Name: Ekaterina Novikova
Profession: Journalist, photo-editor
City/Region: Altai Republic
How long have you been doing photography? What style or genre most interests you?
I have been interested in photography since my childhood. It was my father who taught me how to use a camera. I tried to work as a photographer, but about five years ago once I got a job proposal from a big Russian news agency and started my career as a photo editor there. But I still love to take pictures. I am deeply interested in documentary photography and photojournalism.
Can you give us a short description of your city? Where is it located? What is it famous for?
I took pictures of Altai republic while traveling there by car. Altai is considered to be one of the most beautiful Russian regions. It is situated far from Moscow, in Siberia. Traveling to Altai can be a fascinating journey. While traveling along the Chuysky road (one of the most beautiful roads in Russia) you see nature around you change from filelds to mountain passes and later to plains on the border with Mongolia. I spent some time near the village of Chemal, where I explored the famous Katun River. Now there are lots of hotels and guest houses on its banks, in the beautiful pine forests. Chemal is a popular tourist place – many hiking trails and river trails begin there. Some people think that Altai is a very special place. Russian legends say that a mysterious land of White water (Belovodie) is hidden somewhere in the Altai Mountains. Many occultists, philosophers and scientists have tried to find it. They say that Belovodie is a land of freedom and happiness. Russian artist and painter Nikolay Roerich explored Altai and painted some of his beautiful landscapes there. They say that Roerich found Belovodie and understood the meaning of life. Now many people visit Altai to relax, to see beautiful Siberian nature and wildlife, to understand its customs and traditions.
What is something about your city that only locals would know?
While visiting the village of Chemal you may see a very unusual thing there: a ferris wheel. You don't often see such things in a small village hidden in the taiga.
You may also buy very tasty and very cheap herbal and berry tea at the small market in Chemal. Lots of herbs and berries grow in the taiga, so it may be a very good present to bring back from Altai.
Altai honey is well known throughout Russia. Now they produce honey with berries – it is fantastic!
Which places or sites are a must for someone to see if they visit your city?
Altai landscapes are worth seeing but you should definitely find a way to reach the mountains. It is also interesting to see the Katun River. Its water has a strange turquoise color, which is why it is often called Katun turquoise.
There is one more unusual place near Chemal village: Patmos Abbey, situated on tiny Patmos Island. It appeared there in the nineteenth century. Now some monks live there. To get to Patmos, you must cross Katun river by walking on a beautiful bridge.
Anything else you would like to add?
I love traveling around Russia because I am sure that there so many wonders even where we don't expect to find anything interesting. I am sure that in the Altai the greatest wonders are not high mountains or buildings, but its pure nature and the beauty that surrounds you. When you get there, you can feel this beauty and approach it. I think that now we live in a very cruel world, but sometimes we need to relax and to have a short break, to get closer to nature, to simplify life, to see and to feel the beauty of our world. Altai is a place where you can feel it in a very special way.
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