There are some words in every language which cannot be translated because of their semantics and extra cultural connotations. The Russian word дача (dacha) is exactly such word. Dacha is not just a countryside or a village to spend time with your family. Dacha is a place where Russians feel very comfortable and where you can find out a lot about the culture and mentality. Today we present you some features of Russian dacha to give you an idea about it.
Beginning from imperial times rich Russians tended to rent wooden houses somewhere close to cities where they lived. That times dacha was a suitable place to relax from tempo and noise of the city, to enjoy fresh air and nature. The function of dacha was changed after the Bolsheviks began to rule the country. Beginning from 1930s dacha was a place not for everybody but for the elite society as painters, writers, musicians, scientists etc. These people got a house in a nice place near a lake or close to a pine wood and could live there till their death. After it the house could be given to another family or turned into a museum because these first dachas were not private and belonged to the state. First private dachas appeared after the Second World War was ended. The government of the USSR understood that people had to be provided with the food but according to all the damages after the war the state could not make it fast and in a big amount. It was one of the reasons why the government decided to give all the people the possibility to receive a piece of ground to build houses and to plant vegetables on it. First steps in this direction were made in the early 1950s and in 1960s dachas were common for the entire Russia.
Glitter or poverty?
However, all soviet dachas had the same size there was and there is still the difference between houses according to their locations, regions and owner. Till nowadays you can find houses which were built in 1970s and estimate the character of the people who lived and live there. E.g. you can find big wooden houses with a nice wooden lace decoration and beautiful flowerbeds in front of the windows. Near such nice houses you can also see a small modest building without any decoration and it will be also somebody`s dacha. Nowadays there is a new tendence to rebuild old houses using new materials and it does change the appearance of dacha in general.
Work, work, work
Are you tired because of your job and you dream about a long sleep on the dacha? Do you plan to grill or just to spend time near swimming pool? Unfortunately, you should forget these dreams because dacha is mostly a place to work, not to rest. Usually Russians plant potatoes, cucumbers, tomatoes, cabbage, zucchinis, apples, plums etc. while they have their dachas. It needs a lot of time, energy and work to plant the vegetables or to take care of flowerbeds. Some of Russians have also chicken or pigs on their dachas which means extra work. It can sound horrible but after your get your own yield, you can be happy because everything you have is absolutely bio.
The heart of Russian dacha
You definitely would like to take shower after a long day, would not you? So here we have one more surprise for you. Houses on the dacha are not equipped with showers as many cottages because people go to banya (Russian sauna). Banya is a good place to relax after all the work is done because it is close to SPA and is healthy. Banya could be also a social place where people can go together and chat.
Probably almost all the people who live in big cities understand shopping as supermarkets. If so, do not forget to go shopping in the city and buy everything you need till you go to dacha because there is no supermarket. Usually near the entrance of dachas you can find small shop where you can find simple and ordinary products. If suddenly you want brie cheese or a bottle of wine in the evening, you will definitely need to go to the city. So, our advice is to plan your stay on dacha thoroughly.
Hello from the USSR
As it was mentioned above, dachas have their roots in the soviet time that is why it is not surprisingly that even inside the house you can meet a decoration from the soviet time. Most likely you will see dishes which is older than you, old soviet posters or carpets. Sometimes people still use old soviet radio gadgets, curtains, vases, and furniture. If one day you experience this, you will definitely understand Russians better.
Today we tried to open you one of the most important parts of Russian life. Of course, this article presents not all aspects about Russian dacha. If you are interested in this topic, please let us know and we continue this story!