In the article “History of tourism” we will tell how hiking has changed throughout history, as well as learn how autotourism developed in the USSR.
Hiking has always been closely connected with the history of mankind and there are several reasons for the popularity of the origin of hiking culture. First of all, it is a necessity. People began to get used to hiking in need. That is, it was necessary to get from point A to point B on foot in search of new resources and new places to live.
Virtually all religions contain hiking elements in one way or another. Whether it is the Pilgrims going to the Meeks or the pilgrimage to holy relics, or walking as meditation in Buddhism. Moreover, many trails have emerged from this, such as the St. James Way or the Olaf Way.
Exploration and adventure. Starting from the Vikings, Columbus, Marco Polo and ending with National Geographic, people have always been curious, looking for new ways of exploration, new cultures and new places.
And finally, this reconnection with nature. We have not long been civilized, and our “inner beast” still pulls us to hunt. The wilderness remains our natural habitat, which is why the scenery and being in nature are so soothing to us.
In order for you to have a coherent picture of how hiking has changed throughout human history, consider the history of tourism through a brief chronology.
History of tourism: Chronology
10,000 years ago BC. Around this time, people finish migrating from Africa to other parts of the world, having traveled great distances on foot in search of food and resources.
2,000 B.C. Ancient Greeks hike long distances as physical exercise and to visit religious sites.
The first recorded ascent was in the 6th century B.C. by the poet Arpheus to Mount Olympus in Greece, and he did so in search of inspiration. The height of this mountain is 2,918 meters above sea level.
In history there is also mention of the ascent of Mount Taishan in China, one of the five sacred mountains. The event took place in 219 B.C., and the Qin dynasty emperor and his assistants personally made the ascent.
1400-1000 B.C. Pilgrimage to sacred sites becomes popular in Europe, leading to the creation of many hiking trails, such as the Camino de Santiago in Spain.
One of the earliest instances of climbing a mountain for his own pleasure was documented by the poet Francesco Petrarch. Well, that’s how poets are drawn to climbing higher Petrarch wrote his friend that he made the ascent of Mount Mont Ventoux in southern France with his brother and two servants on April 26, 1336 (the mountain’s maximum height is 1,912 meters).
1800s. Hiking and mountain climbing are becoming popular recreation activities. Many people explore nature and conquer the peaks of the mountains for sport and recreation.
In the 19th century in the Russian Empire, hiking and mountain climbing become popular among Russia’s intellectual elite. Many explored the Caucasus Mountains and other natural beauties.
1819. The first cleared walking trail by Ethan and Abel Crawford was created. It covers 14 kilometers of mountainous terrain and intersects with the famous Appalachian Trail.
Most writers of history consider the Alpine Club of London the very first mountaineering and hiking club in the world. It opened in 1857 during the Golden Age of mountaineering.
In 1869 German and Austrian climbers founded the German Alpine Association “DAV” in Munich. They supervised the working areas where they built huts and trails, trained mountain guides, and took care of the population.
The very first such club in Russia was organized at the Caucasian branch of the Russian Geographical Society in 1872 in Tiflis (now Tbilisi).
1874. The Appalachian Mountain Club was founded in the United States, becoming the first outdoor recreation organization in the country.
The first person to go around the world was George Matthew Schilling (USA). He did this from 1897 to 1904. The first person, but with a confirmed achievement, was David Kunst (USA). In the period from 1970 to 1974, he traveled around the world through four continents, which is 23,250 km!
1907. The Boy Scouts of America is founded, which promotes outdoor activities such as hiking and camping as part of its program.
1917. The Russian Revolution leads to the creation of the Soviet Union, which encourages outdoor recreation and sports as a way to promote physical fitness and socialist values.
1930. Vermont completes the first long-distance hiking trail in the United States, the Long Trail. The Soviet government launches a program to map and study the nation’s natural resources, leading to the creation of detailed maps of hiking trails and other outdoor recreation sites.
1941-1945. World War II interrupts outdoor recreation in the Soviet Union. Many trails and hiking centers are damaged or destroyed during the conflict.
1950s-1960s. In the period after World War II there is a surge of interest in outdoor recreation. More and more people began to hike and travel with backpacks. For travelers, it becomes a way of communicating with nature and escaping city life.
In 1955, climber Bill Moss invents a brand new tent design, the dome tent. This event has a revolutionary impact on the hiking and camping industry, making it more accessible. Moss founded Moss Tent Company, which to this day is one of the leaders in providing innovative tent solutions.
1970s-1980s. Soviet government invests in developing infrastructure for outdoor recreation, including building campsites, lodges, and other facilities in national parks and other protected areas.
1990s to present. Hiking continues to gain popularity around the world. More and more people are looking for new trails and adventures among the wilderness. Various international organizations are working to preserve and protect natural spaces.
This activity has become so popular that an entire gear industry has emerged to support it, and as early as 2020, the global market was estimated at about $13.7 billion.