Anya and I spent our first day in the town of Shushenskoye, a town of 20,000, where the offices for Sayano-Shushensky Biosphere Reserve are located. The next day we headed out to the reserve.
City government building in Shushenskoye.
Church in Shushenskoye.
Shushenskoye's claim to fame is that Lenin was exiled here for 3 years, from 1897-1900, during the reign of Russia's last tsar, Nikolai II. We took a tour of the Shushenskoye ethnographic museum, which was basically a Lenin tour, with some other houses from the time period thrown in. Above I am standing in front of the house Lenin, "the leader the the world's proletariat", lived in from 1897-98.
This guy is showing us how they used to make those classic Russian wooden spoons in villages in Siberia. (At the ethnographic museum.)
It didn't sound like Lenin had it too rough in exile. Actually, kind of sounded like a well-paid vacation to Siberia. Lenin liked to head out of Shushenskoye and go hunting about 20 km out of town, in the territory that is now part of Shushensky Bor National Park. Here Anya and I are standing in front of the hut where Lenin would take a break during his hunting capades.
The sign says "Hut. Lenin liked to relax here while hunting."
We are totally relaxing to the fullest!
A little change of pace: this is the river-boat station on the Enisei River in the town of Shushenskoye. In a totally cool project - the brain child of the director of Sayano-Shushensky Reserve - the reserve bought up this building in 2000, when it was in a total state of disrepair (i.e., no glass in the windows, etc.). The reserve invested its own money to restore the building and turn it into a gym/nature exhibit in one. Now residents of the town of Shushenskoye can go workout here, so the reserve has taken on a societal role in keeping people healthy, and the fees the gym-goers pay go toward the reserve's budget. There are information signs about all the reserves of the Altai-Sayan region here, plus many professional photographs, info about other reserves, etc. So instead of watching talk TV while working out, people can watch and read about the amazing natural places in their own backyard. A pretty unique idea. The station also houses a conference room equipped with a projector and all, as well as the offices for the Association of Zapovedniks and National Parks of the Altai-Sayan Region.
We had a great place to stay in Shushenskoye - in the Sayano-Shushensky Reserve's little hotel lodge. Here's a picture from the outside. We were very well taken care of.