Recently, tourism in the Tver region is the number one topic. A separate ministry was even created for its development. The officials have an enormous amount of plans on how to invite guests. Among them is the promotion of pilgrimage travel. Several tens of millions of rubles are allocated for the restoration of churches this year.
Can the Upper Volga region become a tourist "Mecca" and what we should learn from the Italians, said Sergiy Dmitriev, priest, chairman of the Tver Union of Orthodox Laity. For the fifth year, the priest has been serving in an Orthodox church in Verona, but he always remains in touch and monitors life in his native region.
Ekaterina Evseeva, TVER. IF. U: - Father, what are the prospects for the Tver land in pilgrim tourism?
Sergiy Dmitriev: - Here we must distinguish between pilgrimage and religious tourism. Pilgrimage is not tourism after all. These are spiritual trips that people take to pray. In the Upper Volga region, pilgrims traditionally come to Nilova Pustyn, Okovtsy, Torzhok. Officials are not needed to organize trips, pilgrim organizations are enough. But there is another type of tourism associated with religion. It unites travelers who go to see religious sites as well. We have something to show. But bringing people to see the old buildings is not enough. For tourism to glorify and feed the region, we must create conditions for receiving guests. You need competent guides, organized leisure activities, places where you can dine or spend the night. The latter should be at different levels of guests, within walking distance, and not tens of kilometers from the facility. So far in the Tver region, this is almost nonexistent, which is strange. Our leaders gladly travel abroad, leave a lot of money in foreign cities and admire how beautifully everything is arranged there. But for some reason they are in no hurry to create such conditions. They only bring impressions and selfies.
- This year 40 million rubles are allocated from the federal budget to our region. for the restoration of churches. How necessary is it?
- Construction and restoration of churches is a worthy cause, many shrines are on the verge of extinction today. For sixteen years in a row, we have been conducting a procession on foot along the banks of the River of Darkness in the Kalininsky District. Even living in Italy, I always come for this. We walk more than 70 km through the places where in ancient times monasteries were located, which disappeared without a trace. It is believed that the relics of the Tver ascetics - the Monks Nektarios, Sava and Barsanuphius and some others - still lie somewhere in the ground near a beautiful and ancient river. The Church of the Nativity of John the Baptist of the 18th century in the Bologovsky district has been forever lost: it burned down in 2008. Several years ago, looters literally dismantled the Dormition Church of 1878 in Spirovo, piece by piece. There are many similar examples. The villages are empty, the temples in them are destroyed, plundered. However, it is impossible to restore everything, or maybe it is not necessary. Who, for example, will serve in a rural church, go to it, if there are no people left in the area?
- The Transfiguration Cathedral is being built in the regional center, which was the main shrine of the Tver land several centuries ago. However, the debate over whether it needs to be restored continues. What do you think?
- This will be another temple in the center of Tver, and there are already enough of them there. Unlike microdistricts, where churches are scarce. I am in favor of building churches closer to people. As Patriarch Kirill said, within walking distance. That a person should come to the temple, and not come from the other end of the city. To open parish schools at the churches, work with young people, etc. This worries me more than the revival of the Transfiguration Cathedral, which will obscure the view of the newly renovated Imperial Palace. In addition, it will be difficult to treat the cathedral as an ancient shrine. After all, it is a one hundred percent remake, built on a historical site.
- Italy, where you now live, like a magnet, attracts tourists. What should we learn?
- Yes, Italy is an amazing country. It did not have such destructive wars and revolutions as we have, in Germany or France, so many beautiful monuments have survived. But tourism here is based not only on history. Italians are holiday people. Theaters, festivals, shows are not invented by the state, but by the people themselves. Whatever they undertake, they try to do it with fun and joy. We need to learn to be in a good mood! And our officials should not interfere with people living and working. Tourism cannot develop without business. There are many cozy cafes, hotels, souvenir shops in Italy for every taste and budget. Nobody puts a spoke in their wheels, like ours! Recently, my friends opened a restaurant. I also sympathized with them, they say, you need to go through a bunch of approvals with firefighters, sanitary services, etc. To which they were surprised and said that there is no such thing in Italy. Here you open an institution, report it to the state and pay taxes. They said: “If we do not work well, people will simply not come to us. There are 70 more restaurants around us. " Quality is regulated there by healthy competition.
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