In Shuya - soap, in Balabanovo - matches, in Gus - Crystal - glass, in Kungur - tea, and in Pokrov - chocolate: we found 5 unofficial capitals of the country and found out why you should go there right now.
Shuya: the soap capital
Soap making is the oldest industry in Shuya, a city in the Ivanovo region. Its development was promoted by the position of Shui on the navigable river Teza. The first mention of soap making is found in the scribe book of Athanasius Vekov, dated 1629.
The ancient coat of arms of Shuya, approved by Empress Catherine the Great in 1781, was a shield divided into two parts. At the top, there was a lion leopard standing on its hind legs with its head turned towards the viewer, and in the lower one - "a bar of soap on the red field, signifying the glorious soap plants in the city". The fishing was so popular that Vasilii Shuisky was called "soap tsar".
Unique exhibits that illustrate the history of the soap fishery in Shuya can be seen in the city's soap museum. The exposition includes recipes for soap making of the XVIII - XIX centuries, old samples of soap, boards for washing, moydodyr with a secret, bottles for spirits of past epochs and other useful objects in everyday life. The tour lasts about an hour. Here, in the museum, you can buy natural handmade soaps - with linden, apple, orange, lemon, grapefruit or cinnamon.
Kungur: the tea capital
Located in Perm Kungur called the tea capital of Russia: through the city passed the Siberian route, which in the XVIII century from Trans-Baikal Kyakhta was transported with Chinese tea. Over time, from an exotic curiosity, tea has turned into a traditional Russian drink.
In the XIX century, the popularity of tea continued to grow - and in 1840, the Kungur merchant Alexei Gubkin established his tea company. For several years he became the leader of tea trading in the Russian Empire. After the death of the merchant, his grandson Alexander Kuznetsov founded the commercial and industrial partnership "Alexei Gubkin's successor A. Kuznetsov and Co", bought a factory in China's Hankow for the production of pressed tea, and in Moscow - a sugar refinery. In total in the end of XIX century tea-packing factories and branches of partnership operated 15 cities of Russia, including in Kungur and Perm.
The grandson of the legendary tea-seller became a worthy successor to his grandfather. By his efforts in 1892 in Saint-Petersburg, the book was published by Subbotin "Tea and tea trade in Russia and other countries". The history of tea partnership ended in 1918 - during nationalization.
The scope of the manufactory's activities is reminiscent not only of the numerous buildings preserved in the historic center of Kungur. For "tea" chapter in the history of Kungur is devoted to the exposition in the city museum of the history of the merchant class, the setting of one of the halls of which was stylized for tea beginning of the XX century.
Balabanovo: match capital
Ordinary, fireplace and hunting: matches in Balabanovo in the Kaluga region have been produced for half a century. They could be found in every Soviet kitchen.
Experimental match factory "Plitspichprom", whose pipes are visible from almost anywhere in the city, was built in Balabanovo in the late 1940s - and earned its full power only in 1954, when it released the first boxes of matches.
In 1955, the factory produced the first matchbox souvenir set and cabinet matches, and five years later - the first matches - books. In the late 1950s, gift matches, made in Balabanovo, were shown in Brussels at the World Exhibition. Among the collectors of matchboxes, they are still highly valued today.
In 1977, the Balabanovskaya factory made a technological breakthrough: cardboard was used instead of plywood veneer for making matchboxes. In the 1970s, the factory produced about 100 billion matches a year.
Several years ago the production line of matches at the factory in Balabanovo was closed: it was not profitable to manufacture them. Instead, they began to produce wooden panels, window frames and beams on "Plitspichchprom".
Pokrov: chocolate capital
In the ancient Pokrov in the Vladimir region a third part of all Russian chocolate is produced.
There is a monument devoted to chocolate - in the form of a three-meter fairy - and there is a museum of chocolate.
It is possible to get acquainted with the history of this delicacy - from the discovery of cocoa beans by Maya to modern production lines, and also try the hot chocolate drinks. And on the last Saturday of June in Pokrov the Day of chocolate is celebrated.
Goose-Crystal: the glass capital
The historical capital of Russian crystal was founded in 1756. In the same year, the legendary glass factory began its work.Manufactory was founded by merchant Akim Maltsov. For the next century and a half the factory belonged to the merchant - noble family Maltsov. The factory applied all the technical innovations, only - just appeared in Europe. In addition, a unique diamond face was created here, which formed the basis for the development of a new direction in the art of decorating crystal.
In the glass capital of Russia, thousands of crystal products were produced such as vases and decanters, wine glasses and shtofs, plates and glasses. It is valued and abroad: for example, in 1893, crystal vases were awarded the bronze medal and certificate of honor at the World Exhibition in Chicago, and in 1900 - Grand Prix - at the World Exhibition in Paris.
The best works of the Gusev masters are collected in the city museum of crystal, the exposition of which is located in St. George's Cathedral.
In 2012, the glass factory in Gus-Khrustalny was closed, but a year later - revived. Now the masters specialize in the manufacture of custom crystal handmade on individual orders.