EUROTOUR | work in progress

In 1842, by the order of Nicholas I of Russia, more than 1,200 Nagaybak Cossack families (an ethnoreligious group of Orthodox Tatars) were forcibly evicted beyond the Ural ridge, where they carried out guard duty on the country’s southern borders. Nagaybaks were involved in hostilities on the western and southwestern borders of the empire. In particular, before their resettlement, they participated in the battles against Napoleon’s invasion in 1812−1814. In 1843–1847 in memory of these and other combats of the XVIII-XIX centuries on the territory of Europe, a number of Ural villages settled by Nagaybaks received the names of European toponyms: Paris, Berlin, Kassel, Arcis, Leipzig, Varna, Warsaw, Trebbia, Fère-Champenoise, Ostrolensky, and others — almost 20 settlements in total. For some residents of these places, the legends about the military glory of their ancestors and so-called European roots become a subject of pride, for others, this connection imperceptibly dissolved in a complicated cocktail of local identities.

In her project, Anastasia Bogomolova, along with coauthors Tatyana Pellenen and Olga Fedchenko, makes a series of trips to this peculiar Europe in the Urals as to the source of the dream of discovering a big world that is not found in the far distances, but which reveals its authenticity very close by. Linked to the modern Grand Tour patterns, Eurotour is both a gesture of escape and an exploration of the boundaries of the touristic experience.