The Association of the most beautiful villages of Russia unites rural communities, possessing outstanding historical, cultural and natural heritage to promote conservation and best utilization of this heritage, rural tourism development, the involvement of rural inhabitants in processes of self-development and increasing the attractiveness of rural areas. Members of the the Association have to be “live” (not museum) villages, hamlets, auls and other rural settlements with population less than 2 000 people, which have preserved, at least partially, the rural lifestyle and have expressed the desire to develop in accordance with the purposes and objectives of the Association, respecting its criteria.
Creation of positive examples of rural development through more comprehensive involvement of the existing recreation potential of the village.
Creation of prerequisites for development of rural areas through the strengthening of their popularity, increasing attendance by tourists and thus promote their sustainable development.
Stimulation of local initiatives and promotion of the emergence of new attractive jobs in rural areas, including for young people and women.
The founder and President of the Association is Professor at RGAU-MSHA named after K. A. Timiryazev, doctor of economics Merzlov Alexander Valerievich. Active assistance and support to the project are provided by the Association the most beautiful villages of France and the Embassy of France in Russia. Furthermore, we have developed a team consisting of experts and practitioners of rural development.
The village Andrichevo (Andrichevskaya) is located in the Velsk district of Arkhangelsk region on the road from highway M8 towards Kargopol and Nyandoma. The main attractions of Andrichevo are wooden church in the name of St. Nicholas, built in the 50s of the 19th century, Andrichevskaya bell tower of second half of the 19th century and pendant bridges across the river Puya.
ATSAGAT is a village situated 50 km away from Ulan-Ude, capital of Buryatia. It is an old Buryat village, whose native residents are descendants of Guchit tribe. There are very few villages now in Buryatia where native language is mainly spoken. Atsagat village has about 100 homesteads. There is a secondary school and a boarding school where children from adjacent schools live and study from Monday to Saturday.
Solid, beautifully painted houses of local residents stand along straight, well maintained streets of the village. Each house is decorated with carved architraves, elements of décor, the house and the gate, the buildings are usually painted with colored inks that not only helps to keep the house for many years in good condition, but also pleasing to eye, creates a special holiday mood.
The village of Bukhalovo is located in Plesetsk district of Arkhangelsk region on the shores of south bay of lake Dolgoe. Easiest way to get here by water, by road it is difficult. On the hill in the village there is the Chapel in honor of St. Nicholas the Wondermaker of the late XVIII – early XIX century of kletsky type with the bell tower, where even survived the bell. The bell tower offers a wonderful view of the lake and surroundings.
The village is not far from Selenga River, nearby is Barsky Ridge overgrown with centuries-old forest, around are untouched valleys with pure springs. And everywhere are berries, mushrooms, birds and animals, and, most importantly, near the narrow valley is an unheard-of steppe for cattle pasture. What else a big village can need. Arable lands here are “nourishing”, fruitful.
The village of Kimzha, founded in the early XVI century by a peasant from Pinega, is located in the Mezen district of the Arkhangelsk region. The permanent population of the village is about 100 people, but during the holidays and summer, when vacationers and relatives come, population increases in several times. There are 71 historical buildings in Kimzha, 1 of which is the five-domed wooden hip-roof Odygitriya Church constructed in 1709 of federal significance.
The village of Kinerma is located in Pryazhinsky district of Republic of Karelia, in the western part of the ethnic area Karel-levikov in 6 km to South-West from the village of Vedlozero. The complex of houses and buildings of the village, built before the revolution, is a unique monument of wooden architecture.
The main landmark of Oshevensky Pogost is considered to be the Holy-Dormition Aleksandro-Oshevensky monastery, founded in 1453 by the Saint Alexander Oshevensky. The monastery is located at the entrance to the village, in Soviet times, he was devastated and abandoned, but now it is open again and under reconstruction.
The distinctive spiritual culture of Tarbagataysky district, Republic of Buryatia’s old ritualists was proclaimed by UNESCO in May, 2001 in Paris as a “Masterpiece of mankind’s oral and intangible heritage” and included in the first list of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO). To the south from Ulan-Ude, near Lake Baikal, the land of rare beauty is spread out.
There is the wooden Church of Zosima and Savvaty of Solovki built in 1850. Also, there is a unique monument – the wooden triple complex, the only remaining among located right on the seashore. It consists of St. Nicholas Church (1636), Vvedenskaya Church (1793) and belltower (XVIII century).
The old merchant village of Vyatskoe is situated in Nekrasovsky district – one of the most environmentally friendly and historically significant areas of Yaroslavl region, 30 kilometres away from Yaroslavl city by Lyubimskaya Road, and 300 kilometres away from Moscow. The fascinating history of these places, favourable geographical location, richest natural resources make this region an attractive land for tourists.