ENGLISH VERSION: A network of pilgrim hostels, Moscow aims to become the capital of religious tourism
According to the newspaper Izvestia city officials will help the Orthodox Church to develop facilities for the faithful. At the moment there is only one in the city.
Moscow (AsiaNews) - Moscow wants to become the capital of religious tourism in Russia. Local authorities are studying a plan to develop a network of facilities for the reception of Orthodox pilgrims who come to visit the many convents and monasteries in the area.
Currently, the Russian capital has only one hotel that caters for pilgrims, the University hotel. But the situation could change soon. The Izvestia newspaper reports that the Committee for tourism and the hotel facilities is going to help the Russian Orthodox Patriarchate to develop this type of service.
Those which have already been defined "orthodox hotels " - says Izvestia - can distinguished themselves from others by the presence of a chapel, prayer rooms, icons on the walls, the opportunity to purchase religious publications and articles and restaurants that offer different menus for those who follow the Lenten fast.
The committee chairman, Sergei Shpilko, said that the construction of pilgrim hostels is going to start and they have already identified two areas for the first few projects, such as a space near the Novospassky monastery near Taganka. For Shpilko, since most of the pilgrims are poor people, these structures should be supported with public funds.
Denis Vizgalov, an expert from the 'Institute for Urban Economics', points out that the construction of a network of 'pilgrim hostels', will help Moscow to penetrate the market of international tourism as the spiritual capital of the Russian world. (N.A.)