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Ignatyevskaya cave: Paleolithic art gallery with tens of names
January 11, 2010 23:57

Picture of a woman

There are some caves is Chelyabinsk Region, but the most interesting, tourists friendly and storied in Ignatyevskaya limestone cave. It is situated on the bank of the Sim River (feeder of the Belaya River, or Agidel) in the Southern Urals (Chelyabinsk Region) in 7 kilometers from the settlement of Serpievka, Katav-Ivanovskiy District. The cave is a significant site of federal significance, because of its Paleolithic paintings.

According to the data from radiocarbon analysis of pigments, some the paintings detected in the cave are 6 – 8 thousands years old, others are supposed to be made 14 thousands years ago (Upper Paleolithic). What about the subjects of the paintings, they represent bulls, mammoths, horses, rhinoceros, hunting scenes and geometric figures, the symbolism of which is not deciphered. Moreover, there is a picture of a human detected in 1980. It represents a human figure with twenty-eight red dots between the legs. Perhaps it depicts female menstrual cycle. Some mycrolites, bones of animals and some artifacts of the Iron Age were found in the cave as well. The cave is supposed to be a place for worship.


There are many traditions associated with this cave. Although the paintings became famous in the 20th century, the cave was well-known long before it. First of all, the cave has many names. Its first name, Ignatievskaya is tied with a figure of Ignatiy, the monk-anchorete, who lived there in the 19th century. His cell is survived. The mysterious figure of this monk has generated some legends, for example that he was an Emperor Alexander I, who died in Taganrog in 1825 but the people were inclined to believe that in effect he has left the throne and became an incognito wanderer. According to another legend, he was the Emperor’s brother, the Grand Duke Konstantin Pavlovich.

Other names of the cave are Ignata, Ignatova, Dalnyaya, Serpievskaya, Simskaya and Yamazy-Tash. In the whole, it has 14 names.


The cave attracted the scientists’ attention already in the 18th century. The first book about it appeared in 1762. Scores of scientists of different level and specialization from different countries are visiting it for the research purposes since it was detected.

As it was mentioned, the cave is rather easy to reach and comfortable to visit. The cave is dry; the entrance is arch-looking rock shelter. From this grotto you can enter the gallery of Pylon. This 130-meters gallery leads to the grotto of Pylon and so-called monk Ignatiy cell.

Many tour operators provide guided excursions to this cave but it is also possible to reach it singly. You should take a train from Chelyabinsk to Simskaya Station. The bus will transport you from the station to the terminal stop. Then follow the map, which is provided on some of the tourists sites. For example, this one. We can recommend the single traveller such our services like Russian Visa support and train tickets.

Yulia Byzykina


Tags: Chelyabinsk Region     

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