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People from all over the world come to Bazhovs homeland for tales and malachite

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People from all over the world come to Bazhovs homeland for tales and malachite


Sergey Vinogradov

Yumi, a Japanese woman, learned Russian, moved to Russia and traveled all over the Urals, because in childhood she used to listen to her mother reading tales by Pavel Bazhov, a Russian writer, in Japanese. They contain the whole world of malachite craftsmen, emerald lizards and mountain wizards, and its charm is not lost when the tales are translated into hieroglyphs or Arabic script. Every year guests from many countries of the world come to the Memorial house-museum of Pavel Bazhov in Yekaterinburg. “I personally know five people who moved to the Urals because of Bazhov and his tales,” Ekaterina Kislova, the museum director, told the Russkiy Mir reporter.

On the days of the 140th anniversary of Pavel Bazhov, the Russkiy Mir found out that the Bazhov route, which thousands of Russians and foreigners travel every year, includes, among other things, the outhouse at the plant where Bazhov grew up, and the workshop in which his father worked. We also learned that malachite made renowned to the whole world by the story-teller, has not been mined in the Urals for a long time, but the fame of local craftsmen rattles all over the globe - malachite boxes fly to all continents.

Kokovanya’s Cottage

The Russkiy Mir was told the story of a Japanese girl in the Pavel Bazhov Museum. She was studying each exhibit item for an unusually long time and reading Russian indexes and descriptions. When the museum workers offered her help, she answered in Russian: Thank you, I will manage by myself. They started conversation. The Japanese girl shared that Bazhov's tales had changed her life. According to Ekaterina Kislova, foreigners often visit the museum

The Memorial house-museum of Pavel Bazhov in Yekaterinburg. Photo credit:

Basically, these are the groups that come to the university located opposite the museum, says the director. They are shown attractions and led up to us. However individual foreign tourists visit us as well. Some are attracted by our museum architecture, as it is located in a log hut with Russian stove. So they come to see traditional Russian household. But there are those who read Bazhovs tales and love his works. Foreigners who learn Russian come as well. We were shown a Russian textbook for foreign learners with Pavel Bazhovs texts in it. As a matter of fact, it is quite interesting how the tales are translated since their language is very special. I was told that in English translation of the Silver Hoof, the dwelling of old Kokovanya is called a cottage. I want to see how they translated the phrase My chirla has been baked. Chirla is scramble eggs.

The flow of visitors has significantly increased during the anniversary celebration weeks in January and February (Pavel Petrovich Bazhov was born on January 15 (27), 1879). Aside from foreigners and guests from the Russian regions, the museum was crowded with the Urals inhabitants. They explained their visits to the museum workers in the following way: they read about the anniversary of their fellow Uralian and decided to come together with family.

Many people imagine Bazhov as a bearded sorcerer who lives in the forest, says Ekaterina Kislova. In our museum visitors meet another Bazhov – a person, who had an amazing life full of events. He was absolutely not an infernal creature writing down some secret knowledge, but a scientist who studied the Urals with prudence. When you start studying his biography, any kind of magic disappears. Bazhov was a knowledgeable, literate and very solid person. He teaches us: do your best, but do it competently. And there is no any mysticism.

P. Bazhov. Photo credit: -.

Bazhov worked as a teacher and journalist. He headed the department of letters from the workers and peasants in the newspaper. Every day about six hundred letters were received, and he had to read them all due to work. He studied the Urals from various sources - he worked in archives, collected folklore and tried to understand the attitude of the Urals inhabitants. It is hard to believe, but Pavel Bazhov rode a bicycle to the Mistress of the Copper Mountain. Working as a teacher, he bought a two-wheel transport and rode it through villages and factories, where he sometimes stayed for a short time. Bazhov's tales were created based on letters, trips and archives.

Until 1934, it was dangerous to work with folklore, continues the director of the Pavel Bazhov Museum. The authorities did not welcome studies of popular beliefs. The situation changed dramatically after Gorky stated that the country was losing its folk culture and it was necessary to study folklore. He wrote his first tales for a folklore collection, misrepresenting his own artistic texts with folk elements for working class folklore.

Ural tales in 60 languages

During celebrations of Bazhovs 140th anniversary, time and time again it was stated that the writer had made the world discover the Urals. He presented the workers region as the land where magic lived. His tales have been translated into sixty languages of the world, and numerous later editions are constantly republished. There are many interesting things for Pavel Bazhovs admirers in Yekaterinburg and the surrounding areas.

Sysertskiy Factory. An old-time photo

His birthplace was the Sysertsky Plant, now it is the city of Sysert. There is a museum where you can learn about Bazhovs childhood years and working conditions of the plant workers. You can visit an exhibition at a local old factory in the town of Polevskoy, where Bazhovs father worked.

In the meantime, people complain that there are not as many tourists coming as they would like to. And a rare admirer of the Ural tales is able to reach the folk museum of Vladimir Ushakov, an enthusiastic local historian from the village of Raskuhi in Polevskiy district. However, the personality of the founder, who wrote a book about Pavel Bazhov, is not the only thing that makes the museum unique. It has the largest collection of writers photographs in the region. Currently it can be noticed that the state has made a pivot to development of truism. I hope that Bazhovs Urals will benefit as well, says Vladimir Ushakov

Malachite from Congo

In many ways, it is because of Pavel Bazhov each and every schoolchild knows about malachite. Bazhov used his most creative writing skills to show beauty of the Ural stone. Meanwhile, the Ural malachite cannot be found in souvenir shops: you have to go to antique dealers and overpay very dearly. Malachite in the Urals has not been mined for many decades.

When Bazhov wrote tales, malachite was actually not mined or mined in very small quantities, explains Ekaterina Kislova.The last big block of malachite found in Nizhny Tagil was used for construction of St. Isaac's Cathedral. You can see real Ural malachite in our museum, which has a sculpture of Pavel Bazhov in marble, and there is a piece of malachite in his hands.

Mistress of the Copper Mountain. Sculpture in the Bazhov Mountain Park. (the city of Zlatoust). Photo credit:

Though there is no malachite locally, there are still some craftsmen. So they work with malachite imported from the African Congo. Some of them do it because they were born in craftsmen families, and there was someone to learn from; others got involved in the profession after seeing a good opportunity to make money. After all, the "Ural craftman" is a popular brand. The craftsmen shared that only about 10 people worked with malachite throughout Yekaterinburg - the stone is hard, and the customers' expectations are too high. The city realized that this profession was dying; and in recent years many clubs have been opened to teach schoolchildren and teenagers to work with stone.

Yuri Karandayev, a native of the Urals, started working with a stone about thirty years ago. A graduate of Bauman Moscow State Technical University did not see any prospects for engineering profession in the early 1990s, so he found his salvation in the past - he got inspired by history of the Urals and Bazhovs tales. He started by working in a kitchen of a families' hostel, and then he has become the Master of the Copper Mountain - his workshop has brought together the best craftsmen, including his students - and fulfills orders of Russian and foreign clients.

According to the craftsman, traditions of work with stone are still alive in the Urals. He believes that the feeling of "no one can do that but us" is the most pleasant thing in his work. Probably Pavel Bazhov could put it as an epigraph to any of his books.


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