National Park "Meshchera"

Address:
Gus-Khrustalny, International street, 111
GPS:
55.63393349, 40.69059828

Gus-Khrustalny is known not only as a city of crystal, but also because the territory of the National Park "Meshchera" starts here. The reserve is famous for the pristine nature of the Meshchera lowland, its richest flora and fauna.

It was established in 1992 on the territory of the Vladimir region (south-east) to preserve this unique natural, historical and cultural complex. In the west the park is bordered by the Moscow region, to the southern side adjoins the Meshchera National Park of the Ryazan region. The National Park "Meshchera" of the Vladimir region occupies 118 900 hectares of land, 61% of which are given to the park, and 39% are given for economic activities to various owners.

Formed in ancient times landscape of the park is a marshy, covered with pine-birch forests plain. Forest cover of the park is 63%. Meshchera is the land of dense forests and marshes, quiet rivers and beautiful lakes. Reserve and mysterious, it found reflection in Russian folklore, in fairy tales and bylinas. Nightingale the robber, according to legend, traded on the ancient Murom tract, dens wood goblins inhabited dense forests, and water mermaids – natural reservoirs.

The territory of the National Park is rich in historical sights. There are traces of the presence of an ancient man who settled near rivers and lakes, dating back to the middle and the late Stone Age (VII-III millennium BC). On the territory of the park was an ancient trading overland Ryazan tract, connecting two cities – Ryazan and Vladimir. Meshchera forests are closely connected with the struggle of the Russian people against the Tatar-Mongol invasion. The bloody battles between the Russian warriors and Tatar detachments are witnessed by a large number of ancient graves on the territory of Meshchera.

A special kind of cultural heritage of the Meshchera is folk trades and crafts preserved among the local population: weaving from the withe, making hollowed-out boats, souvenirs made of natural material – birch bark, glass, clay. An important element of the spiritual heritage is local folklore, rituals and traditions.

The Meshchera region has long attracted and inspired poets and artists. The marvelous Meshchera nature was sung by S. Esenin and I. Levitan in their works.

The Meschera National Park is famous not only for its extraordinary nature, but also for the excellent conditions for tourists to relax. The tourist complex "Khrustalny", which is located right in the city, close to other attractions of Gus-Khrustalny, seems to precede acquaintance with the reserve. On the territory of the complex there are several unique expositions: a collection of butterflies, the largest in the Vladimir region, an exhibition of beetles, lichens. Here you can see a huge model, exactly repeating the landscape and flora of the Meshchera National Park.

In the tourist complex you can also decide on excursions and various routes (walking, bicycle, bus) along the reserve. For the convenience of tourists Meschera National Park has 14 equipped areas where you can arrange camping and live a couple of days in nature.

Short routes or, as they are called here, ecological trails are equipped with information stands, sculptures of animals that live in the park. There is even a trail dedicated to the most famous characters of Russian fairy tales: Baba-Yaga, Emelya, Ruslan and Lyudmila, Ivan Tsarevich and other fairy-tale heroes will meet on the way.

On the territory of the Meshchera National Park in Tasinsky settlement (it is about 26 km from Gus-Khrustalny) there is a unique local history complex where you can see the real Russian huts, bathhouses, wells and other objects of the 19-20th centuries under the open sky. In addition, tourists are offered interactive programs with a national flavor. Holidays, devoted to the New Year, Christmas, Shrovetide, are organized on a special scale in the local lore complex.

The National Park "Meshchera" in Gus-Khrustalny is open all year round.

Author: V. Korolkova