Tourism for the brave

Veterans of Afghanistan and Chechnya - about their combat experience and life today

The world's most extreme tourism destinations

In the modern world, it is difficult to surprise someone with your photos against the backdrop of the Eiffel Tower or the Egyptian pyramids - these popular attractions have long lost their effect of novelty. However, there are many more truly extreme tourism destinations on the planet. Today we will tell you about 10 amazing places on Earth, having visited which you can then surprise your friends with stories all your life.

Where: Pamplona, ​​SpainHow much is it worth seeing at the Ensierro in Pamplona: on the street - free of charge, from the balcony - 60-140 euros (4700 - 11000 rubles)

Bumping into running bulls on a narrow street is not fun. But hot Spaniards think differently. Running the bulls in front of the bullfight and running away from them is a long-standing Spanish pastime called the ensierro. The most famous ensierro is held in Pamplona on the feast of Saint Fermin, from 6 to 14 July. Anyone over the age of 18 can participate in the race. But fighting bulls are not cute calves, they can plant on a horn. So it is better to look for a balcony in advance on Relafeta Street to watch the angry animals from a safe height.

More fun: Spanish holidays and festivals to miss this year

Where: Harer, EthiopiaHow much is it worth seeing at feeding hyenas: 50–100 birr (120–240 rubles) per person

The inhabitants of the Ethiopian city of Harer are friends with hyenas. Predators work as city scavengers: they eat bits in landfills and hunt for living creatures so that rats do not force people out of the city. So Ethiopians are even glad that hyenas roam the streets freely at night. And so that the predators are docile, they are fed. When it gets really dark, catch a tuk-tuk that will take you to the feeding place. First, watch the Ethiopian fish out of the basket for meat, which is instantly swallowed by the spotted flock. Then try it yourself: treat a hyena with meat from your hand. Or even cooler - take a stick in your mouth, hang a fat piece on it and wait for the beast to take it off. Just don't make any sudden movements - who knows, these hyenas.

More animals: The most unusual zoos from around the planet

Where: Mount Huashan, China How much does it cost to get to Mount Huashan: a ticket to the mountain - 100-180 yuan (1000-1800 rubles), depending on the season, entrance to the "death path" - another 30 yuan (300 rubles)

Huashan is one of the five sacred mountains of Taoism, but the path to spirituality is not easy. Previously, among the steep slopes, sages and hermits hid, and to this day, impressive paths over the cliffs lead to the peaks. The steepest is the "Death Trail" at the South Peak. You will have to make your way along narrow wooden planks nailed to a vertical cliff at an altitude of 2000 meters. At the entrance, everyone is supplied with safety systems, but it's still scary to the point of wet palms. If you dare to put your feet on the trail and hang on a rope above the clouds, you can consider that the most extreme vacation in your life was a success.

Next Door: 15 Places You Can't Forget in ChinaThe best beaches in China: Sanya, Hainan, Hong Kong and more

Descend into the volcano crater

Main impressions

What will we do on the tour

We will overcome about 1000 km., in a comfortable car, we will cross the majestic Hindu Kush twice along the Salang pass. We will see the famous Amin's palace, the walls of which still keep the memory of the operation of the legendary group "Alpha", feed the pigeons under the azure minarets of the Ali Mausoleum, climb the fortresses of the times of Alexander the Great in ancient Balkh, walk along the winding streets of oriental bazaars, taste tea based on the best saffron in the world and we will taste all the variety of local cuisine in the teahouse.


Detailed program

06 May Kabul

Arrival. Passing passport and visa control. Meeting with representatives of the host side. Transfer to Kabul Guest House. Accommodation. Currency exchange. In the afternoon, departure for a sightseeing tour of Kabul. Visit to the National Museum, external inspection of the Taj Beck palace, bird market, souvenir street Chicken Street. Ascent to the TV tower, from where a panoramic view of the city opens. Dinner at the restaurant (paid additionally, average bill

15 USD per person). Return to the guest house.

07 May Kabul - Mazar-i-Sharif

Breakfast. Departure to the Department of the Ministry of Internal Affairs of Afghanistan, registration for staying in the country (free of charge, you must have 2 passport-size photographs and a copy of the spread of your passport and visa). Departure to the airport, transfer to Mazar-i-Sharif through the Salang pass (travel time 8 hours). Arrival. Accommodation at the Sameer Waleed Hotel.

May 08 Mazar-i Sharif

Breakfast. Excursion to the outskirts of the city, where, under a favorable coincidence and with the permission of the elders, for a small bakshish, we will visit one of the villages. Return to Mazar-i-Sharif. Excursion to the Blue Mosque - the religious center and the main attraction of the city. Here, for a small fee, you can take part in a traditional pigeon feeding ceremony. At the end of the acquaintance with the temple complex, an excursion to the souvenir market, where in each of the "dukans" will be offered the main product of local folk crafts - Afghan carpets. Return to the hotel.

On the eve of Defender of the Fatherland Day, the Moscow 24 portal spoke with men who had been to the wars in Chechnya and Afghanistan. Three soldiers, who in their young years managed to smell gunpowder, talk about what a person experiences in war, what values ​​are given by combat experience, and also about how their life developed after service.

Rim Akhtyamov, Marine Corps

Photo: personal archive of Rim Akhtyamov

First Chechen War (1994-1996)

At the age of 18, I served in the naval aviation near Kaliningrad, in the village of Chkalovsky, it was 1994. And at the end of the year, the first Chechen war began. Then there were not enough people in the Marine Corps and they got someone from where. We already knew that the situation there was difficult, it was scary, but we walked with a heavy heart, because someone had to do it. My colleague from the naval aviation was taken first, and then, in January 1995, it came to me. So, as part of the fifth company of the 336th marine brigade of the city of Baltiysk, I went to Chechnya.

The main companies of the Baltic Fleet were already there, and we were sent in support. By that time, there were no strong combat missions, but we had not yet had time to enter the city when a conflict had already occurred. A grenade was thrown into our tent, where 40 people slept at night, and it exploded. Three were wounded, one of them was wounded in the head, he later died in the hospital. But in the midst of hostilities, we still did not get there. But colleagues from other companies, who arrived earlier, got it. Many people died there.

What can I say, we were young soldiers, not fired upon, we were dropped off from Mozdok on "turntables" (a helicopter - ed.) in the mountains, where we trained and trained a little. By that time, I had already served for more than six months, and only in Chechnya began to keep the machine gun. Then we were sent by cars to Grozny and distributed to our homes, to checkpoints. There were night sorties, shelling, from house to house. So, with the first losses, we immediately felt what an explosion is nearby and the death of soldiers.

The worst thing was to look at the people who lived there and saw it all: Russian women and children who remained in Chechnya, no matter what. It was all very difficult for them. The war is terrible when you are in the city and you never know where they will shoot you from. We always moved around the city for several people.

It was also difficult in everyday life. They lived in houses, did not wash for weeks, wore the same clothes, all dirty, grimy. There were also problems with water, but it is clear that the conditions in the war were not the right ones to think about everyday conveniences. Although, despite all the difficulties, my friends and I always supported each other, there were never any conflicts between us. Of course, people had breakdowns, but we mentally tried to always help.

Photo: personal archive of Rim Akhtyamov

For participation in this war, I received a medal "For Courage". We returned from the war on March 7, 1995, our entire battalion was taken to Red Square for the 50th anniversary of the Victory Day parade on May 9. But I missed this moment, spent in the hospital.

Of our four platoons, all but one have returned. Three were wounded.

At the end of May he returned back to the Chkalovsky settlement and continued serving in his unit in the naval aviation, and in December 1995 he returned home to Novy Urengoy. Then he got a job as an electrician. Now I live with my family in Salavat, the Republic of Bashkortostan, and continue to work in the north on a rotational basis. My wife and I are raising three beautiful daughters.

In March, I wanted to finish posting on the 40th anniversary of the start of the Afghan military campaign. But after the article "The Hidden War" about the first Nizhny Novgorod citizens who fell in Afghanistan, readers turned to me, who asked me to tell about the details of the battle in which our fellow countryman, sergeant of the 66th separate motorized rifle brigade, Yuri Kukushkin, went missing. This battle, in which a whole company of Soviet motorized riflemen died, is one of the most dramatic episodes of that war ...

Moreover, around this battle there are still many different kinds of misunderstandings, omissions and even the most real mysteries. In general, I decided to respond to readers' requests and conduct my own investigation of the tragedy, which turns 40 on these days in May.

Official version

So, we are talking about a combat operation of the 66th separate motorized rifle brigade of the 40th army on the Afghan-Pakistani border, Kunar province. In fact, this was the first real combat operation of the brigade after the entry of our troops into Afghanistan - during its conduct on May 11, 1980, one of the brigade's motorized rifle battalions, disembarking from helicopters in the area of ​​the village of Khara, marched along the Pechdara River gorge. During the campaign, the battalion stretched out greatly.

The second and third companies moved forward. But the first, which at first covered the landing from the commanding height, and then had to close the battalion's movement, waited for the order to move only two hours after the start of the march.

That is, the company broke away from the main forces of the battalion, which was used by the spooks. A real avalanche of fire fell on the soldiers from the surrounding mountains. Most of the company, along with the attached soldiers of the mortar battery and the platoon of the AGS (automatic grenade launcher on the machine), died immediately. The survivors took refuge in a house on the outskirts of the Khara village, where they fought off enemy attacks until nightfall.

According to the official version of events, the commander of these people was senior lieutenant Nikolai Shornikov, political officer of the company. It was allegedly he who later gave the order to leave the encirclement, while he himself remained to cover the retreat behind a machine gun. When the cartridges ran out, Shornikov blew himself up with a grenade so as not to be captured - for this he was later awarded the title of Hero of the Soviet Union. The rest managed to go out to their ...

... However, the participants in these tragic events themselves paint a somewhat different, to put it mildly, picture. And this picture is much more shocking. In particular, it was presented by a direct participant in the battle, Lieutenant Igor Kotov. In 1980, he was the commander of a control and reconnaissance platoon of a mortar battery; during an operation near the village of Khara, he was on a reconnaissance patrol. On this occasion, he published a series of articles on the Internet, as well as the book “Betrayed by the Empire. Lieutenant's Notes ”, which became a real military bestseller in the countries of the former Soviet Union.

It was smooth on paper ...

First of all, Kotov assesses the battalion leadership rather negatively. As he writes, on the eve of the operation, the battalion command left for the city of Jalalabad to the bazaar, and on the way back the car turned over: in the car there was Captain Perevalov, the battalion commander, Senior Lieutenant Oleinich, the battalion chief of staff, and Major Kitov, the battalion's deputy.

Each of them received injuries that prevented them from participating in hostilities. Therefore, the commander of the first company, Captain Kosinov, was put in charge of the duties of the battalion commander, and the commander of the mortar battery, Captain Knyazev, was the acting chief of staff. That is, people who have never before commanded such a large formation in battle!

But what was the task of the battalion. In the official language, it consisted in the landing of an operational-tactical assault force to the depth of the operation (15–20 km) and in the organization of a battalion stronghold on commanding heights - until the arrival of the third battalion, which, in fact, was entrusted with the task of clearing the gorge from dushmans. The landing site was determined by the Khara village area, the most suitable for dropping - a flat area of ​​a poppy field without drops, about 50-70 meters wide and about 100 meters long on the Asadabad-Barrikot-Barkandai dirt road. The operation begins at 4 a.m. on May 11, 1980. The terms of the operation are 20 days.

That is, the battalion had to remain in place immediately after the landing and wait for the approach of another unit. But instead of this, Kosinov and Knyazev for some reason decided to move down the Pechdara gorge, towards the third battalion - it is possible that with their "combat initiative" to comb the gorge they wanted to earn the favor of their superiors. Moreover, they did not agree on the normal time of movement on the march, and as a result, the first company, covering the landing of the assault from a mountain height, began to advance with a great delay.

Afghanistan is an Islamic Republic. For a long time, it was considered one of the most religious countries in the world, where men and women strictly follow Muslim doctrine. However, behind the beautiful wrapper there are dark secrets that the government has long tried to keep silent about. What are bacha-posh and bacha-bazi? Let's figure it out in our material.


According to UN research, Afghanistan is the worst country to be born a girl. Women do not have any rights and opportunities there: they do not study, do not have hobbies, do not work and are completely dependent on men. Being a girl is shameful, and even more shameful is giving birth to girls. If the family does not have a single son, then society mocks her. That is why the practice of bacha-posh emerged in Afghanistan, which helps to raise social status.

Bacha-posh translates as “disguised as a boy,” but the point is not only about changing clothes. The little girl begins to be raised as a guy: she is cut short, taken to school, allowed to associate with boys, given freedom and treated more respectfully than other daughters. Bacha-posh feel confident next to real guys and often no one even suspects that imposters are in their environment.

In some families, it is believed that the transformation of one of the daughters into a boy will help a woman give birth to a son next time. And for every Afghan family, it is important to have an heir - this is considered a gift from God. In addition, it is the man in the Muslim family who is the continuer of the clan and the heir to the property, while the girls are given in marriage, and they cannot claim the inheritance even if the daughter is the only child in the family.

A woman capable of giving birth to a son also receives honors. In this case, it is considered successful and fulfilled. To give birth to a girl is considered a terrible misfortune and shame, and, of course, the man takes out all his anger on his recently given birth to his wife, whom he can beat and not let into the house. At the same time, people around constantly say that life can be considered full only when you have a son. It is not surprising that due to social pressure, the practice of bacha posh is found in almost every third family.

What's remarkable is that many girls like their new role. They get many benefits and even stop feeling like women. Reincarnation in bacha-pos is difficult.

Yes, a girl cannot be in the guise of a man all her life, therefore, when puberty comes, the daughter is returned to her previous state and they try to get married as soon as possible. And if sons have not appeared in the family by this time, then the status of bacha-pos is inherited to the next daughter.

Successful marriages are extremely rare for bacha-posh. During the entire period, while the girl lived the life of a boy, she lost many "female" skills. In addition, she was not taught to do housework, and she was used to being on an equal footing with a man, which is considered unacceptable by Muslims.

Afghan director Siddiq Barmak made a dramatic film "Osama" about bacha-posh in 2003. In the film's plot, a poor widow dresses her 12-year-old daughter in men's clothes so that she can work and support older women. Over time, the truth comes out, and the girl is brought to trial, which will save her life only if she marries.

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