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Onwards along ‘Tukay’s Way’. What to see on your way along the new ethnic route.

In Tatarstan, dozens of kilometres connecting villages, towns and regions of the republic go unseen by tourists. To rectify this, on 29th June, the official tourist route ‘Tukay Yuli’ (meaning ‘Tukay’s Way’ in Tatar) was opened. It is designed to be cycled or walked, in order to plunge into the history of the region and spend time with fellow tourists in an attempt to get to know the local culture, experience the joy of communicating with nature and get acquainted with residents of Tatar villages.
This kind of independent travel has long been practiced in the world: the 43-kilometre Inca Trail in Peru, the 800-kilometre Camino de Santiago (or The Way of Saint James) in Spain, and in Russia – the 87-kilometre way to the Holy Trinity-St Sergius Lavra. This popular type of travel allows you to combine sightseeing with fitness, test your endurance, meet interesting people and make new friends. You can trek the ‘Tukay Yuli’ right now, but before you do, we have put together a small guide so you know what to expect and what to look out for on the trip.

The road to a new world of vivid experiences begins with a museum dedicated to the life and work of Tatar poet Gabdulla Tukay in Kazan. He, like no other, was able to truly get to know the beauty of Tatarstan and maintain his love for it, even despite his difficult fate. Tukay was born in Kushlavych village in Zakazanye, however because most of his life was spent moving around, the route runs through the cities and towns he once lived in, located in the Vysokogorsky, Arsky, Atninsky and Baltasinsky districts of Tatarstan.
I will forever remember the events of my childhood, There is no time happier, nothing just as good. I remember walking along the black furrow With my elder brother, following the sokha. ‘Native Village’, G. Tukay
‘Tukay’s Way’ (which can be hiked on foot, bicycle, or even horseback) runs for 120 kilometres through the forests and steppes of the republic. The distance between settlements is about 15 kilometres, and every 5-7 kilometres hikers can stop for a break at one of the 25 stopovers locations along the way. In each of them, visitors will find guest houses provided by local residents, where you can take a break after a long journey.

In addition to the opportunity of becoming one with nature, travelers will be able to visit cultural sites along the way. The route contains 19 museums and picturesque natural sites - Lake Kara-Kul surrounded by legends of the monster that lives in its waters, and the Golubye Ozera (Blue Lakes), where the waters do not freeze in winter and do not warm in summer, but always leave a lasting impression on its visitors with its turquoise waves. In future, travelers along this route can coordinate their journey in order to catch major national holiday festivities, which there are usually 2 of each month. For example, during Sabantuy, tourists will be given a grand send-off in traditional Tatar style by music groups and locals. In any case, the route contains many interesting sites that are worth the trip and a visit, such as the museums dedicated to individuals who helped shape Tatar culture; the enlightener Shamsetdin Kultesi, national folk writers Muhammed Magdiev and Gumer Bashirov and many others.
Time permitting, travelers can choose to visit other tourist sites of each area they visit. For example, the Holy Spring in Khotnya village, various agricultural organizations, and museums of cities and towns which specifically showcase their own fascinating local history.

The journey will be most pleasant with friends and relatives, however you can also opt to do a solo trip since there are pointer signs to help you conveniently navigate along the way. There are plans to install specially equipped canopies every 5 kilometres in the not too distant future to give tourists a place to relax in between stops. For the most endearing of travelers, the path will be equipped for winter so you can easily go the distance on skis, sleighs or sledges. ‘Tukay’s Way’ passes through picturesque places that will make for highly memorable photos. As you travel through, you will witness Tatar village houses and their way of life, and of course have an opportunity to recharge your energy levels with delicious Tatar cuisine, made from local, quality products.

We hope that ‘Tukay’s Way’ makes its way onto your bucket list since its goal is to give tourists a firsthand experience to see Tatarstan’s cultural heritage, promote a healthy lifestyle to people of all ages and leave many pleasant memories, enough to want to do it again.

All information related to the route can be found on their official website.
A presentation of a portion of the route will take place on 29th June in Arsk, passing through the villages of Koshlauch, Uchili and Staroye Churilino. The journey will take about 8 hours to walk 21 kilometres to the final point of the trip - Novy Kyrlay.

At 7:30am on 29th June, all who are willing are welcome to assemble at the Central Railway Station in Kazan to catch one of the morning trains to Arsk (train departure times are 7:53am and 8:15am). The train journey will take just under two hours. At 10:00am on the square of the Arsk Railway Station, the presentation of the route will take place, which will cover the creation of Tukay’s Way, its features, the total length and sites along the way.

At 12:00pm, all travelers will set off on the journey, which will end in Novy Kyrlay at 8:00pm that night. There will be cafes and shops along the way, as well as hotels to spend the night, however those who wish are welcome to bring their tents to spend the night out among nature. The following day, travelers will be transported by bus from Novy Kyrlay back to Arsk, where an electric train will take everyone back to Kazan at 9:24pm.

What to take with you on the trip: Tips from Eter Ilyina (a seasoned tourist who walked 212 kilometres of the Camino de Santiago):

Comfortable shoes (sneakers or trekking boots)

Spare pair of comfortable shoes in case of rain or foot injuries such as blisters

Light bag or backpack (for one-day trips)

Plastic water bottle

Hat (can be anything that can protect your head - cap, scarf, or other)

Raincoat (preferably a few sizes larger so you can wear it with a backpack)

Warm jacket

Wet wipes or hand sanitizer

Trekking poles*

A throw or towel to sit on during breaks*

Plasters, iodine, elastic bandage, medication (including any allergy medications) and mosquito repellent*

Some spending money for the organized group lunch, snacks (about 600 roubles) and souvenirs, as travelers will find Tatar cuisine and souvenir shops along the way.

 * optional

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