For the truly authentic, age-old Russia, you need to travel slightly further away from the capital. If you are adventurous enough, try heading towards Arkhangelskaya region and discover the village of Kimzha (Кимжа), some 1,500 km away from Moscow. It is a true delight for tourists craving for authentic experience.

The village dates back to early 16th century and was once famous for its copper-smelting craft, like harness bells for horses. Traditions of paganism and then those of old believers, who were known for their extreme commitment to time-honored traditions of the pre-17th century Russia, created a strange blend and an archaic atmosphere which is still palpable. Time and again, the picturesque Kimzha’s scenery and architecture inspired makers of Russian history films

If that wasn’t enough, the village has its dark and mysterious side. For years, Kimzha had the ill fame of a local center of witchcraft. The villagers were called “chernotropy” (чернотропы, or wizards/witches) and were believed to be masters of fortunetelling and spell-making.

In 2016, the village was included in the Guide to Russia’s most beautiful villages.

Where: Kimzha, Archangelskaya region, Mezen’ district.
Photo credits: Vadim Gordeev, Gennady Mikheyev

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