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Caucasus travel blog

Dmitry Lemeshev’s interview for The Best Travelled magazine

Dmitry_Lemeshev_for_web

Dmitry tell us something about your own background and how your interest in travelling began.

When I was 16, I read books of Jack Kerouac, listened to records of Janis Joplin and was involved in the Russian hippie community. I dreamed about travelling. I read a book of Anton Krotov, the most famous Russian hitch-hiker, about the hitch-hiking technique and started traveling…

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First Brazilian tourists in mountains of Dagestan

In May 2016 we made a tour for the group of tourists from Brazil. It was 2 weeks from Makhachkala to Stavropol. We immersed in rural traditions, enjoyed wild mountains and touched city cultures. We managed to travel as young people despite the fact, that our oldest guest was 82 years old!
This video is about 3 days of that trip…

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Seven Secrets of the Kubachi Shawl

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Apparently, it is an ordinary shawl. However, on closer inspection, it can tell a lot about its owner and her family…

The Daghestani village Kubachi is, first of all, famous for its goldsmiths.
But this village is known not only for its jewelry… The women of Kubachi wear singular shawls or the kaz which easily identify them at first glance. We interviewed the female villagers about the secrets of this remarkable headwear, and here’s what they told us.

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New Russian winemakers

Вечерний вид из окрестностей Абрау-дюрсо.

A couple of months back we discovered a wine region in the westmost corner of the Caucasus. We were flabbergasted: our stereotypes of Russian wine were blown to smithereens. Recently we recovered from shock and embarked on an alcohol-cum-adventure journey to explore Krasnodar wineries in detail.
Although this region is new and developing, it has already got genuine wine masterpieces to its credit recognized by the international community. There are large and small wineries, and even “garage” manufacturers. Everyone knows everyone, everybody is on friendly terms with everybody, doing their best to foster Russian winemaking.
There’s an overflow of energy. Winemakers are in quest of ideal combinations of grape varieties and terroirs, and one’s individual style… It’s history is in the making. The history of a new major wine region of the world.
We, wine connoisseurs (but still a far cry from being professionals) are interested not as much in wine as in winemakers. Every single individual has a remarkable background. Oftentimes, wine served as a pretext for communication… We have already realized that it’s high time to design a tour, “New Russian Winemakers”.
By the way you can already taste Russian wine in our «Western Caucasus» tour.

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On the Abkhaz cattle husbandry: the share of the sylvan deity

Пастухи на альпийских лугах. Фото: Дмитрий Егоров

The Abkhaz regarded the forest as an animate creature. It was particularly revered by shepherds who would exclaim upon driving their herds into the forest: “O, Forest, give us the warmth of your eyes!” No special sacrifices were offered to the spirit of the forest, however, the shepherds used to observe one singular ritual related to the forest cult.
The owner of the herd which amounted to one thousand animals was obliged to allot 100 animals and drive them to the forest as a share of the forest spirit with the following words: “May this share go to the one who is destined to get it, abna-intsvakhu!”

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Kabardian shashka

Felix Nakov teaches Johnathan Legg from "Road Less Travelled" TV-show how to pull shshka out from scabbard.

“My words won’t be compelling unless I demonstrate one movement.”
I am shifting from foot to foot, holding a wooden plank.
The director of the National Museum of Kabardino-Balkaria, Felix Nakov is standing in front of me like a cowboy from a western. In his left hand he is holding an ornate scabbard from which the tip of the sword handle is scarcely visible. It seems hard to pull it out. But Felix makes an imperceptible movement, and something whooshes past my nose: the plank split in the middle, as if by itself.

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The philosophy of the Daghestani khinkal

Создатели кафе "Дагестанская лавка" в Москве: Мурад Калаев, Камила и Расул Паркуевы. Фото: Александр Вайнштейн

What shall every man in the Caucasus be able to do: to feed the guest, not to starve on the trek, and to properly choose a wife. All these problems can solved by means of the khinkal, the main dish in the Daghestani cuisine.

Murad Kalayev, and the siblings Rasul and Kamila Parkuyevs, the owners of the «Daghestani Store» at the Danilovsky Market Place in Moscow disclosed some secrets of the Daghestani cuisine, and told us how girls get married in Daghestan.

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