Adventures in Chechnya
Did you know it is possible now to visit Chechnya without a special visa? No, I didn't either until I read a blog called http://www.casualadventuresofkate.com. Kate is a young American woman who has been travelling and researching in the Caucuses region, including Chechnya.
Apparently it is as safe now as anywhere else, and there are regular flights from Moscow (you will probably need a Russian visa.) It sounds very exotic, more Islamic than I realised. Kate is especially interested in the position of women in the country, and by Western standards it isn't very good. Women are valued mainly as wives and mothers, and cleaning skills are especially prized. Women do not stroll the towns casually, they always have a destination and usually wear long skirts. Headscarves are optional.
It is good to know that the region has made a recovery from two devastating wars. It certainly sounds as if it is not a destination that attracts many tourists yet. Kate even has a section of her site for those who want to learn the Chechen language, or discover Chechen food, and a blog post on the advantages of long skirts over jeans.