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Yelabuga: A Small Town with Lots to Offer

Many of Russia’s smaller cities and villages are often overlooked by tourists visiting Russia – and some of them really don’t seem much worth visiting. But the beautiful little town of Yelabuga has much worth seeing and if you have the time you should definitely try to make a stop here during your travels.

Situated in the Republic of Tatarstan on the right bank of the Kama River, not far from the Volga River, Yelabuga is a pretty little town with an undeniable sense of charm. Much of its current charms are owed to the fact that the town has recently been able to renovate and restore many of the wonderfully old buildings in the area, giving it a neat, crisp and pretty appearance. The money for the restorations was provided by the state in 2007 when the town celebrated its millennium. Yelabuga in Russia started life in the 11th century with the building of a Volga Bulgarian border castle. Today the remains of that same castle, Shaytan’s Castle, can be seen near the town. Though the castle was later abandoned, the site was not and the beautiful little town of Yelabuga was founded at its feet in the second half of the 16th century. Over the years this town has become famous for a number of things, including its role in the oil industry, its location as the birthplace of famous painter Ivan Shishkin and the place where Marina Tsvetayeva, a Russian poet, committed suicide in 1941.

Today, with the renovations, the town itself is a delight to behold with neat, old wooden buildings all meticulously preserved and filled with the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Brand new signs clearly point out the way to various attractions, such as the museums dedicated to Shushkin and Tsvetayeva. Three beautiful churches can also be found here. The Spasskaya Church is no doubt the most appealing. The church is currently undergoing massive restorations and some fear this may well change the undeniable character and charm of the church. Beautiful old paintings adorn the walls and ceilings and there is something truly mystical about the place. For a small price visitors are allowed to climb the winding, rickety wooden staircase up into the bell tower. Here, 150 feet above the ground, you will get an amazing view of the surrounding districts that simply cannot be beaten. After your visit to the church, a nearby war memorial may prove to be an interesting visit. The Nizhnyaya Kama National Park is also not far from Yelabuga in Russia and is worth a visit if you have the time.

 



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