In Russia there is a unique phenomenon – dacha. It is a kind of country house. Unlike in other countries, Russian dacha is not a sign of luxury but a special tradition. More than half of Russian city dwellers have a dacha.
In Russia the tradition to live outside the city in the summer time appeared in the 19th century. In those days, only wealthy city dwellers could afford renting a cottage for the summer. In the 1970s the Soviet government began to encourage large scale land parceling of small lots of land for gardening and construction of small cottages by city residents.
Still today many city residents send their children to dacha with their grandparents for the whole summer.
What is Dacha
Dacha is a small lot of land, typically around 600 square meters, surrounded by similar lots. They were usually meant for small cottages. These lots were located from 30 minutes to a 2 hour drive from a city, but even that did not stop city residents that wanted to relax in the country side.
How You could Get a Dacha in the Soviet Union
Dacha, or rather a lot of land not far from the city, was only available to employees of government organizations, and for free.
Today dachas are not given away for free anymore, and they are sold as normal property. Prices of dachas not far from Moscow these days go far beyond reasonable limits.
Dacha as a Source of Produce
Russia has long reached the point when the majority of its population lives in cities. Still many people have retained their love for the earth. In the crisis years after the collapse of the Soviet Union, for many families dacha became a meaningful source of potatoes, vegetables, fruits and berries.
Today, many dacha owners continue to do gardening on their lots, because they consider it to be the only way of getting real organic fruits and vegetables.
If during warm seasons you attempt to leave the city on a Friday night, you are guaranteed to be stuck in traffic. These traffic jams are caused mostly by dacha owners rushing en masse to their country houses.
To this day dacha remains a true and informal country club for many city residents.
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