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Photographer's Note

This photo is an introduction of a small historic town of Elabuga, a neighbour of my homecity Naberezhny Chelny, to TrekEarth.

Elabuga (or Yelabuga) is located at the point where the Toyma flows into the Kama. The town's history dates back to the 11th century. It served as a fortress in Volga Bulgaria. The only visible evidence of those times is the Devil's tower that serves as unofficial emblem of the town. In the 17–19 centuries it became an important merchant town. A couple of years ago it celebrated its 1000th anniversary.

Elabuga is still mantled in that fabulous spirit of an old provincial town. One or two storeyed houses of wood and sometimes also of stone painted in bright hues will not leave you indifferent, treating your eye with warm colours and your soul with a warm welcome.

The town is famous as the birthplace of one of the greatest Russian landscape painters Ivan Shishkin. His creativity was inspired by the vast fields and dense coniferous forests that are now a part of the National park «Нижняя Кама» (The Lower Kama). The mansion where he lived is now his museum.

Among other famous personalities who lived or were born in Elabuga are Nadezhda Durova who disguised herself as a man and joined the army to fight against Napoleon and Marina Tsvetaeva a poet of the Silver Age of Russian literature.

Within the last couple of years Elabuga changed. Several museums have opened. One of them is the Museum of Elabuga with its interactive workshops where you can try your hand at making local handicraft souvenirs.

The New Part of the town has also developed.
The Elabuga district hosts the Special Economic Zone Alabuga which is aimed at boosting production by means of lowest possible taxes and ready-to-use infrastructure at lowest prices. Simplified legal procedures in the Zone also attract investors both from home and abroad. One of the residents is a car-producuing factory Sollers.

It should also be noted that in January 2009 Elabuga and the town of Safranbolu, Turkey, signed an agreement on cooperation in various spheres.

I go to Elabuga every week to the English Club where people of various backgrounds and origins meet to discuss hot issues or just for a chat in English. If you ever drop in Elabuga you're welcome to our company for a cup of tea :)

See also Belltower – 2 (or just click the «Previous Photo» button).

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Additional Photos by Ilgiz Galeev (ilghiz) Gold Star Critiquer/Gold Note Writer [C: 240 W: 8 N: 98] (708)
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