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News

Is Vyoshenskaya Beautiful to French Taste?

23.05.2019

On May 22, 2019, Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya and Kruzhilin Village were visited by Jacques Ragon, an international expert in rural tourism, one of the initiators of creation in Russia an Association “The Most Beautiful Villages and Towns of Russia”, and Alexander Merzlov, Head of the Centre of the Sustainable Rural Development, President of the Association of the Most Beautiful Villages in Russia.

Jacques Ragon travels a lot around our country and has an opportunity to compare the experience of French and Russian remote rural areas: “I am, as a Frenchman, first interested in historical places, national features, famous hospitality and, of course, cuisine”. J.Ragon notes, that in France, great attention is paid to the form: landscape design, appearance of parks and gardens, and in Russia – to the content. “Cooperation is very important, both the sides have a positive experience”, – J.Ragon shared his opinion during his visits to Russia.

In 1942, in one of the small French villages there was formed an Association of the Most Beautiful Villages. Since that time, 158 villages and 300 candidates have been registered in France. Many countries joined the Association. Russia first entered as an associative observer. In 2018, Russia became a full member of the association, 10 Russian villages have already been registered. How can a village get the world status? First it must join its native, Russian association. Then apply to the world association, where they will decide whether the village (stanitsa) is worthy of the status or not. Each national association has its individual criteria, as each country has its traditions. The World Federation takes into account the features of each country.

The President of the Russian association Alexander Merzlov defines the criteria: “Russia is big, everything is mixed in it. There can be thirty criteria in choosing Russian villages. Firstly, if the village is wooden, it is better to have no stone houses in it. Secondly, homogeneity – a unity of the time frames and architecture. It is very difficult to pass through this criterion, if several centuries are mixed in the village. It is necessary for the village to have its face even if the houses are half-ruined. Thirdly, the landscape is very important. If there is a factory with smokestacks nearby, then there is nothing good about it. Fourthly, the village economy. Fifthly, authentic village cuisine. There should be unique dishes cooked only in this village. The village must have one or two guest houses.

Perhaps these are the main criteria. By the way, electrical wires should not be seen, underground cables are preferable”.

The guests walked along the streets of the Stanitsa, paid a special attention to the architecture of the administrative buildings and residential houses, fences, paid attention to the vegetation, showed their interest in the Cossack dialect. The guests visited the structures of the Museum-Reserve of M.A.Sholokhov in Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya and Kruzhilin Village, learned about the Don Cossack customs and tasted traditional Cossack dishes.

In the near future the representatives of the Association will come to Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya to make an expert assessment of our stanitsa. We hope Stanitsa Vyoshenskaya will get an honourable status of the most beautiful village (stanitsa) of Russia.

 

Nadezhda Rasskazova