Yesterday I took a train to Krasnoyarsk, the administrative center of Krasnoyrsk Region which is the second biggest region in Russia.
The night train slowly dragged itself into the city around 6 am and spitted 4 of us, 3 other passengers and myself out of the 3rd class train carriage.
Never in my life have I travelled in such an empty train, but it was a good time to think about Krasnoyarsk.
Anton Checkhov told me that Krasnoyarsk is the most beautiful city in Siberia. The name of the city comes from the name of the fort Krasny Yar that was erected here by cossacks in 1628. Krasny in russian translates as red and used to mean beautiful so I’ll trust Checkhov.
More over, less famous friends of mine also spoke highly about Krasnoyrsk and sitting at night by the window and staring in the darkness I was imagining this city and how would I feel about it.
Train is the best way to come to a new city. It’s not like a plain which drops you down from the sky already showing you the most interesting sights and you get the false feeling that youve seen it all.
The train ride is like a teaser, giving you only the glimpse of some bits of the city and I literally wanted to run into the city once I got off the train.
But I didn’t. I had a heavy backpack and it was 6 in the morning and the hostel was not picking up so I just had to sit at the train station and wait till the manager picks up my call. Seems like Krasnoyarsk was leading me through a slow introduction. Wait, do not rush, sit at the train station for a couple of hours and get to feel it.
Train station is actually the best place to start the discovery of Krasnoyarsk as it’s the heart of the city. I was sitting on the floor by the closed kiosk in the sleepy building of the station and thinking that that’s the place where the fate of the city was decided. If not for the railway station it could have stayed a small town for ever if not for the hope and sense presented by the TransSiberian railroad.
When the first train arrived in Krasnoyrsk on the 6th of December 1895, more then half of the city came to the train station to greet it, they were clapping and cheering and decorating the building of the station with flowers and flags. The orchestra was playing.
I stepped into the early dawn and the snowflakes kissed my face, melting on the cheeks. The Krasnoyarsk lion looked at me for a second and stared back into the horizon. Somewhere there Yenisey was sleeping under the ice blanket but the city was waking up and I swear to you that I could actually hear the orchestra playing.