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Natural Memorials

M.A. Sholokhov was fond of fishing and hunting. His homeland nature surrounding gave rise to the ideas and feelings that were later embodied into the lines of his creations.

The country of Sholokhov nowadays is still a living illustration of the writer’s books, it exists and gives rise to new plots. The places related to the events depicted in “The Don Stories”, “And Quiet Flows the Don”, “Virgin Soil Upturned” are included in the preserved landscape area of the Museum-Reserve. There are six natural memorials: the Giant Oak, Antipovskiy pine forest, Sholokhov lakes, waterside piece of wood Ostrovnoye, woody place Paniki, woodland of Chernya. A great diversity in flora and fauna numbers over 1500 plant species and variations, 269 mushroom species, over 2700 animal species. There are found a great number of species included into the Red List of Threatened Species of the Russian Federation and of the Rostov Region.

The writer’s favourite place is the woodland Ostrovnoye, which inspired Sholokhov greatly on his visiting. On the pages of the novel “And Quiet Flows the Don” we can recognize Kalmytskiy Brod (ford), Lake Rassokhovo, Burnt Forest, Alyoshkin Copse, Devichiya Polyana (maiden’s glade). Ostrovnoye is a unique place: the water here is clean, there are a lot of fish, waterfowl. Here Mikhail Aleksandrovich went fishing and hunting, brought his guests to admire the beauty of the sight. The place was visited by the world-known writers Charles Snow, Martti Larni, the first world spaceman Yuriy Gagarin and many other famous people.

One of the writer’s most favourite nooks was a picturesque deep Old Lake. Here Sholokhov often brought his friends and guests for fishing. The writer’s winning was that all the flood-land lakes were included into the system of the cherished natural areas. The people call the lakes “Sholokhovs’s”. These lakes are a habitat of the endemic of Europe – the Russian desman included into the Red List of Threatened Species of Russia and of the Rostov Region.

Mikhail Aleksandrovich was fond of admiring the Don, the boundless upper regions from the 40-metre height of Lebyazhiy Yar lying 12 kms eastward of Vyoshenskaya. This is a majestic bend of the Don bed and a rearing arenaceous precipice over it – a steep bank. In the distance behind the river floodland forests and White Hills – cretaceous steep slopes, can be seen. Lebyazhiy Yar was visited by many prominent guests of the writer. In 2005 President of the Russian Federation V. Putin visited Vyoshenskaya for the 100th anniversary of M.A. Sholokhov. From that place he admired the quiet Don and surroundings.

A unique thing is the Vyoshenskiy Giant Oak aged over 400. It is a real Don forest “ataman”, a witness of the historic events since the reign of Ivan the Terrible. It can be surrounded by no less than four adult men holding hands. Near it two more oak-trees grow, all they are remains of an ancient arena oak grove.

Another remarkable place is the powerful spring Otrog, which does not freeze even in winter hard frost. On the Twelfth Day and Whitsunday  Cossacks walk in a religions procession with cross and banners to the spring.

Each of the Upper Don  nooks is beautiful in its way. On visiting Sholokhov country you will see a spring tulip steppe, silent barrows, boundless vastness opening up from the high precipices, a magnificent stream of the Father-Don. You will discover for yourselves the unique Open Air Novel, the museum, which exposition is the Don country nature itself glorified by M.A. Sholokhov in his works.