Is it really millennium old? Actually, nobody really knows. There are written documents covering about a thousand years of Russian history. Before that Western historical science has a sort of vacuum of facts describing what was going on there. For most Western historians it was a place populated by barbarians who were not worth any attention. Something like a big white spot on a map with an inscription, "Here the dragons live." The facts about the territory of Russia before the X century are vague and sometimes even more mysterious than a complete the absence of the facts would be. Here are some of the most amusing ones:
- Vikings knew the places around. They had seen Britain, France, Italy. They practiced military tourism all across the Europe and beyond it. One country they knew especially well, mostly as a poor choice of place for military tourism. They called it "Gardarika" - "The land of large cities". Not Britain. Not France. Not Italy. That was one of the first historical records of Russia as a country. Definitely barbarians... Really, who else would want to live in large cities?
Thus starts the recorded history of Russia. Barbarians, dragons, large cities.
- Have you ever heard of Amazon women? A Greek historian and geographer Herodotus visited Scythian lands north of the Black sea around 450 BC. Greeks knew Scythians well as fierce nomad warriors who were real trouble for Greek colonies. It was Scythians who told Herodotus about fierce woman warriors living nearby from them.
- Vedic sources speak about the great Sarawati river from where Aryans came to India in about mid 2nd millennium BC. They came from northwest. Look at the Google map, find the northwestern edge of India, go northwest. Find the great river.
- Ancient Egyptians were not ingenious people of the Nile river valley. They claimed to come from the North. Modern history believes that they came from another ancient civilization of Sumer located in the southeastern Iraq near Persian gulf. Only Sumer is not on the North from the Egypt, it's on the East. Coincidentally, the people of Sumer claimed to come there also from North. Look at the Google map, find Sumer (southeastern Iraq), go north, see where it crosses with the northwestern line from India. The great river. By the way, both Egyptians and Sumerians were river people.
You see? It's really better to stick to the last millennium when it comes to Russia and Russian history. And so I am going to do when it comes to the Russian cuisine. Most of my recipes come from the last few centuries.
So, here we are. Enjoy and Bon Appetite!