Ancient Civilizations, Indigenous Peoples, and the Imagination of Spiritual Seekers: Pilgrimage Tourism to the Power Places in the Kola Peninsula

Speaker:

Sergei Shtyrkov

Language:

Russian

Date/Time:

February 6, 7 pm

Location:

Yerevan, 31/4 Charents str.

Ancient Civilizations, Indigenous Peoples, and the Imagination of Spiritual Seekers: Pilgrimage Tourism to the Power Places in the Kola Peninsula

Speaker:

Sergei Shtyrkov

Language:

Russian

Date/Time:

February 6, 7 pm

Location:

Yerevan, 31/4 Charents str.

Seydozero, located in the Murmansk region (Russia), has been gaining popularity over the past two decades as a destination for spiritual (new age) tourism. Small travel agencies and solo guides invite their potential clients there, using the image of this place as a locus full of secrets and mysteries. This means it promises the visitors a special experience. Such a reputation of Seydozero is based on two – partially competing, partially interacting – narratives, each designed to fill the imagination of travelers to power places with vivid images.

The first describes Seydozero as the center of the ancient Slavic civilization of Hyperborea, which disappeared as a result of a global catastrophe, but managed to pass on advanced cultural achievements to all mankind. Another narrative connects this place to the past and the religion of the Saami, the indigenous inhabitants of the Kola Peninsula, who don’t live in this place now and are generally indifferent to its destiny. Those travel brokers who consistently adhere to the second, Saami version of the etiological narrative, understand that the traditional scenario of traveling to power places assigns them the role of intermediaries. They mediate between the “hosts” who own the resources of this place by right of the origin and provide access to them, and “guests” dreaming of getting special sensations. But since there are no hosts in the place, the guides have to take on the role of bearers of the local religious tradition to allow their clients to join the “spiritual heritage of the indigenous peoples.”