During the Soviet era, every family tried to travel: they improved their health in sanatoriums, and the luckiest ones managed to go abroad. True, this was not easy to do. We remember how and where the Soviet people rested.
In the USSR, it was an honor to have a rest on the seas and resorts, and the very idea of travel not in their native lands was elevated to an absolute.
Tourism in the USSR was closely related to health and development of the native land. The government tried to encourage citizens to travel around the country. Campaign posters said: "Tourism is the best vacation", "Travel through the mountains of the Caucasus" and "I saved up money in the Savings Bank, bought a ticket to the resort."
Soviet tourism is a vacation in a sanatorium, a vacation by “savages” on the country's beaches, and even trips abroad. But in the 1920s it all started with a hiker. The first Soviet tourist organization, the Bureau of School Trips, appeared. For adults, excursions began to be organized by trade unions. These were multi-day hikes along the routes that became all-Union: route 30 - three weeks on foot in the mountainous Caucasus, route 58 - 345 km by boat along the Ural river Chusovaya.
In the Stalin era, active tourism continues to develop, at the same time, rest homes and sanatoriums are gaining popularity, where you can get on a ticket from the trade union.
“The Soviet resort is, first of all, a health resort, a place where health is repaired, where they rest after a lot of work done and get recharged for work in the future.
And the resort becomes a similar place only thanks to the special qualities of nature that surrounds it, ”wrote the magazine“ Soviet Architecture ”in 1929, stressing that nature is not a decoration, but“ a working part of the resort system ”.
And the health resorts were working. "I lost a kilo and a half on your steam bath!" - complained the hero of the 1936 film "Girl in a hurry to date".
In the era of Khrushchev, extreme tourism gets an impetus. Student youth is even more active in rafting along rivers and conquering mountains. "We are choosing a difficult path, dangerous, like a military path," - the song of Vladimir Vysotsky sounded in the film "Vertical", and, of course - "Only mountains can be better than mountains." In addition, at that time they begin to rest in a "wild" way - for example, they rent a room on their own in a city by the sea.
Despite the Iron Curtain, there were still niches in the Soviet Union that were not forbidden to foreigners. One of these niches was cruises on Soviet motor ships. Citizens of the USSR were also not deprived of the benefits of civilization: the elite could go on a cruise in order to live "life abroad" at least for a short time.
In this post you will find photographs from booklets from the 70s and 80s advertising cruise vacations, a kind of Western life on Soviet cruise ships
During the Soviet era, when travel abroad was a rarity and a symbol of incredible prestige, cruises were very popular among Soviet citizens. Of course, this mainly concerned not sea cruises, but river cruises - primarily along the Volga and its tributaries.
Such cruises were very popular among the citizens of the USSR, since the vouchers were distributed through trade union organizations and were delivered to employees of large enterprises much cheaper than the real cost, for only 30%. Sometimes discounts reached 90-95%. The rest of the sum was paid by the trade unions and the state.
For a very big pull or (for special achievements in labor) through the trade union line, it was possible to purchase a ticket to a sea cruise - on the Black and Mediterranean Seas. It was on such a cruise that the hero of Yuri Nikulin from the beloved film "The Diamond Arm" was lucky enough to get there. The lucky ones, caressed by fate, could even get on sea voyages around Japan and along the coast of West Africa.
The choice of capitalist countries for a tourist trip was small: several groups were sent to Finland every year, especially selected ones - on a sea cruise "Around Europe" or "On the Mediterranean Sea", simpler tourists - on a cruise "On the Danube", one -two groups a year were sent to France or England, Austria, Canada, USA. Sometimes there were exotic tours: for example, in 1961 - "Through the countries of Africa", in 1962 - India, in 1969 - "Tunisia, Algeria, Cuba", in 1972 - a cruise around Japan.
The cost of the vouchers was different. A cruise around Europe on one of the most comfortable liners of that time, Shota Rustaveli, cost 500-800 rubles (depending on the class of the cabin). A cruise around West Africa on the Bashkiria motor ship cost from 600 to 827 rubles, plus the road to Odessa and the purchase of currency for 24 rubles.
The history of Soviet sea tourism began in 1957, when Intourist rented two ships - Pobeda and Georgia, on which sea voyages around Europe and Odessa were carried out to Leningrad. By the way, it was on "Pobeda" that the famous comedy "The Diamond Arm" was filmed - in it the ship acted as "Mikhail Svetlov".
A serious cultural and excursion program was prepared for foreign tourists during such cruises
Intourist, a monopolist on the Soviet tourist market, was involved in organizing not only group tours, but also individual sea and river cruises, trips of foreigners to Soviet resorts, and Soviet citizens to foreign resorts. Exclusive tours were also arranged, for example, for hunting.
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