The Siberian track stretches for many thousand kilometers from west to east. The Russian people started to lay this road advancing to the Urals, Siberia and the Far East. To provide normal traffic at the “monarchic” road the so-called “yamy” (stations where the coachmen lived and the provision, food for horses were kept) were arranged.
The coachmen duties were to transport the officials and national loads.
The route had a sad reputation for the state convicts enchained in irons and tied with strings went down it to Siberia where they were to serve their sentences. The duration of the march from St. Petersburg to Irkutsk (a town in Siberia situated 5,185 km (3,222 m) away from Moscow) took two or more years, as a rule. The convicts were followed by the carts which picked up those who had died and carried the bodies to the nearest transit prisons to bury. Thus a Russian saying “to transfer someone either alive or dead” originated. Every 20-25 km there were the prisons where the convicts could stay for night.
217 km of the Siberian Route ran across Udmurtia. Some prisons and barracks of that time remain near the urban-type settlement Igra, the village Bakcheevo, and the urban-type settlement Debesy.
There were the foremost thinkers of the epoch among the convicts. In the end of 1790 the gendarmes were delivering a famous Russian writer, philosopher and thinker Alexander Nikolaevich Radischev to Siberia. At first he was sentenced to death, but then the sentence was replaced with a life banishment for his anti-serfdom book Travelling from St. Petersburg to Moscow. There were a few pages about the Udmurt people in his diary. A.N. Radischev described their mode of life, temper, customs, and daily occupations.
In summer and autumn 1826 the Decembrists were being transferd to Siberia. They were being transported in the kibitkas (the wagons) with drawn leather and canvas curtains, and convoyed by the specially appointed gendarmes. They were forbidden to make any stops for rest at the route stations. So the coachmen hurriedly changed the horses, and the wagons rushed farther down the route.
In 1835 the banished Alexander Ivanovich Gercen who had just graduated from Moscow University was going to Vyatka. He managed to do a lot during his 3-year stay in the Vyatskaya gubernia (a province). For example, he started the first local newspaper Vyatskie Gubernskie Novosti.
Now tourists can have a trip down the Siberian Route. They can see the birches which had been planted at the Empress Catherine II’s time, visit the prisons, barracks, and temples, and listen to the local legends and myths.
During of the excursion: 12 hours