Udmurtia (Russian: Удму́ртская Респу́блика ood-MOORT-skuh-yuh rees-POOB-lee-kuh or Удму́ртия ood-MOOR-tee-yuh) is a region in the Upper Volga, bordering Kirov Oblast to the west and north, Perm to the east, Bashkortostan to the southeast, and Tatarstan to the south.
- 1 Izhevsk — the capital city is most famous for its weapons manufacturing, especially for its AK-47 factory, designed by native Mikhail Kalashnikov, who resided here until his death; be sure to visit the Udmurt Presidential Palace, the Kalashnikov Museum, and check out Italmas—an Udmurt folk theater and dance company
- 2 Glazov — a mid-sized industrial city on the Trans-Siberian Railway; there is an ancient Udmurt settlement, Idnakar, just outside the city that is worth investigating
- 3 Sarapul — the second largest city in the region
- 4 Votkinsk — a mid-sized industrial city with a big ICBM plant and the birthplace of the great Russian composer Tchaikovsky
Udmurtia is named for its native Finno-Ugric Udmurt people, who have inhabited the Volga Region since at least the days of Ancient Greece. The majority of the Udmurts' recorded history has been devoted to fighting for survival and rebelling against their more powerful neighbors, the Mongols, Tatars, and Russians. But the Udmurts were perhaps finally subdued by the USSR, which purged most of the Udmurt nationalist intelligentsia and relocated large industries from Central Russia and with them large numbers of ethnic Russians, who now comprise the majority of the region's population while Udmurts now are represent only about a third.
The Udmurts are of special interest to anyone interested in paganism: Udmurtia is one of Europe's last remaining strongholds of organized shamanism, despite its active repression under the Tsarist and Soviet governments. Travelers interested in Udmurtia's native religion should try to seek out the 1994 Udmurt film, "Shadow of Alangasar." Shamanist structures and sites persist to this day in isolated villages throughout the region.
Perhaps top on anyone's list of things to do in Udmurtia is to see the Udmurt national folk theater and dance company, Italmas.
Glazov is a stop on the Trans-Siberian Railway.
Udmurtia would make an interesting destination (to say the least) for hunting, fishing, horseback riding, and hiking.
There are a few restaurants in Izhevsk where you can sample Udmurt cuisine, but outside of those, it should not be too hard to find some Udmurt pies (perepechi).
Try the Udmurt national drink, Kumiska.
Despite the presence of many huge weapons factories, Udmurtia is one of the quietest and most peaceful regions of Russia in terms of crime.
Since there are many weapons and military factories of strategic importance in Udmurtia, you as a foreigner (especially if you are from a Western country) should be careful and it is advisable not to approach or try to take photos or videos of these objects, since many agents and informants of the Federal Security Service and police patrol there, and you may be accused of espionage, since few foreigners visit Udmurtia. In Soviet times, this region was completely closed to all foreigners.