The village of Vinnitsa is a cultural center of the Oyat Veps. Every June since 1989 there has been a national holiday of Veps people "Tree of Life". Traditionally, the holiday attracts Veps, Karelians, Izhora and representatives of other nationalities. The local house of culture houses the Vepsa Folklore Centre, which is certainly worth a visit. And don't forget to stop by the grocery store to buy food with you: we'll have lunch in the countryside.
Not far from the village of Jaroslavic there is the "Holy Stone" - an ancient Vepsa sanctuary. However, finding this stone is not an easy task. In Yaroslavichi you have to cross the Oyat River by a suspension bridge, then by a trail to the village Cold Stream. There is indeed a stream in the centre of the village, and the water in it is very cold and delicious. From here we go to the village of Churruchay. Don't worry: the villages are tiny and in the neighborhood. Here you need to find a path that leads to the forest and walk a couple of kilometers along it. On the bank of a stream, after a high slope, there will be a shrine. Veps believe that stones and rocks are the abode of spirits that can both help and harm. That is why it is customary for sacred stones to leave gifts: towels, candles, icons, money.
We go on, admiring the beauty of the forest. Only hunters and fishermen who come here for prey know about these edges. The roads along the Oyati River are only dirt. But before it was not so: only forests, swamps and rough rivers. There's even an old proverb: "If you go to Oyati, you'll never see the light again". The banks of Oyati are hilly. Some places offer stunning panoramic views, for which these edges are sometimes called "Vepsa Switzerland". For example, the village of Lashkovo boasts good views. There are almost no locals in the small villages that you will meet on the way. The extinction of the villages began in the 1930s, when the first collective farms began to appear. Before that, the Veps lived in huge families, 3-4 generations each.
In the village of Tervenichi we'll stop by to visit the Cover-Tervenic Nunnery. Mention of Tervenichesky pogost can be found in Russian chronicles of the beginning of XII century. This snow-white complex literally rose from the ashes - or rather, from one half-destroyed church, which survived many years of oblivion.
We'll stop by the Verizhitsa restaurant for dinner. Here you can taste dishes of Vepsa cuisine: mushroom bread, wickets with cottage cheese or mashed potatoes, trout in puff pastry. Plus, authentic atmosphere and beautiful forest around. It's impossible to wish for more!