Kitezh Museum of History and Arts

Egor Aleev/ TASS
Fifty kilometres (31 miles) from Semenov you will find Svetloyar – a mysterious lake of unknown origin. Its basin is almost perfectly oval-shaped, while its clear water never becomes mouldy or overgrown with algae. Legend has it that at the bottom of the lake is the ancient town of Kitezh, which was submerged before the eyes of the Tatar conquerors who, upon seeing the miracle, retreated. They say that only the righteous can see the outline of the submerged town. A good time to test this is on July 6-7 when the local residents organise a nighttime celebration of Ivan Kupala, blending the ancient summer festivities of Eastern Slavs with Christianity through Saint John the Baptist. During the celebration, people walk around the lake with candles and jump over fires. Even if you are unable to catch sight of Kitezh, you can still make a wish: according to legend, if you walk three times around the lake on Ivan Kupala night, your dream will come true. Tours around the lake are organised by the Kitezh Museum of History and Arts. If you visit the museum itself, check out its vast collection of ceramics.