Along amber-coloured way aboard a sail boat
“One of the most ancient trade routes once passed through here: eventually called the ‘amber route’ — delivering the gem from the Baltic countries. Who knows, maybe even the Vikings reached here on their ships,” ponders Alla Polikarpuk, speaking of the River Mukhavets.
“One of the most ancient trade routes once passed through here: eventually called the ‘amber route’ — delivering the gem from the Baltic countries. Who knows, maybe even the Vikings reached here on their ships,” ponders Alla Polikarpuk, speaking of the River Mukhavets. It passes through her agro-estate, which inspired the idea of building a boat.
Its hull lies in the courtyard of her agro-estate, nearly 9m long and 3m wide. Unlike most boats, its bottom is flat, with an extended rostrum, built in the same manner as an ancient Viking dragon ship, used for battle. This one, named the Oseberg in honour of Norway’s 1904 find, is created in Peski and is not an exact copy, being several times smaller, and not constructed in exactly the same way.
Ms. Polikarpuk passes her hand across the hull, made from a special plastic with properties of buoyancy. A Kobrin enterprise made it for her, while carvers added wooden details varnished with linseed oil; later, another coat will be added to artificially age the wood.
With its sculptural head of a dragon — an obligatory attribute of Scandinavian warships — mounted at the bow, it has its own proud air. Its mast and sail will soon be ready to take guests on river cruises. Local inspectors will need to decide how many can safely be carried. The journey could reach as far as the Zhabinka District and, even, the Brest District. It would be wonderful if estates from the neighbouring districts (which are part of the ‘Mukhovetska Kumora’ tourist destination) were able to join.
Alla hopes to see her Oseberg launched by autumn but it’s more likely to take its maiden voyage in spring 2015, financed by the UNDP’s Local Entrepreneurship and Economic Development project.
With Belarusian cuisine and beautiful landscapes offered on her estate, Alla feels confident that tourists will soon be coming to stay, especially over busy holiday periods. Her cruise is sure to become a highlight of any vacation.
Into the theme
The original oak Viking ship, named the Oseberg, was unearthed in 1904, in the Norwegian province of Vestfold, and is currently exhibited in the Viking Ship Museum in Oslo. It was afloat in the first third of the 9th century, used for coastal navigation and as a funeral vessel. It could sail at a speed of 10 knots, had 15 pairs of rowlocks for 30 oarsmen, and its mast stood 6-10m.
The UNDP’s Local Entrepreneurship and Economic Development project is being realised with the Ministry for Sports and Tourism — in the Minsk, Brest and Grodno regions. It aims to support private micro, small and medium-sized enterprises in the eco-tourism sphere. By 2015, 17 tourist destinations are to launch across the Brest and Grodno regions — united thematically and offering full services. Project funding is set at almost $2m.