The treasures on the way of Kandinsky: from the Ulyanovo monastery to Lake Kadam.


A journey to the Komi-Zyryan land

A journey to the Komi-Zyryan land

Believe it or not, Wassily Kandinsky's path to becoming one of the world’s greatest avant-garde artists began in the land of Komi. It happened to him when he studied statistics in his early 20s. His journey passed through the Vologda province which the Komi-Zyryan land was part of. Kandinsky had an order on research of the latter’s folk heritage that was in fashion at the time. Today, tourists who decide to follow the artist’s path start from the distaffs installed in the Ethnographic Department of the National Museum of the Republic of Komi. They were exactly what inspired the failed lawyer at the end of the 19th century. Along with the Rembrandt exhibition in the Hermitage, they set Kandinsky on the track of researching mythology so that afterwards he could become a great artist.

The ornaments on the distaffs made on the Upper Vychegda resemble mandalas. They directly resonate with the images that Kandinsky used in his works, such as The Blue Rider, painted in 1903. 

Following Kandinsky's path further leads to the Ust-Kulomsky district, where all the main points of the route are located. The young artist expected much from his trip to these lands. He was preparing to go through the Gate of Death, which the village of Ust-Kulom was associated with in the 19th century, to find the Zyryan god, to get acquainted with unknown culture. But what Kandinsky had experienced surpassed his expectations. Along the way, he met people of different occupations who infected him with their love for the Komi land.

One of the places that impressed Kandinsky the most was the Stephen of Perm and Trinity Monastery in the village of Ulyanovo. Founded in the 14th century, by the 1880s it became one of Russia's major Orthodox centers. After the October revolution it was closed, but in the 1990s its work resumed.

In the monastery, tourists can not only attend a church service, but also climb the 60-meter bell tower to enjoy a fabulous view that opens from the top.

The furthermost point of the route is the village of Kerchomya. It stretches for many kilometers along the Vychegda, and reaching it involves a boat trip. In Kerchomya, tourists get acquainted with the traditions of the locals and try the dishes of the Komi cuisine.


In 2018, businessman Vasily Napalkov opened the guest house named Zastava Komi. Located in the forest near Ust-Kulom, it is built in the old Upper Vychegda style. It consists of two spacious halves, each of which can simultaneously accommodate four to six guests. Both rooms feature Russian stoves with shelves and all the necessary amenities, including bathrooms. In the courtyard, there is a banya.

Zastava Komi organizes boat trips along the rivers Cher Vychegodskaya, Nem, Severnaya Keltma, Voch, and Vol, hiking with an overnight stay in a forest hut, where one can see the traditional gear of Komi hunters. The owners of the guest house help tourists to get to the most legendary Ust-Kulom lakes, such as Kadam and Ekyshvad, and tell stories about them.