“Classic” Russian resorts often focus on recreation of people during warm seasons, and the majority of the Russian citizens perceive them like this. EcoTurizm.Expert talked to Kislovodsk Mayor Yevgeny Moiseyev and found out what activities were the most interesting at the Kislovodsk’s resorts in winter, and what changes would be made in the city in the near future.
- Most of people think that the resort city of Kislovodsk is a place where it is nice to spend your vacations in the warm season. Is this opinion correct? Do much fewer guests come here in winter to spend their vacations? Please describe a “winter” resort visitor!
- Thanks to its nature and climate, Kislovodsk is a year-round resort. In some years, there are up to three hundred sunny days a year. Therefore, the tourist flow to Kislovodsk does not stop even in autumn and winter, and vacationers walk along the terrain cure paths of the Kislovodsky National Park and breath clean and fresh air. For example, during these New Year holidays, about 16 thousand people had rest and treatment at the Kislovodsk health centres. And these are only those who stayed in our health centres, but additionally, some people came to our city by car from the neighbouring cities, stayed at a hotel or in private apartments. So, the real number is much higher. It is also good that every year, increasingly more young people come to the city - those who are attracted by our architecture and the historical centre, who love to go in for winter sports like skiing or snowboarding. From Kislovodsk, many of the tourists go to Arkhyz, Dombai and Elbrus. Of course, there are more vacationers in Kislovodsk during the high summer season, but we also have a lot of guests in winter.
- Kislovodsk boasts not only of mineral water. What are other activities the visitors can enjoy, especially in the cold season?
- Each resort in the Caucasian Mineral Waters has its own focus and specialization, Kislovodsk offers rehabilitation and treatment of cardiovascular diseases. Today, we are developing a new logo and brand of the city, a contest is announced for the city residents on my Instagram. The logo should be based on the image of a heart, mineral water, the forests surrounding Kislovodsk and, of course, the sun. it should mean that we put in our hearts and the heart of the city in curing the heart diseases of the Russians. We came up with a hashtag Кисловодск - #городтвоегосердца (Kislovodsk - #City of Your Heart).
And the terrain cure paths of the Kislovodsk Park created more than a hundred years ago are designed to help in the rehabilitation of heart diseases. It is a pleasure to walk along our terrain cure paths in snowless and warm winters, of course, in combination with the health and wellness procedures offered by the health centres and clinics.
- Of course, providing treatments is good and necessary, and in fact, this has been the specialization of the city since the Soviet times. And what about the leisure time? Can you offer some activities to your visitors?
- Certainly, we can! There are wonderful museums in Kislovodsk, and each of them has its interesting history. No wonder, Kislovodsk is tacitly considered the Cultural Capital of the North Caucasus. For example, the local history museum “Fortress” got its name because it is located in the Kislovodsk fortress - the first building in Kislovodsk constructed in the early 19th century near the “sour water well”. At the White Villa where painter Nikolai Yaroshenko lived, not only his paintings, but also the paintings of many other Peredvizhniks (members of the Society of Itinerant Exhibitions) are displayed. Kislovodsk also has the only museum of cosmonautics in the Region, the maritime museum, the “Chalyapin’s Dacha” museum, and others. Our guests can visit the Kursaal - the North Caucasian Philharmonic - where a symphony orchestra performs, and there is also a museum.
And today, we have plans to develop a cultural direction, to create, for example, a “cultural tour” - a tourist route allowing a vacationer to visit all the museums. Similarly, we are working on a “sports tour”, “gastronomic tour”, and others.
Therefore, I am sure that even in winter, the vacationers can find something to their liking, and every year, we will develop new recreational and cultural events.
- What do you think the city lacks to be able to attract tourists all year round?
- Today, it lacks sights and attractions. For example, I was very surprised that Kislovodsk is probably the only city in the Region without a Palace of Culture, the place where you can watch a movie, listen to a concert, visit an exhibition. But we will solve this problem in the coming years. Thanks to the support of Stavropol Governor Vladimir Vladimirov and the federal authorities, we have developed a project for the construction of a new cultural centre, and the study of the project will be completed in February this year. In our cultural centre that will be built on the site of the abandoned “Rossiya” cinema, there will be 4 cinema halls, a concert hall and cafe, as well as lofts for young people and underground parking lot for 300 cars. At this centre, film festivals will be held, conferences within the framework of business tourism, Russian and world stars will be invited to give shows.
For 15 years, there was neither a city pool nor an ice rink in Kislovodsk. And today, the construction of the “Kislovodsk Arena” is underway - a large sports complex with a swimming pool and an Olympic 50-metre track as well as a skating rink to be used by sportsmen, and the Kislovodsk residents and guests can visit them as well.
It is also necessary to attract the tourists by arranging significant events, our “landmarks”. Therefore, together with the Committee on Culture, we are developing the programmes for various festivals that will be held in Kislovodsk not only in the summer seasons.
Or, for example, a sculpture of a pissing dog was installed in our new pedestrian zone on Lenin Avenue. At first, it was perceived ambiguously, but so many tourists took photos with the dog. They post them on Instagram - and everyone can see how original and unusual our town is.
Thus, we can increase the number of tourists who come not for treatments and stay at our hotels and health centres in any season of the year.
- Are there any treatment programmes in Kislovodsk, perhaps, related to the rehabilitation after the coronavirus? How is the protection of the guests of the city ensured?
- From the very beginning of the pandemic, Kislovodsk began to accept people who had recovered from the coronavirus for their rehabilitation. Special inhalations and other procedures, clean air, middle altitude conditions - all this contributes to a good recovery after a serious illness. And Kislovodsk is one of the first cities in Russia where helium was used for rehabilitation. Helium proved to be effective in treating the lung diseases. During the procedure, a person breathes heated helium gas for about 15 minutes, it helps oxygenate the lungs. A person gets rid of oxygen starvation, so, the rehabilitation goes much faster.
In addition, on behalf of Vladimir Vladimirov, the governor of the Region, the doctors who worked in the “red (Covid-19) zone” and got infected are rehabilitated at the Kislovodsk health centres.
Kislovodsk was a hospital city during the war, and during the Covid-19 pandemic, it becomes one of the best places for rehabilitation.
- What are the prospects for Kislovodsk, how do you see the city, say, in five years?
- Today, many social facilities are under designing and construction in Kislovodsk, such as kindergartens, schools, sports centres and playgrounds. At the same time, the investment climate is also improving and new health centres and corporate holiday facilities are being built. In 2021, the investments amounted to 10 billion roubles, the lion’s share of which is private funding. We are developing now a new investment platform - Solnechnaya Dolina (Sunny Valley). A special economic zone will operate there, new resorts and health centres will be built, and a tourist infrastructure will be created.
I am sure that in the next five years, Kislovodsk will change for the better, become more comfortable and convenient for its residents and vacationers. For example, over these 5 years, we plan to completely repair and bring in order all the city roads, even those that have never been paved. Almost 150 roads will be repaired, which will require over 2 billion roubles. We are also designing two additional access roads to the city - the Western and Northern bypasses, which will reduce the traffic load, especially in the central part. Also, at the entrance to the city, we plan to create multi-level parking lots, where visitors can leave their cars and go to the city by public transport and electric vehicles.
We will renovate the public sewage system that has not been repaired for half a century, and reconstruct the main city ‘artery’- Pobeda (Victory) Avenue - and create a recreational area near New Lake and make a terrain cure path to connect New Lake and Old Lake. We will combine Old Lake and the Komsomolsky Park to make one large recreation area where a large city amusement and leisure park will be created.
There are a lot of plans, and I am convinced that we will implement all our plans, projects and tasks thanks to the support provided to us by the regional and federal authorities.
We will keep on working. I am sure that Kislovodsk will become the best and most famous resort in Russia!