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Olympic ethnopark "My Russia" opens in Sochi on Wednesday

February 05, 2014, 4:54 UTC+3 SOCHI
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SOCHI, February 05, 4:36 /ITAR-TASS/. The Olympic ethnopark "My Russia" opens here on Wednesday. According to Vladimir Kozhin, Head of the Presidential Department for Property Management, the park constitutes numerous "thematic pavilions" dedicated to Russia's regions.

"The pavilions are capital structures which house mini-hotels, shops of folk crafts and arts, restaurants offering regional cuisines,'' Kozhin said. All regional producers, he said, have been given the right to supply wares straight to "their" pavilions. "Gzhel crockery is delivered straight from Gzhel, downy shawls from Orenburg, and Palekh boxes made by folk craftsmen are supplied from Palekh," he explained. Kozhin added that the compound of paviliond with an area of 11 hectares stretches along a mountain stream.

The first-ever colour photographs og the Russian Empire of more than a century ago from the colection of the Presidential Library will be on display at the park's opening ceremony.

Viktor Khrekov, press secretary of the Head of the Presidential Department, told Itar-Tass that items on view would include the Russian Empire's first colour photos taken by Sergei Prokudin-Gorsky, the founder of the country's photography. The photos date back to the 1900s when the talented photographer and chemist made colour photographs of the entire country on instructions from the Imperial Court.

"Until the beginning of this century, the materials were inaccessible to Russia, because the descendants of Prokudin-Gorsky, who emigrated from the country after the (1917) Revolution, turned over all the archivest to the US Congress Library. It was only due to persistent talks with the American side that the Property Management Departent, to which the Presidential Libary is subordinated, succeeded in bringing the invaluable materials back to our country," Khrekov pointed out. These are complete Russia archives of Prokudin-Gorsky, more than 2,000 photos. They all are represented in the stocks of Russia's first national e-library.

The Olympic ethnopark "My Russia" has become the first platform which comprehensively represents this collection. The photos' e-copies depict Cenral Russia, with the famous architectural landmarks of Vladimir and Kostroma Gubernias, Kineshma and Shuya; represented in detail are the heroic Borodino Field, the famous Yasnaya Polyana (Leo Tolstoy's estate), Rostov Veliky (Rostov the Great) and Yaroslavl. The norh is represented on the photos, taken by Prokudin-Gorsky, by Petrozavodsk, Kemya, Vytegra, and Medvezhyegorsk. The photos of North-West emphasize the peculiarity of Petersburg Gubernia with the first capital of ancient Russia, Staraya Ladoga (Old Ladoga), and cities that were predecessors of Petersburg -- Olonets, Schlisselburg, Lodeinoye Pole, and others. Quite a number of photos demonstrate the development of monasteries and churches of the country and many of them are being recreated nowadays. The old photos can be a help in restoring those towns.

Photos show Urals, an industrial area, just as it is now. Metallurgical production plants and factories on the photos show the production might of the country. These photos can well be linked with present-day ones,which, just as the first colour photos, show the Black Sea coast, the city of Sochi, representaing the world's northernmost tea plantations, the Uch-Dere ares, where a moutain climate park of the Imereti Depresssion undergoes development now.

"The photos of the past offer an evidence of the extent to which the country has changed over the past century, retaining its historical identity. This is seen from the example of Sochi where the infrastructural revolution has taken place, along with the conservation of scenic and ethnic peculiarity of the ancient land," Khrekov said.

The photographs from the collection of the Presidential Libarya will proceed on their way from the Sochi ethnopark to the country's regions where they will be put on show at local museums and will become the basis for education of schoolchildren and an object of study by local lore scholars.

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