Russian Bath with an Ice Hole – the zest of a winter tour to Altai
Russian banya (bath) is well-known worldwide. Banyas have always been extremely popular in Russia. All the most important events in people’s lives were connected with the banya in ancient Russia: births, weddings, recuperation from serious illnesses. Everybody used banyas in Russia: princes, noble people and commoners. Many foreign travelers described the Russian Banya.
Do you know when was the first Banya built in the Russian land? Nobody does. But it is clear: a Russian village can not be imagined without Banyas locating next to every house.
Slavic pagans held the banya that important as they tried to win the favour of such powerful elements as water and fire. Since ancient times Russian people have believed in the banya’s healing and purifying power. Today, the Russian banya is still considered the best method of getting rid of most illnesses, protecting against the evil eye and driving away melancholy and despondency. In ancient times an offer to take a steam bath was considered a sign of hospitality. So, first of all the host of a house invited the guest to have a bath, and only after that the guest was treated with dinner and invited to stay for the night.
Apart from the washing, the banya played a huge role in various rituals. For example, the banya was the necessary procedure on the eve of a wedding and on the second wedding day, and a special ceremony was held for that.
There was not a single foreigner who was left indifferent after visiting a Russian Bath. Rather more, a lot of traditions of the Russian Bathes were took to foreign countries by unsuccessful conquerors.
None changing of ideology and government, sharp historical turns and technical innovations did not break the national tradition of Banyas. Both nowadays and thousands years before Russian people have been building Banyas next to their houses and on banks of rivers.
Russia has been always occupying spacious territories and the majority of it’s population has been living in villages. Building the own house (with banya, of course) is one of the life-time aims of every real Russian man.
There are several bathhouses on the premises of the “Russian House”. All our bathhouses are traditional rural ones, with wood-burning stoves, birch twigs and wet steam.
Two Russian bathhouses are situated near the accommodation, and the third one is located on the river Chumysh. It is the most popular bathhouse with an ice-hole. Our guests like to dive into the icy water after the steam room in winter, having received a supply of energy, renewed strength and fine mood.
The fourth Russian bathhouse is situated on an island on the river Ob. There you can have a black banya, which is considered more rudimentary.
We have prepared lots of aromatic birch twigs for our guests. You can take a thermos with hot tea brewed from taiga herbs and sweet-scented honey, or cold beer with you to the bath.
We hope you have enjoyed your bath!