The capital Ufa, region of the Volga River of the Russian region of Bashkorton, is on the verge of exploding with activity. “New Colours of an Ancient Beirut” captures this lively atmosphere of the old Souks, rebuilt in a modern style, and mixed with elements of the Middle Eastern culture blended with Russian architecture. At one time during its history, the city of Ufa was the crossroads between Asia, Europe, and Asia-Pacific countries. Among the many fascinating sites in Ufa you can find the only seven wonders of the world: the Great Wall of China, a manmade lake covering a circumference of more than ten thousand kilometers; the Eternity Wall, a structure that has stood guard for centuries against attack from all directions; the Haighaonite rock formations; and Mount Achinon (also known as Aulosha), the highest mountain peak in Asia by height. “New Colours of an Ancient Beirut” charts the cultural evolution of this beautiful city over the ages, with the gradual accretion of its distinctive features reflecting the diverse traditions of its people.
“New Colours of an Ancient Beirut,” written by Lev Shimarov, is a charming short story about a young girl who moves to a remote village in Ufa province in central Russia after school and falls in love with an American boy from a different part of town. Although the girl is too young to marry, her family sends her away to study in a boarding school, where she meets a handsome American boy named Alexander who is the son of a Uralian general. As the romance progresses, the girl realizes that she shares more than her blood with this boy who is her soul mate. Both are drawn into a struggle for the nation’s political future, pitting their cultures against each other and causing the budding relationship between the two to go sour. A sensational tale of romance and hardship, “New Colours of an Ancient Beirut” is a unique and entertaining book.
“Old Colors,” a short story collection by Lev Shimarov, is a richly illustrated account of life in a remote village in Ufa republic during World War II. Set during the period when the Soviet Union, the USA and Britain were all at war, this vividly illustrated work depicts everyday life in a small rural community during that time. While most stories are set in the quiet of a secluded home, “Old Colors” ventures out into the bustling streets of a large metropolitan area. This vivid portrayal of modern day Russian-American relations offers an intriguing glimpse into the colorful side of that long-gone past.
In “The Last Paradise,” author Lev Shimarov draws upon ancient Persian and Arabic traditions to create a picture of pre-modern Ufa; a place fraught with conflict and full of promise. Kashir bin Muhammad, also known as Abu Tabil, is a carpet dealer in Ufa who rises to become a powerful local figure. As the story unfolds, he finds himself caught between the opposing forces of western and eastern technology as the war rages on. This colorful portrayal is a joy to read, especially when contrasted with the stark images of destruction that are seen throughout the world war.
“Old Colors,” is not just a travel guide to Ufa but a beautiful representation of a culture so short lived that few remember its long history or its political complexities. It is an interesting look at how life was during those times, and while the author does not offer much historical detail, he does offer enough to make the reader feel drawn into this unique fictional universe. Even if you do not consider yourself a history buff, the intricate details of Kashir’s world should enthrall you enough to learn more about this interesting city, which would make an excellent backdrop for a future visit to the Russian Museum in Moscow or the Taj Mahal in India.
Overall, “Old Colors” is a remarkable little book that delves deeply into a colorful corner of the 1917 Mongolia, home to many of today’s most fascinating autocrats. It is a short book that make you laugh, think, and feel sad while being a worthwhile read. The author has obviously done his homework on UFA and has created a realistic, if whimsical, depiction of one of the last great Turkic empires. It is a book that are worth picking up and reading and recommends highly to anyone looking for an entertaining overview of one of the last true empires of the World.