Tourist industry and the Old Believe

Pavel Varunin, president of the Old Beliver Communities Union of Estonia
Tartu, Estonia

Cultural tourist industry development gives Old Believers communities an opportunity to have new experience, that makes it possible eighter to present their cultural heritage to a large-scale society or to get some financial aid for maintaining architectural monuments and cultural value preservation. This is more or less new to Old Believers, so it is necessary to analyse the already implemented tourist projects. The Estonian experience is useful to the rest of the Baltic Old Believer communities for avoiding mistakes that influenced profoundly the inner processes in the Old Believe.

The author of the writing takes with a grain of salt several Old Believer communities interest in the commercial projects orientated for tourists. Indulgence to tourist interests has a negative influence on the Old Believers attitude towards their own religious traditions and the status of the worship house in the Old Believe religious practice. In order to weaken the harmful influence on the Old Believers traditional way of life it is preferable to make a special tourist infrastructure – to establish museums with necessary, to open restaurants where tourists could taste the peculiar Old Believers food. This way it is possible to avoid profanity of the Old Believe and to attract interest to the Old Believer culture and history, but it is costly to maintain such infrastructure and usually it is very hard to get any support from local authorities.