(I’ve joined Kate Motaung’s October challenge and decided to focus most of my 31 days of five-minute writing on favorite travel pictures. I am yearning to travel again but it’s just not possible now, so this is the next best thing. More than 5 minutes today … had too much to say.)
In 1991 I was an exchange teacher to Russia — 3 1/2 weeks in the Ural Mountain region of Siberia. I wrote a little about it on Day 4, but now my topic is the town where we visited. Nizhni Tagil is a steel town, one of the oldest centers in the world for mining and metallurgy, especially its enormous steel mill that spewed out pollution in epic proportions.
Visitors go to the local lore museum of Nizhni Tagil where Russia’s first steam locomotive was invented by father and son Cherepanov.
This was an important “tank city” during World War II. My husband Bo liked to tell stories about how the famous T-34 tank helped Russia defeat the Germans in World War II. The Museum of Armored Vehicles, which is listed in the Guinness Book of World Records, is located here. Interestingly, because of the tanks and other war needs like rifles that were manufactured for the war, Tagil was a closed city for many years. In fact, we had to show passports and go through the gates in order to enter the city in 1991.
There is also a museum of the history of tray production where master classes are held on the lacquer painting of the famous “Tagil trays.”
Malachite, as well as many other minerals also come from the region around Nizhni Tagil which is referred to as the Circle of Gems. In fact, there’s a malachite room in the famous Hermitage.