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Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

 Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

Away from insane bustling crowds of a grim snowless megapolis and into the serene snow-white realm of Russian antiquity! On one of the delightful days of Christmas and New Year vacations we found ourselves in a Russian fairy tale, with mysterious silence of endless expanses, fir trees and junipers, ancient wooden buildings, and picturesque banks of the Kama River.

If once upon a time you happen to visit the city of Perm (which is in the old land of Ural) take a chance of going to the Khokhlovka village, 45 kilometers away from the city. There, on a beautiful high cape, washed by the waters of the Kama reservoir from three sides you will find an open-air museum reserve with monuments of wooden architecture of the Perm region of the 17th early 20th centuries.

 Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

The old buildings (some of them reportedly constructed by an ancient technology, without a single nail) have been brought here from various corners of the region and expertly restored. Inside of the constructions visitors can see authentic interiors and folklore exhibitions regularly arranged by museum workers. For over 20 years the Khokhlovka museum has hosted open air public merry-making and folklore festivals.

Judging by our experience, winter time is not so lively here: we met almost none but security guards and a ticket seller at the museum entrance. Inside the wooden fence everything seemed to be sleeping; we set out on our journey following a small path in abundant snow (such fabulous luxury nowadays!).

 Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

The path led us from sound izbas (peasants log huts) and barns to sublime churches and bell towers, their wood darkened by time and beautifully contrasting with the snow. In the distance, by an old windmill we caught sight of somebody looking like a wolf the beast was watching us intently. We sighed with relief as the wolf barked and ran away across the fields.(Later, outside the museum, we encountered him again, shared our sandwiches and played with the friendly beast.)

 Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

Going down from the windmill to the river bank we met an aboriginal fisherman back from fishing he was so splendidly fitting into the scenery! On the bank-side we saw enormous wooden installations those were constructions once used for salt production. Enjoying the sight of the ice-covered river we breathed in the pleasant smell of old wood in the company of two wooden salt-workers. Further on, in the forest, we came across other whimsical sculptures, including those of a hunter with a bear, obviously his fellow, a forest idol, a wood-goblin, a brownie, and the like. Perhaps you will meet other fanciful characters on your visit there.

 Wooden Fairy Tale of Khokhlovka

A couple of hours spent in this beautiful land with its peaceful atmosphere makes you relieved of all your funny worldly troubles and feel in high feather.

Look for detailed information about the museum here:

Vera Ivanova and Mikhail Manykin

February 1, 2007 13:29

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