2020 gave a powerful impetus to the development of domestic tourism in Russia. Tourists who were previously focused on holidays abroad began to discover amazing routes, events and objects within the country. One of the most interesting territories in the Russian outback from the point of view of the development of ethnographic tourism is the Yeletsky district of the Lipetsk region.
The first mentions of the Yelets land are found in the Nikon Chronicle and date back to 1146. “Prince Svyatoslav Olegovich went to Rezan, and was in Mchensk, and in Tula, and in Dubka on the Don, and in Yelets, and in Pronsk. "- said in the annals. Archaeological finds say that Yelets emerged around the 10th century as one of many fortresses on the border with the Wild Field. Until 1198, Yelets was part of the Chernigov principality, then into the Ryazan principality, and from the middle of the fifteenth century - into the Moscow principality. In 1380, the Elets squad, led by Prince Fyodor, bravely fought against the hordes of Mamai on the Kulikovo field. And after 15 years, it was Yelets' soldiers and citizens who stopped the invasion of another Asian conqueror - Tamerlane. The inhabitants of the city refused to surrender the fortress to the conqueror, and after a three-day battle Yelets was burned, and all its inhabitants and defenders were killed. But, as the legend says, after that, Tamerlane, at his headquarters in the town of Argamach, had a dream in which "The wife of the indescribable splendor and greatness, surrounded by darkness of lightning-like warriors" ordered the emir to leave Russia and no longer harm her. And Tamerlane left and never returned to Russia. Thus, Yelets took the blow aimed at the rest of Russia and Europe, and became the site of a miracle. Later in Argamachya Sloboda, in honor of this event, the Church of the Nativity of the Mother of God was built and the icon of the Eletsky Mother of God was found, which became one of the main shrines of the Yeletsk land.
At the site of Tamerlane's supposed headquarters near the village of Argamach-Palna, the Archaeological Park "Argamach" has been created today, which has become one of the visiting cards of tourism in the Yeletsk region. The idea was born from the desire to popularize the richest historical, cultural and natural heritage of the region. The park began with archaeological excavations, which continue to this day. But gradually the territory began to attract tourists as well. At first, campsites were used, then the owners of the park began to invest in tourist infrastructure. Today, there is a unique yurt-hotel on the territory of the park; tourists can live in real yurts made in Buryatia. There is a guest house "Khoromy prince Fyodor" - a completely wooden hotel, created especially for the park by local residents. There are also many gazebos, a Russian bathhouse, ecological trails, horseback riding and other interesting events. But the most important advantage and highlight of the park are children's summer camps, in which children independently participate in archaeological excavations, find ancient coins, other antiquities, learn to melt metal in the medieval way, study pottery and other ancient crafts. Such master classes are also available to ordinary tourists.
As mentioned above, the Yelets land arose to oppose the Wild Field. After the invasion of Tamerlane, Yelets ceases to be mentioned in any chronicles. Only in 1444 did the first mention of the city Cossacks appear - along the Sosna River, the natural barrier of Russia against the Wild Field, sentry fortresses began to be built by servicemen: Livny. Chernavsk, Yelets, Taletsk and others. Later, the Cossacks of the Yeletsk district will join the army of the Don Cossacks. One of the great Russian rivers Don also carries its waters through the territory of the region, and the Bystraya Sosna River is a tributary of the Don. After a relatively peaceful life was established in Russia, the Cossacks became noble grain growers and cattle breeders, but they never forgot about military service. Today, the traditions of the Cossacks in the Yeletsky district are actively reviving, children and adults are learning to ride, boys are solemnly accepted into the Cossacks, festival grounds are organized, one of which - "Cossack Outpost" - is located in the picturesque village of Kazaki, 17 km from Yelets. The village dates back to the 17th century. In the kurens of the ethnostanitsa you can get acquainted with the Cossack way of life, history, culture and cuisine. And at the festival "Cossack Outpost" you can become not only a spectator, but also a participant in ancient rituals: "Seeing off the Cossack to the service", the wedding ceremony "Pillows" and "The Feast of the First Pants". The strongest and bravest will be able to try their hand at the sports competition for the Ataman Cup. Also, the ancient Orthodox Church of St. George the Victorious, destroyed in the 20s of the last century, is being revived in the village.
Another hallmark of the Yeletsk region is lace - an ancient craft that is still passed down from generation to generation. In many villages and in Yelets itself, lace-makers' artels have survived, which continue to create amazing lace items - tablecloths, panels, jackets, umbrellas, dresses, curtains, scarves and much, much more. The city has a private museum "House of Elets Lace", which presents numerous exhibits of this art, including those that received first prizes at international exhibitions. The work of lace makers is very painstaking, even a simple thing - a scarf or a small shawl - is created by weeks of hard work. The lace is woven on a special padded cushion with the help of special devices - bobbins. Yelets lace has been known since the end of the 18th century and is distinguished by a soft contrast of a small pattern (vegetable and geometric) and a delicate openwork background. These laces are lighter and thinner than Vologda lace.
In addition to archaeological and ethnographic attractions, there are many natural ecological routes in the Yeletsky district, attractions associated with the Great Patriotic War, in Yelets there is a house-museum of the famous composer Tikhon Khrennikov, many places associated with the Nobel Prize winner - the famous writer Ivan Bunin, whose childhood and youth were spent in Yelets and Yelets district. In May, the area hosts the International Festival of Historical Reconstruction "Rusborg", in the summer - the "Sagittarius" festival, in September - the "Yeletsky Feast" gastronomic festival, as well as many other interesting events throughout the year. There are also unique museums of the artists Sorokin and Bludnov, who lived and worked in the Yeletsky district, a craft museum, a museum of Soviet symbols and other attractions.