Villages show rural attractiveness
Villages are becoming ever more popular as places in which to settle permanently, as well as destinations for relaxing holidays. The latest trend is for city dwellers to set aside the hustle and bustle of urban life for quiet contemplation of the countryside
Almost 2,000 agro-eco estates are registered countrywide (up from 1,500 in early 2012). A decade ago, our neighbours led the way; now, Belarus surpasses Lithuania’s 1,000 estates and Latvia’s 500.
Naturally, running a business in the countryside is unlikely to make you a millionaire, as Andrey Nizhnik admits. The owner of Zarechany estate explains, “We’re open to visitors from Friday to Sunday and it’s hard work, which is why we rest on Monday and Tuesday. On the other days, we maintain the property, rebuilding, and purchasing items to make visitors feel comfortable.”
In fact, to be successful, you need to live and breathe your business. Valeria Klitsounova, who chairs the Rest in a Village Society, views village life as a cornerstone of Belarusian identity. Mr. Nizhnik adds, “Your neighbours notice your efforts and it inspires them also. Where we beautify our environment by digging a pond or laying a road, people are driven to emulate our efforts. In this way, we are reviving the village together.”
Over the past 10 years, the Rest in a Village Society has attracted about $1m of investments. Several international festivals of culture and everyday life have been organised — such as the famous Motol food festival — and once forgotten villages have joined tourist routes. Visitors from as far away as the USA, Australia and New Zealand have stayed in our rural idylls, receiving fond memories to take home and share with friends and family.