Kaspiysk’s Tourism Forum - the Latest Move in Dagestan’s Centenary Year Burst of Self-publicity
KASPIYSK, DAGESTAN REPUBLIC, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 13, 2021: Dancers perform during a fair of handicrafts products as part of the Open Dagestan tourism and business forum by Anzhi Arena in the city of Kaspiysk, Russia's Republic of Dagestan. Yelena Afonina/TASS
Dagestan means Land of Mountains, though, for a millennium, it’s also been nicknamed the “Mountain of Languages” due to the remarkable diversity of ethnolinguistic groups, each with its own customs and traditions. Unfortunately, the region’s image suffered from a long period of insecurity during the 1990s and 2000s when the conflict in nearby Chechnya spilled across the regional borders into the republic. Of late, however, Dagestan has been on a mission to spruce up its image across the Russian Federation as one of the country’s underappreciated tourism gems.
KASPIYSK, DAGESTAN REPUBLIC, RUSSIA - NOVEMBER 13, 2021: Participants in a fair of handicrafts products as part of the Open Dagestan tourism and business forum by Anzhi Arena in the city of Kaspiysk, Russia's Republic of Dagestan. Yelena Afonina/TASS
A big part of this promotional effort is the annual Open Dagestan tourism forum, organized by Russia’s Ministry of Tourism and Folk Arts. The 2021 edition was held last week (November 13) in the port city of Kaspiysk, 10km south of the republic’s biggest city, Makhachkala. The venue was the Anzhi Arena, better known as the home stadium of trouble-plagued Anzhi Makhachkala football club. A series of performances accompanied stalls showing off regional specialties, products and business ideas along with a range of local tourism offerings. Around 1000 participants were reported to have attended from all over Russia.
Dagestan was also honoured in Novgorod with a “festival of Dagestani cultures” at the regional philharmonic theatre. This was just one of many events that have been held throughout the year to celebrate the centenary of the founding of Dagestan as an ASSR (Autonomous Soviet Socialist Republic) in 1921.