hidden europe

Exploring cultures and communities – the slow way

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A train of the Ostdeutsche Eisenbahn GmbH (ODEG) leaving Görlitz station for Zittau, a line which crosses the Polish-German border four times along the way (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Corridor Trains

Corridor trains (Korridorzüge in German) have a privileged status in international law which makes provision for the trains of one country to transit another country's territory without onerous bureaucracy and border checks. With the ...
Magazine article

Reading Matters

Russian Railways (RZD) have launched their Library for Young Travellers programme with a selection of books for kids on trains to holiday destinations across Russia. Hop aboard for fairy tales, classic novels and a wide choice of poetry by Russian ...
Magazine article

In from the Cold

The thrills and spills of top-class soccer are just part of the appeal of the FIFA World Cup. Sport aside, it's been a chance for visitors to feel the warmth of Russian hospitality. An amiable wolf called Zabivaka has been doing his bit to make ...
Bruges Embankment in Yoshkar Ola, capital of the Mari El Republic (photo © Artyom Mirniy / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Faking Bruges

The legacy of Leonid Markelov, who in April this year stood down from the position of President of the Mari El Republic, lies in the oddball architecture of the republic's capital city of Yoshkar ...
Magazine article

Visa News

A chance to visit Belarus without a visa, and a tweak to the visa regulations in the Russian port of Murmansk are just two of the latest changes to visa regimes in ...
The Spine of Russia is a high quality, hardcover photo book by Paul E Richardson and Mikhail Mordasov, published in July 2016. The book is a vivid portrait of modern Russian life.
Magazine article

The Berry Seller

Two new books arising from the Spine of Russia project afford a look at everyday life in the Russian Federation. In this preview of one of the books, Paul Richardson swaps notes with Igor, who is selling berries on a roadside in ...
Pushkin statue in Odessa (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

On Pushkin and locusts

  • 30 Jun 2016
They storm in, straight out of the Book of Revelation, and lay waste to the earth. Locusts! They do not make pleasant neighbours. Europe has been largely free of locusts in recent years – but not ...
Teenagers from the Soviet Union and Africa at Artek in summer 1982 (image from RIA Novosti).
Letter from Europe

A children's republic in the Crimea

  • 9 Jun 2015
This week marks the 90th anniversary of the opening of the Artek children's camp in the Crimea. Throughout post-Soviet Europe there are thousands of older people who look back with great affection to the summer holidays they enjoyed as children at ...
Magazine article

Russia’s eternal winter
  

They have fiddled with the clocks in Moscow. Not just in Moscow, but right across the Russian Federation. Russia has decided to move to perpetual winter – at least when it comes to time. For the clocks shall stay henceforth on winter ...
The Titovka roadside café is a welcome spot to have a coffee and enjoy a break from the road. It is located on the E105 to Murmansk in the north-west corner of the Russian Federation (photo © hidden europe).
Letter from Europe

Tales from Titovka

  • 5 Sep 2014
Everyone stops at Titovka sooner or later. That's the way things are up here in the far north-west corner of Russia. The Titovka roadside café is on the highway that runs west from Murmansk towards the mining towns of Zapolyarny and ...
Letter from Europe

Yuri gets a ticket

  • 25 May 2014
Yuri overstayed the limit. So he was given a ticket. Then the authorities ushered Yuri out of town. Now he's parked outside the airport terminal. How long he'll stay there is a matter for debate. Our guess is that, as long as Russians keep flying ...
The world clock on Berlin’s Alexanderplatz (photo © Patrick Poendl / dreamstime.com).
Magazine article

Timing matters
  

Russia's decision this year to abandon seasonal changes of clocks has prompted much media comment. Belarus has followed Russia's example. Ukraine, after much prevarication, has opted to stick with alternating winter and summer time. In this short ...
Letter from Europe

Report from Kalmykia

  • 8 Sep 2011
The steppes on the drive east from the capital are parched and dry. Vehicles are few and far between. They are in the main old Soviet-era jeeps and trucks, the progress of each one marked by a trail of dust that hangs heavy in the afternoon ...
Bright sun over a lake in Karelia (photo © hidden europe).
Magazine article

Songlands: a Karelian journey
  

Karelia is the land of the Kalevala, the great epic poem that so powerfully influenced the development of the Finnish national movement in the nineteenth century. We travel through the songlands of the Kalevala and look in particular at the role of ...
Kazan's Kul Sharif Mosque, the largest in Russia and a popular backdrop for wedding photos (photo © Laurence Mitchell).
Magazine article

Where cultures meet: Kazan
  

Kazan, with its gleaming new developments and clean streets, is the capital of the Republic of Tatarstan. Laurence Mitchell, a long-standing writer for hidden europe, introduces us to a part of Europe that has deeply Islamic ...
Magazine article

The Russian Federation
  

Kalmykia is the only political unit in Europe where Buddhism is the dominant religion. You think we jest! But it is true. We take a look at some of the lesser known republics within the European part of the Russian ...
Magazine article

Temple of All Religions
  

Ildar Khanov lives in a temple of his own creation. It boasts a splendid array of minarets and domes that recall many of the world’s principal religions. Not quite what you might expect to find in the suburb of a city in the Russian Federation. But ...