kilometres of bike paths. The iconic Great Ocean Road in Australia, the 2000-kilometre bike trail from Vancouver to the Mexican border along the Pacific coast of Canada and the United States, the Austrian Danube Cycle Path, the Barcelona — Beziers segment — part of the EuroVelo bike trail network. About 800,000 people travel along the Loire route (along the Loire River) in France every year. The route of the Rhine Cycle Route, which is more than 1,200 km long, crosses Europe from south to north from the Swiss Alps to the North Sea and serves to maintain economic and cultural ties between Switzerland, France, Germany and the Netherlands.

Eco-direction is trending. Ecotourism contributes about two billion dollars of tax revenue a year to the Canadian budget. This is five times more than the country spends on protecting these territories. In the US, ecotourism brings in more than $20 billion annually, in Australia — $3,5 billion.

Tatarstan should keep abreast, and it is worth using this golden opportunity to attract tourists. Creating a bike path will work on the image of the republic as one of the most advanced in ecotourism. I think it may even be the beginning of a long journey. After all, bike paths are often located along seas and rivers, and we have many rivers. Why not use this resource, bestowed by nature itself? Use it for the benefit of health and tourism development. Why not build bike paths and eco-trails through Rybnaya Sloboda, Mamadysh, Yelabuga, Chistopol and Nizhnekamsk, Naberezhnye Chelny, Bolgar and Laishevo?

But Kamskoye Ustye is still the most attractive place for both residents of the republic and tourists from all over Russia and the world. The money invested in it will be returned not only by investment projects but also by health and happy memories. You just need to see the perspective.

By Leonid Abramov

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