"This is not just a river, this is our soul flowing!".
The Ulan River (in Moskovar, река улан "Red River") is a water body which flows across the city of Ulán Shang Kov, the Capital of Moskova. It is one of the main rivers of the West region of the country, and it drains its waters in the Southern Sea. It is part of the Vologda basin.
The Ulan River borns in the Bombaiog Oblast and runs through it and the Tula Oblast. The region of these provinces is a plain where the average height is 120 meters above sea level. The draining area of the river's basin is around 17.000km2. The river is also the left-side affluent of the Okhui River and the right-side one of the Ravshok one. The Ulan River has several affluents itself, for example, the Op River which is located near Barkistán. The river flows creating meanders and several islands through the plain, but in its course through the city, the number of islands has increased due to the creation of several channels. The main manmade islands are listed below:
- Boghul Island
- Kharkovna Island
- Unnamed Island I, II, III & IV
- Markeeva Island
The river is located mostly in the steppe region of the country, so the surrounding vegetation tends to be grass and related plants. However, by the sides of the river in the Capital City, finding trees is not rare since the weather in it is more humid. Some time ago, trees from the river's shores used to be cut down massively for obtaining wood and other resources, however, the city's population noticed this behavior increased the floods so a protection status was stated over these trees for preventing the water from rising that would destroy near buildings. The river can freeze during winter since the temperature can go low as -30⁰C during that time of the year. When waters freeze, the river can be used as a bridge, and the ice tends to be thick enough for walking over it, sliding ice skating, or even horseriding.
Fauna & Flora
The Ulan River's biosphere is an evident example of the one from the regions where it flows, and despite looking a bit static from outside, its blueish brown waters are home of several prolific and diverse animal commmunities. In the steppe, the main plants that can be found around the river are bushes and different kinds of weeds and grass, as some animals that can be found around are saiga antelopes and birds, even flamingos during summer. In the most humid parts of the grassland close to Ulán Shang Kov, plants become more varied as it is also possible to find aquatic plants such as duckweed, while some common semi-aqcuatic animals include otters, coypus, freshwater snakes; ducks, swans and beavers among others. Regarding subaquatic animals, fishes as sturgeon, perch, carps and daces can be found sharing their habitat with freshwater turtles, crabs, snails, clam, slugs and many others.
The river Is a very important source of natural resources for the city and even for others. It is the main source of water, used for drinking, agriculture, construction, rituals, and recreation. Other remarkable resources taken from the Ulan River are fishes, shells, snails, algae, birds, and otters. Those animals are used for cooking and manufacturing clothes, as well as other items such as shoes and furniture. Additionally, in the past, the trees from the river banks used to be the main resource of wood in the city, but now mostly replaced by the trees from the nearest forests.
The Ulan River is a must-do for every tourist who visits Ulán Shang Kov and the surrounding region since it is used not just for transportation but also for leisure. Near the smallest cities and towns by the river, it is possible to swim and bathe. Closer to the Capital these activities become harder to do due to higher boat traffic, but it is still possible to have a fun day on the river. A very common activity done by tourists is cruiser tours, usually done by riding large boats. These tours offer beautiful views of the city from the river, but also a meal and cultural activities like dancing and historical guidance. Besides cruisers and ship strolls, fishing is another reason why tourists visit the river. Every spring, fishing festivals, and competitions are held on the river. There are several inns and touristic houses close to the river, especially around the neighborhood where Ulan Shang Kov's Kremlin is located since it is a centrical area, for example, the Red Lion Inn.
Main article: Tsar of Moskova
The river holds an important meaning for the city and is an elemental part of several processes related to the monarchy, especially to the rituals and traditions featured in the coronation ceremony. The ritual which takes place in the river is the Baptism Bath which is the second part of the Coronation Ceremony taken by all Princes or Tsars when they appoint. The celebration tends to take place at midday after the Blessing of the Sun and consists of the recently crowned prince having a symbolic bath in the river. The ceremony takes place no matter the weather or the temperature around. During winter, a hole is cut in the ice and the baptism is done.
The River and Gastronomy
Related to the animal resources obtained from the river, there are several dishes from the local gastronomy that use them. Some must-eat dishes for tourists include cod barbeque, pelmini filled of perch meat, salmon piroshki and the bravest ones dare to try coypu burgers or pelmini. Clams and algae are used for food as well, asides caviar. One of the hotspots for eating river food and fish is the Red Lion Inn as the raw materials are obtained by local fishers.
"I've never thought the Sun rised at 3:30 A.M. but if something surprised me even more is that people in Ulán Shang Kov has caviar as breakfast ."
Pelmini by Kate Buffton
Red River, Ulan Reka
The actual toponymy of the river is still being a mystery, and just speculations and theories can explain it. There are several theories about the origin of this river's name, which is undoubtly related to the city's name. The word Ulan means red, and the color red always held a very special meaning for the culture of Moskova since it symbolizes prosperity, beauty, fire, passion and blood. The color red is a very noticeable element of Ulán Shang Kov's architecture, as it is one of the most common colors used in buildings, including the Kremlin since terracotta is a very common building material, so the river's name could be related to the surrounding buildings.
The Dark Army's chests
Alongside wildlife and rocks, the river is home to several manmade items, from shipwrecks to bottled messages and more. Some very looked up items that are featured in urban legends are chests. It is said that it is possible to find chests containing amazing treasures inside. Some of the most famous chests are those that have been left by the Dark Army in the river. It is unknown why the soldiers from that militia threw those chests to the waters, but some people think they've done it for hidding undeclared or illegally obtained money and treasures, although that idea is still not confirmed and considered a hypothesis. Some of those chests were found by common fishers who just wanted to catch their food or have some fun at the Ulán River, but ended finding lots of money, jewels and even magical artifacts like potions, magical books, Flying Carpets, crystal balls and more.
"You know, something I have wanted to do, but haven't made the time, is to go fishing in the Ulan River." Yerik put fruit from the market in three bowls on a table in the tavern. "There is an amazing variety of fish to catch. It would be fun to do while you wait for your delivery. Would you care to join me?" Dylara looked at Yerik after unloading some bags. "Fishing in the river?" she thought. It was an exciting idea. It would be an excellent way to explore the city. The river winds by many sites like the market square and the Kremlin. "Yes, for sure!" She exclaimed, "It would be fun!" They both left their stuff in the Inn and headed to the Ulan River. The river had brownish blue waters with trees spaced along its banks. A stone walk followed part of the bank. When they arrived, Yerik tried a quick cast, but the fish weren't biting yet. "Eh, sometimes you get lucky. Let's get set up first. It is a nice day out for fishing." "It can happen..." Dylara chuckled at her friend.Then on Dylara's first cast, she caught something big. A heavy chest dislodged from the bottom of the river and popped to the surface. It took both of them to reel it in. Yerik reached down to pull the chest onto the bank. "Whoa! That is a dark army chest. I bet they stashed it for an emergency." He looked at Dylara, "I doubt they keep track of all of them. Let's see what is in it." Dylara's eyes got big as Yerik pulled back the lid, "That's a lot of money!"