New Year holidays in Kukmor: presidential ski resorts and valenki for happiness
A trip to the north of Tatarstan will introduce you to another local ski complex, local delicacies and the history of the area
Not everyone will have the opportunity to go abroad for the New Year holidays, and it is not safe to travel within Russia, given the coronavirus pandemic. At the same time, Kazan and Tatarstan citizens are undeservedly deprived of attention to their own small homeland, where there is also something to marvel at and there is an opportunity to have a good rest. On this occasion, the State Committee for Tourism of Tatarstan offers to go on an exciting trip from January 3 to 10 to Kukmor as part of the programme "1000 and 1 pleasure for the weekend”.
The northernmost district of Tatarstan
The programme "1000 and 1 pleasure for the weekend” was supposed to end together with the year 2020, but it was decided to extend it until next summer. In June-August alone, tourists made 500 trips under the programme. During the New Year holidays, the routes have been expanded, six more districts of Tatarstan have been added to them, including the northernmost — Kukmorsky.
A trip to Kukmor involves 2 days and one night. The price for one adult is 3,000 rubles, a small child, of course, will go with their parents for free, for teenagers the price will also be low. The standard programme includes accommodation in the local Zarya hotel with breakfast, two lunches in a cafe next to the Gray Count hotel (Sedoy Graf) and two excursions. By the way, excursions can be much more, but they are paid additionally.
First ski resort of the Minnikhanov family
Kukmor, as you know, is famous for its valenki and dishes. However, few people know that there is its own ski resort — Mednaya Gora. In general, the famous proverb “Here is a mountain, there is a mountain, and in the middle — Kukmor” justifies itself. It was also adopted by local athletes-skiers.
“The Mistress of the Copper Mountain”, the coach of the children's sports school in alpine skiing and freestyle, Dilyara Ibyatova, said that it was here, on the Kukmor mountains, that the three Minnikhanov brothers started skiing in 1989. Since then, Rustam Minnikhanov has been supporting local skiers. Next year, for example, the complex will be equipped with two snow cannons and a new lift.
The peculiarity of the Kukmor ski resort is that professional athletes, champions of international competitions work here as instructors. In 2018, representatives of the Russian Ski and Freestyle Federation inspected the Mednaya Gora tracks for four hours. Experts who built and hosted ski slopes for the Olympic games in Sochi, the Universiade in Krasnoyarsk, highly appreciated the quality and capabilities of local piste. It was noted that Kukmor may well host all-Russian competitions in these winter sports.
On the territory of the complex, there are four pistes of different levels of difficulty: one “green” training one, two “red” ones and one descent for the fans of “the golden mean”. There are tubing slopes — the fans of tubes ride separately from skiers and snowboarders. There are lifts without seats, one track is lit at night. There are two guest houses — for 6 and 16 people, a cafe, a rental office.
There are experienced instructors, and you can invite a separate coach for the child. The cherry on the cake is ski suits made by a local factory. Kazan residents are already arranging shopping tours for them to the brand shop next to the production in the city centre.
Interestingly, Kukmor acquired the status of a city only three years ago. Here everything is still small — distances, low houses… But what's really big here is famous Kukmor hospitality. The residents of Kukmor are really proud of their achievements and are happy to introduce visitors to them. The programme "1000 and 1000 and 1 pleasure for the weekend” includes a walking tour of the city, during which you can see the old mansion — the house of the Komarov brothers, you can say, the founders of the local felting industry. The two-storey house has only recently been resettled. It stands dilapidated and boarded up so far, but very soon a local businessman-philanthropist is going to take up its restoration. It is expected that after the renovation, there will be a hotel, a cafe and an art gallery.
If you look into a cafe or dining room, you can be sure that you won't leave without trying all the dishes prepared at home, fresh and guaranteed without chemicals.
Tableware is a man's business
Kukmor district is famous for its crafts. That is why industrial tourism will flourish here. Guests are strongly recommended to visit the Kukmor felting plant and the Kukmor metal smelting plant. However, there is no opportunity to visit the production of felt boots during the holidays — skilled felters also go on vacation.
But the production of cookware does not stop for a minute. The work here is in shifts and around the clock. Today, more than 1,300 people work here, and these are not only local residents but also newcomers from neighbouring regions — Vyatskie Polyany, Udmurtia and Kirov Oblast. The work here is hard, but the salary is decent. There is a queue for employment here, local people say.
During the tour of the plant, you can see the work of all the workshops — foundry, welding, turning, painting, laser cutting on metal, and at the end — the technical control department and the assembly unit. By the way, women can be seen only here, all the rest of the work is exclusively on the strong shoulders of men. It is important to observe safety precautions — before entering the shop, you will be given a helmet and a reflective vest, children under 12 years old are not allowed, and photo and video shooting is prohibited here. Realnoe Vremya, with the permission of the plant's management, has the opportunity to capture all the stages of production of the famous Kukmor pans, cauldrons and other kitchen utensils exclusively.
Valenki against impassibility
But the main brand of Kukmor is, of course, valenki. Few people leave without these products. The range of the brand store includes 362 types of felt boots made of 100% sheep wool, 150 types of felt shoes and 20 types of felt itself. Interestingly, valenki can be chosen with galoshes or on a polymer basis — with such sole, one shouldn't care about slush and dirt under the feet of this warm but gentle shoe.
“If we roll felt boots from wool, then we create shoes from felt, which we ourselves produce. We also have blankets, bath sets, vests. Our designers work on the creation of shoe models in an experimental workshop — for example, boots are created with the inclusion of leather patterns or with a split-velour finish. This is a natural fabric with a very dense velour surface. We also work on individual orders, but not during the season. Now it has just come — everyone needs felt boots. By the way, we also produce a large number of fashionable valeshas — low painted valenki," Gulnara Nurmukhametova, a staff member of the sales department, told Realnoe Vremya.
Let us note that valenki with a good discount can be purchased in the summer.
Doors of shoe size
The local history museum of the Kukmor district, which before the revolution was part of the Mamadysh district, is located in the factory building of the Rodigin brothers. The house built in 1870 is recognised as an architectural monument of regional significance.
It is interesting not only for the external bas-reliefs decorating the window openings, entrance groups, but also for the large number of entrance doors. Many merchants came for shoes, all with their own requests, so they kept the goods they needed behind each door. For example, a buyer came for felt boots of a certain size — he was opened a room where shoes of the required size were stored. Need a 39? Welcome to the second entrance on the left. Would you like the felt boots of 35 size? Please enter the entrance on the far right.
Today, the museum has many rarities. These are the remains of mammoths, and household items from the time of the Golden Horde. A lot of devices for craftsmen, women's costumes and jewelry of the peoples living in the district, personal belongings of fellow countrymen who died in the Great Patriotic War, there is also a family tree of Chingiz Aytmatov (it is believed that the writer's relatives on his mother's side come from here — editor's note). There are also household items of the Rodigin merchants, their photos and furniture. However, the connection with the descendants of the famous family has long been lost. There is evidence that some of the Komarovs were found in Nizhny Novgorod, and the Rodigins' grandchildren emigrated to the United States.
By train for the holiday of Valenki
There is a lot to see in the Kukmor district. Gourmets will enjoy local lemonade and branded elesh from spelt and potatoes, flower honey, kazylyk or Champion bread. The lovers of antiquity can visit the Peter and Paul Church with miraculous icons consecrated in Cyprus. Nearby, in the village of Bolshoy Kukmor, you can see layers of sand rocks or drink from the healing spring Kuz Chishmese in the village of Yatmas Dusayevo.
It is worth noting that “horseless” tourists can also get to all the sights of Kukmor. From Kazan, a train comes here several times a day, although the journey time will be about three hours.
Getting off at the Bratyev Komarovy station, you find yourself literally in the centre of the city. Within walking distance, there are shops, Komsomolskaya square, where, in particular, the festival-fair of folk crafts Kukmorskie Valenki is held. In the coming year, the holiday will be held on January 5. Nearby, there is a hotel, a branded shop of local felt boots and a ski complex just a 10-minute walk away.